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Psychological factors in sport

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Daniel Haigh

on 18 November 2013

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Transcript of Psychological factors in sport

Psychological factors in sports
Ringelmann Effect
The Ringelmann effect is the tendency for individual members of a group to become increasingly less productive as the size of their group increases.This effect, discovered by French agricultural engineer, Maximilien Ringelmann, illustrates the inverse relationship that exists between the size of a group and the magnitude of group members’ individual contribution to the completion of a task. While studying the relationship between process loss (i.e., reductions in performance effectiveness or efficiency) and group productivity, Ringelmann found that having group members work together on a task (e.g., pulling a rope) actually results in significantly less effort than when individual members are acting alone. Furthermore, Ringelmann discovered that as more and more people are added to a group, the group often becomes increasingly inefficient, ultimately violating the notion that group effort and team participation reliably leads to increased effort on behalf of the members

According to Ringelmann (1913), groups fail to reach their full potential because various interpersonal processes detracts from the group’s overall proficiency.[2] Namely, two distinct processes have been identified as potential sources for the reduced productivity of groups: loss of motivation, and coordination problems

If there's a lack of motivation and co-ordination this can effect the team and stop them playing well, one of the jobs of the captain is to motivate their side so they can play to the best of their ability. Co-ordination is key in some sports and this can cost the whole team sometimes, this is why everyone have to be fully focused and motivated.
Social Loafing
Social loafing in sport refers the behaviour of team members in a certain sporting activity to reduce the efforts of their contribution to the team. It's thought to be caused by motivation loss and is common when several members of a team are trying to achieve the same goal through performing the same tasks. Social loafing can have disastrous consequences to sporting outcomes.

A reduction in motivation and effort when individuals work collectively, compared to when they work individually, is described as social loafing. It is also relatively clear that social loafing has the potential to reduce the likelihood of an athletic team’s success.

In sport settings, the effect of social loafing has been demonstrated in co-active groups such as cheerleaders, swimmers, rowers, and sprint relay participants. In a study on swimming relay teams, Williams, Nida, Baca, and Latané demonstrated that individuals who did not know their lap times were slower in relay conditions than in individual conditions. Where lap times were identified, swimming times for the relays were faster than for the individual efforts. They concluded that social loafing may occur when the individual performances in a group are not identified, and that individual efforts may improve when the results are made known to other group members. Hardy and Latané found the same effect in their studies on cheerleaders.

Team Cohesion
The way the individual team members interact and influence one another has a dramatic effect on the way a team operates. Cohesion is one such team dynamic that is vital in helping teams reach peak performance. Cohesion refers to the forces within a team that act on its individual members, helping them feel part of the team and remain loyal to it. If a team is cohesive, its members get along well, support one another, communicate and cooperate well, and feel responsibility not only for themselves, but for all members of the team. there are a number of key elements that promote cohesion:
1. Effective communication
- It is vital that players in a team are able to communicate with each other in a respectful, open and honest way. Communication must be direct and clear, so all players know what is happening and how the other members of their team are travelling. Effective communication helps to build trust and respect within a team. Without these components, cohesion is likely to break down
2. Responsibility and Ownership
- As a team player, you have to accept responsibility and ownership for both yourself and all your teammates. Your actions and attitude reflect what kind of player you are, but also reflect on the team as a whole. Before you say or do anything, think about how it might impact on your other teammates
3. Mutual Respect

Team members must respect themselves and their fellow team members. It is important to recognise the distinction between liking someone and respecting them. As a team player, you don’t necessarily have to like and socialise with all members of your team, but you do have to respect them. Similarly, all team members do not necessarily have to like you! But they do have to respect you as a person and as a player. It is important to maintain this respect both on and off the field. Each player should do their best to include other players and ensure that all players feel that they are an important part of the team.
4. Support and Cooperation
- Clearly mutual support and cooperation from all members of the team is very important in building team cohesion. If a player is not feeling supported, they should feel able to discuss these concerns with their captain or coach. Regular team meetings should address any concerns players have and prevent individual players from feeling isolated within their team.

5. Common Goals
- It is vital that the goals of the individual team members and the goals of the team as a whole are not in conflict. The goals of individual players should not undermine one another. All members should be aware of their teammates’ individual goals, as well as the common team goals. As a team player, you have to know what you are fighting for, and you need to know that all your teammates are working towards the same thing. Goal setting, which can be done in team meetings or training, is very important. This is something that needs to be addressed at the outset of the season where common short and long-term goals are established, and then these need to be reviewed at regular intervals during the season

The better team cohesion there is the better the team will perform, this is why managers and coaches try to get the best cohesion in their team so they can compete at the best. Like Michael Jordan once said "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships'' which sums up how importsnt team cohesion is.

Tuckmans Stages
The initial four-stage model came out of Tuckman's first job after grad school at the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda MD. He and a small group of social psychologists studied small group behaviour as applicable to U.S. Navy small-crew vessels and stations. The model didn't derive from original research, but rather from a review of 50 articles, many of them psychoanalytic studies of therapy and T-groups. While searching for a developmental sequence that would fit most groups in these studies, Tuckman initially called the four stages: 1) orientation-testing-dependence; 2) conflict; 3) group cohesion; and 4) functional role-relatedness. Since these labels didn't exactly role off the tongue, Tuckman renamed the stages forming, storming, norming, and performing. These four stages have been group development mainstays for over 50 years now, the memorable rhyme scheme no doubt helping to promote their popularity. Here's how he initially described them:
Forming — Groups initially concern themselves with orientation accomplished primarily through testing. Such testing serves to identify the boundaries of both interpersonal and task behaviours. Coincident with testing in the interpersonal realm is the establishment of dependency relationships with leaders, other group members, or pre‑existing standards.
Storming — the second point in the sequence is characterized by conflict and polarization around interpersonal issues, with concomitant emotional responding in the task sphere. These behaviours serve as resistance to group influence and task requirements.
Norming — Resistance is overcome in the third stage in which in-group feeling and cohesiveness develop, new standards evolve, and new roles are adopted. In the task realm, intimate, personal opinions are expressed.
Performing — the interpersonal structure becomes the tool of task activities. Roles become flexible and functional, and group energy is channelled into the task. Structural issues have been resolved, and structure can now become supportive of task performance.
Teams are formed because they can achieve far more than their individual members can on their own, and while being part of a high-performing team can be fun, it can take patience and professionalism to get to that stage. Effective team leaders can accelerate that process and reduce the difficulties that team members experience by understanding what they need to do as their team moves through the stages from forming to storming, norming and, finally, performing

Typically, a Type A personality is a high-stress, on-the-go individual. Stock brokers, CEO's and other aggressive personalities tend to be Type A.
Type B individuals are more laid back, easy-going and not as prone to stress.
There's also what's been called a Type T person, who seems to be addicted to thrills. Those are your daredevils and athletes.

In a team you need a mixture of type A andtype B personalities to get the right balance you need. You need players that want to highly achieve but you also want layed back players who share the same or similar goal but know how to approach it in a different manour. It is important to becomea successfull player to have the right balance between being type A and type B, or it just wouldn't work. You wuld eitheput too much stress on yourself which can cause an jury or you ca be totally layed back all the time and not train or compete as half which means you won't play as well.
If you have a high level of confidence in your abilities, you tend to not doubt yourself in a game. That can be very important if you need to think quickly or react fast to something. If you don't have high confidence, you may not be able to play up to the level you are really at. Plus it downplays your team, if one person is not confident and they show it, then the other teammates can be dragged down with that person.

Confidence results from the comparison an athlete makes between the goal and their ability. The athlete will have self-confidence if they believe they can achieve their goal.
When an athlete has self confidence they will tend to: persevere even when things are not going to plan, show enthusiasm, be positive in their approach and take their share of the responsibility in success and fail.

Confidence can affect the way someone plays, if they're high on confidence they're more likely to try more risky things which can have great outcs, butf someone's low on confidence they won't play to the best of their ability and this can rub off onto the team.

Profile of Mood States
A test designed to measure certain psychological traits. Profile Of Mood States (POMS) is a popular tool among sport psychologists who have used it to compare the prevailing moods of elite athletes and non-athletes. Elite athletes from different sports (including runners, rowers, and wrestlers) tend to score below average for negative states such as tension, depression, fatigue, and confusion; and score well above average on vigour. POMS may be used to diagnose overtraining because the shape of the profile becomes inverted when an athlete overtrains.

The following are emotional states experienced with successful performance:
•Happy - felt that this was my opportunity to demonstrate an excellent performance. Felt I could beat anybody.
•Calm and nervous - Felt nervous but really at ease with these feelings. I accepted and expected to be nervous but felt ready to start.
•Anxious but excited - Felt so ready to compete but a little nervous. Nerves and excitement come together
•Confident - I remembered all the successful training sessions and previous best performances

The mood of an ahtlete canl how well that they're going to train at and play, it's important theyve got the right mood and in the right state of mind and have the best performances and be able to encourage their team on.

Eysenck's 5 Factor Theory
Extraversion: This trait includes characteristics such as excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness and high amounts of emotional expressiveness.

Agreeableness: This personality dimension includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection, and other prosocial behaviours.

Conscientiousness: Common features of this dimension include high levels of thoughtfulness, with good impulse control and goal-directed behaviors. Those high in conscientiousness tend to be organized and mindful of details.

Neuroticism: Individuals high in this trait tend to experience emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, and sadness.

Openness: This trait features characteristics such as imagination and insight, and those high in this trait also tend to have a broad range of interests

Extrinsic motivation is ‘external’: people – in this case athletes – are driven to succeed by factors from outside i.e. money, prizes, acclaim, status, praise.

non-self-determined extrinsic motivation is concerned with coercion and obligation. Athletes undertake some training (for example, strength training), which for many athletes is not normally fun, and are coerced by their coaches to perform those aspects of training. Alternatively, athletes might feel guilty if they do not complete the planned training so do the training to please their coaches.

self-determined forms of extrinsic motivation are concerned with a conscious valuing or acceptance of the training. The athlete over time might come to the realisation that strength training will help them achieve their ultimate goal of winning a medal at the Olympics. They may even endorse the training as being consistent with their personal beliefs about health and fitness. Over time, the source of motivation to undertake less enjoyable aspects of sport may move from non-self-determined extrinsic motivation to self-determined extrinsic motivation, which is an important form of adaptive motivation.

Extrinsic motivation- it is a kind of motivation that comes from the outside the individual. The motivating factors might be a reward. That reward provides satisfaction and encourage peoples to perform better

Intrinsic motivation is engaging in an activity for itself, for pleasure and satisfaction derived from participating in it. It involves striving to be competent and rewarding yourself inwardly. High motivation is an essential condition in getting people to fulfil their potential. This is motivation from within. A desire to perform well and succeed. The following will be true:
• Desire to overcome the problem or task
• Development of skills and habits to overcome that problem
• Rehearsal of successful habits until they are perfect
• A feeling of pride and enjoyment in performing the skill
• Repeated goal setting in order to progress and maintain motivation

People who are intrinsically motivated still want to receive rewards but these rewards are not what keeps the athlete motivated to persevere through the hard times that comes with being an athlete. Intrinsic motivation is a long term reason to get involved in sports because it will take a long time for this form of motivation to die down.

Many people suffer from sports performance anxiety at some point in their sports career. It takes many different forms, but very often you can perform well during training or practice but then anxiety or fear interferes with your sports performance 'on the day'

It is usual to have pre-performance nerves, indeed, a certain level of physical arousal is helpful and prepares us for competition. But when the physical symptoms of anxiety are too great, they may seriously interfere with your ability to compete. Left untreated, it becomes a vicious cycle of negative thoughts and feelings followed by poor or inhibited performance

The coordinated movement required by athletic events becomes increasingly difficult when your body is in a tense state. Similarly, a certain amount of worry about how you perform can be helpful in competition, but severe symptoms of anxiety such as negative thought patterns and expectations of failure can bring about a self-fulfilling prophecy. If there is a substantial difference between how you perform during practice and how you do during competitions, anxiety may be affecting your performance.

The effect on sport is that your arousal levels different depending on what outcome you are willing to achieve. If your arousal level are high, then you will be more motivated to win and if you win it will increase the meaning of that win. If your arousal levels are low then it means that you are more likely to not perform as you normally can.
Arousal is mental and physical. It is psychic energy-the activation of certain parts of the central nervous system that leads to physiological and behavioral changes.

You can partially control arousal and thereby improve your functioning as an individual as well as an athlete. The more aroused a person is the better they perform as they are more exited about the sport. However a person can have an extremely high level of arousal meaning that it is hard for them to concentrate as they are to excited and so can't make sensible decisions. However a player can also have an extremely low level of arousal where they are virtually sleeping. Therefore it is important to know the correct amount of arousal you or the people around you need to ensure everyone performs to there best.
iceberg profile in sport psychology, a proposed ideal profile of mood state for elite performers, characterized by low scores on negative moods (specifically tension, depression, anger, fatigue and confusion) and high scores on positive moods (specifically vigour). Known as 'iceberg' because, according to this proposition, when elite performers' mood state scores are standardized and plotted they should show an iceberg-shaped profile with negative mood scores lying below the mean and the vigour score lying above the mean.

The expected psychological profile of an elite athlete incorporating the six factors measured by Profile of Mood States in which the elite athlete scores low on all mood states except vigour. See also gravitational hypothesis, mental health model.

Iceberg Profile
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