As it states that every person has behaviour

As
stated by Hollander, Personality is the sum of an individual’s characteristics
which make them unique (Hollander, 1971). As a sports coach one needs to understand
personality theories to ensure their athletes can perform at their best. A
knowledge of an athlete’s traits and characteristics will influence the way a
coach can intervene psychologically. For example, in the Structure of
Personality Model (Hollander, 1967), it states that every person has behaviour
that is typical of a person’s traits. This is Eysenck’s Trait approach theory.
He stated that the combination of an athlete’s traits places them in a spectrum
from Introverted to Extroverted with each determining how they may behave
(Eysenck, 1968). In conjunction to this theory, (Cattell’s inventory, 1965) of
a Questionnaire gives the coach a means of developing a personality to identify
possible psychological interventions for athletic development. This is useful
for a sports coach as it allows them to analyse their athlete’s traits. For
example, if you have a Cyclist that relates more with the Extrovert side of the
scale then they may become bored much faster than an introvert This allows the
coach to develop training sessions which are more dynamic and deferent
preventing an athlete losing focus.

Conversely
to the Trait theory the Social Learning theory is how an athlete can be
conditioned to respond to certain situations. Social learning theorists believe
that personality can be developed with the environment and influences around
them. (Bandura, 1977) studied the effects of social learning theory and
discovered that those people exposed to an aggressive role model were more
likely to behave aggressively. For a sports coach this learnt behaviour through
role models can hinder performance. For example, if a tennis player is
struggling to come to terms with being beaten in several games then a coach
could organise a more experienced tennis player to act as a role model. This
allows them to respond to failure in a more positive light to bring about a
performance development.

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However,
for a sports coach, in my opinion, it would be more beneficial for them to see
the trait and social learning theories as combined factors and therefore would
follow the Interactionist approach (Bowers, 1973). This is that both trait and
social learning approach have equal value in a personality profile and without one
another we cannot truly understand athlete’s needs. Using the two theories
together allows a coach to consider how an athlete that has a confident trait
may respond in their first big game/match rather than guess, by using social
learning and allowing the athlete to develop confidence in stressful situations. 

As
stated by Sage, motivation is the direction and intensity of one’s effort (Sage, 1977). As a sports coach a knowledge of an
athlete’s motivations will greatly influence how you can keep an athlete
focussed and motivated. Achievement motivation is what motivates people to
behave because of what they want to achieve. The Need Achievement Theory is an
interactional view considering both personality and situational factors. Atkinson
stated that there are 2 types of motivation, the need to achieve (Nach) and the
need to avoid failure (Naf) (Atkinson, 1974). For a sports coach knowing how
their athletes are motivated to train will hugely influence what coaching
strategies are most beneficial for them. For example, if you have a cyclist who
is characterised as Naf then they are pre-occupied with failure perhaps
preventing them from training. Understanding this as a coach would therefore
allow them to put in place strategies to change their motivation to bring about
positive training implications. 

Sports
coaches can also use goals to motivate their athletes to train more
effectively. The Achievement Goal Theory states that an athlete may prefer
goals related to mastery of a skill (task) or the outcome of an action (ego)
(Duda & Hall, 2001). For a coach, giving an athlete a goal in relation to
improving an aspect of their sport can bring about increased motivation to
train. For example, a cycling coach could give a cyclist the goal of increasing
their power output by 50 Watts. This may lead to the cyclist increasing effort
levels as they now have a goal to strive for.

Supporting
the Achievement Goal theory, the attribution theory can increase motivation for
an athlete. Weiner said that success and failure can be classed into categories
known as stability, locus of causality and locus of control (Weiner, 1985,86).
An understanding of these factors by an athlete can make them more motivated to
train and perform. For example, a sports coach can use Goals to develop a good
training habit in a cyclist who is training for a big race. This combined with
informing them of attributional controlling factors, (such as the race plan)
will motivate them further in future competition.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART 2

“You have been consulted by the head
coach of a professional tennis academy who is concerned about the poor
performance of a number of their junior players during competition. Having
observed the players via video analysis, questionnaires and telephone interviews
your findings indicate that low self-confidence is a key issue.”

Write a formal report via email, explaining how
improving self-confidence can impact performance, outlining possible methods
that could be employed to enhance the players’ self-confidence.

 

FAO
Head Coach,

Having
observed the junior players through video analysis, questionnaires and
telephone interviews, I have concluded that low self-confidence is a key issue
that needs addressing. Please carefully read through this email as I explain
how I would like your junior players to improve their self-confidence using the
following methods.

Firstly,
I would like to explain why self-confidence can improve performance for your
junior tennis players. Self-confidence gives your players feelings of self-worth,
increased concentration and focus which develops enhanced motivation to allow
them to persist in training at increase effort levels. These collective
benefits allow your players to improve their success rate both in competition
and in training dedication.

One
strategy I would like your players to adopt is the self-efficacy model by
Bandura. This is one’s perception to perform a task successfully which is
largely situation specific i.e. match day (Bandura, 1977). The component of
Banduras Theory I think would most benefit your players is Verbal Persuasion. I
invite you and influential people in the players lives (i.e. parents or role
models) to speak with the players to strengthen beliefs that they are improving
and performing well. Verbal ques from these important people they respect will
increase their self-confidence required to perform at a higher level.

The
next strategy I have picked out that I would advise you to put in place is
using Goal Mapping. A goal map is a personalised calendar over a season that
contain goals that in our context would include match events and athletic
performance goals. I Would like to focus on goals which contain a systematic
approach of development rather than the outcome of match performance. This is
because it is proven that quantitative improvements provide heightened
self-confidence. This progressive goal setting for your junior tennis players
would include fitness and skills tests which are built towards by periodised
training and competition mapping. A pictorial structure of this Goal Map delivers
greater attention to training which will improve self-confidence.

Imagery
is a strategy widely used in all sports and it’s possible that your players
already use it without realising. Imagery/visualisation is the use of all your
senses to rehearse the game or sport that the player is involved in. This for
your junior tennis players will mean advising them to visualise themselves in
training participating in large competitions e.g. the Wimbledon Final. This
visual imagery technique in training will generate an idea in their heads of
self-confidence owing to the fact they are regularly imaging themselves winning.
Introducing audible cues as well are particularly useful in improving
self-confidence by reducing stress levels before competitions. I would like you
to introduce music/sound to their pre-match rituals so that over time, the
players will relate to the music to develop a positive image they have
imagined. This will allow them to feel improved self-confidence required to
perform well in the event.

Another
technique that I will develop self-confidence in your junior tennis players is
the use of positive self-talk. This technique is used by talking it one’s self
either out loud or in your head. I would like the players to develop a visual
or verbal cue to halt a negative thought when in training or in competition.
This for example could be a simple word or action (e.g. clicking fingers). This
action will trigger a positive response that increases self-confidence. I would
also invite you to use another form of self-talk which is particularly useful
to use when a player is in an almost unavoidable negative situation. Cognitive
restructuring rearranges a negative situation. For example, if your players
come up against the number one seed in a competition, instead of thinking that they
will lose they could think what are their weaknesses and try and make it hard
for them. This also gives the players something to focus on during the game
itself providing self-confidence in an otherwise negative situation. The final
method of self-talk I would advise you to employ with your junior players is
countering. This comes into place when in a competitive or training environment
where the player may be losing or training badly. They simply employ a positive
thought in place of a negative thought. For example, the player could be
thinking “that was a bad set” instead they could think “I’ll come back in the
next game”. Simply countering the negative situation improves self-confidence
as it focuses their mind on a positive goal or outcome thus motivating them.

I
hope that the above information gives you techniques and methods that will
improve your junior tennis players performance. I invite you to get in touch
with me via email or telephone if you don’t understand or have any queries
about the above methods of improving self-confidence. I also welcome your
feedback on how the players are developing and getting on with the strategies
in place.

Yours
Sincerely

Will
Swarbrick

 

PART 3

“Produce an article for a specialist
running magazine outlining the prevalence, symptoms, health and performance
risks and treatments of Disordered Eating (include references and statistics)”

DISORDERED EATING IN SPORT

What? An eating disorder is eating insufficiently which causes an
energy deficiency. It can be very difficult to survey eating disorders due to
embarrassment or unwillingness of the affected. This is particularly releveling
in competitive sport as athlete’s risk losing their income due to losing a
contract due to their health problem. Because of this many athletes today are
still falling foul of eating disorders owing to the lack of education and
information on the subject.

 

Study of Prevalence  (Jorunn
Sundgot-Borgen, PhD & Monica Klungland Torstveit, 2004) studied the
prevalence of diagnosed eating disorders in male and female athletes and male
and female non-athletes. The study found that 20% of the female athletes were
diagnosed with an eating disorder compared to only 9% of non-athletic females.
The study also found that 8% of male athletes were diagnosed compared to only
0.5% of non-athletic males. The main findings were as follows: “the prevalence
of eating disorders is higher among elite athletes than non-athletes and higher
in females than male athletes”.

For endurance athletes the
goal is always to reduce weight to increase speed and/or power. This creates a
problem for some athletes as the obsession with losing weight gets to a stage
where psychologically they are developing eating patterns detrimental to their
health and wellbeing. These athletes where their sport requires a lean body and
reduced body fats (e.g. running, cycling) are at a  superior risk of developing a disordered
eating habit.

 

Anorexia  One
of these eating disorders most common in endurance athletes is anorexia. It’s
characterized by the fear of being overweight and the inability to maintain a
healthy weight. Symptoms of this psychological illness are characterised by
fasting, avoiding certain food groups, misuse of dieting drugs (laxatives or
diuretics), and an increased secrecy of eating habits. Anorexia is often seen
in people visually by their abnormal lack of body fat and discoloured skin from
lack of nutrients. A common strand of anorexia found in endurance athletes is
Anorexia Athletica. This is slightly different than anorexia characterised by
excessive exercise because of a person’s feelings of regret or guilt after
eating.

 

Performance Implications  Anorexia’s
effects can be quite dramatic. Suppressed testosterone production can lead to
decreased muscle strength. This combined with the dysfunction of the
cardiovascular system means endurance fitness is significantly prohibited,
leading to an athlete’s inability to perform. In turn an athletes lack of
education on the implications of a poor diet forms choices which to them are
beneficial but turn out to be a great hindrance to athletic performance.
Specifically in female athletes, anorexia can affect the menstrual cycle with
extreme cases leading to infertility as a result of affected hormone production
(oestrogen and progesterone). These generate psychological disorders (depression
and anxiety) due to these imbalances in homeostasis and hormonal production.
Mineral suppression causes Osteoporosis which facilitates bone density
reduction. In relation to endurance sports (running), this illness can cause
stress fractures because of the brittleness of the bones especially with the
repetitive nature of running. Recovery is also affected because of the bodies
inefficiencies to repair the muscles needed for an athlete’s physical
development. There is no questioning the benefit of losing weight for increased
weight to performance ratios however extreme weight reductions detrimental
effect on the body doesn’t outweigh the weight loss.

Diagnosis and Treatment  Without
treatment of anorexia the affects can be life threatening. For example,
“anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder”
(NICE Guidelines, 2004). Treatment of anorexia requires diagnosis primarily.
Screening tools such as the EAT-26, EDE-Q and EDI three-factor eating inventory
helps doctors diagnose this condition, although voluntary testing can be problematic
as many sufferers are in denial. Treatment through the NHS involves Cognitive Analytic
Therapy (CAT) which restructures your behaviour through techniques such as
recognition of eating patterns (involves cognitive analytic therapy…, 2017).
Combining this psychological treatment with supervised weight gain will
facilitate a change in an athlete view of eating bringing about a healthy
change in eating habits. However, I believe that a lack of education in these
disorders needs to be amended to prevent anorexia. Treatment of anorexia stem
from education of the impacts of lifestyle choices thus changing their eating
habits. The route to treatment starts with prevention which isn’t happening because
of a lack of communication to athletes about detrimental eating habits and
implications.

Conclusive
comment   In the study by Jorunn Sundgot-Borgen &
Monica Klungland Torstveitit it highlights eating disorders in athletes and
introduces the symptoms and treatments. Because there is a high prevalence of eating
disorders in elite athletes that may have serious lifelong consequences, we
recommend that all elite athletes, particularly those competing in leanness
sports, receive screening for eating disorders. Also, education about health
and performance-related nutrition and body composition is needed (Jorunn
Sundgot-Borgen, PhD & Monica Klungland Torstveit, 2004)