PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:
In this lecture we talk about ways of implementing relaxation procedures, energizing strategies, imaging, and hypnosis for the purpose of developing psychological skill. Our primary focus in this regard has been facilitation of athletic performance. Learning how to focus attention, increase self-confidence, and control the debilitating effects of anxiety and worry is important for both athletes and nonathletes. In this lecture we will be discussing the following topics:
- Effectiveness of psychological intervention programs
- Differentiating between psychological skills and methods
- Measurement of psychological skills
- A psychological skills training program
Effectiveness of Psychological Intervention Programs
A number of literature reviews have been published that verify that planned psychological interventions and programs are effective in enhancing athletic performance (Greenspan & Feltz, 1989; Vealey, 1994; Weinberg & Comar, 1994).These reviews confirm that of approximately forty-five studies reviewed, thirty-eight, or 85 percent, have found positive performance effects (Weinberg & Williams, 2001). In addition, a number of more recent investigations have also supported the effectiveness of psychological interventions. Psychological intervention programs are effective in increasing self-confidence, focusing attention, energizing effort, and enhancing athletic performance.
Differentiating Between Psychological Skills and Methods
Coaches and athletes often use the terms psychological skills and psychological method as synonyms, when they actually have different meanings. Psychological methods, techniques, or strategies refer to practices that lead to psychological skill. Examples of psychological methods include goal setting, imagery, progressive relaxation, meditation, self-talk, and hypnosis. Each of these psychological methods, when properly learned and applied, lead to enhanced psychological skill. Conversely, psychological skill refer to learned or innate characteristics of an athlete that make it possible or even likely that she will succeed in sport. Examples of psychological skill include intrinsic motivation, self-confidence, attentional control, arousal control, anxiety control, and general self-awareness.
Measurement of Psychological Skills
Several inventories have been developed that are designed to measure psychological skills used by athletes. Before adopting a specific inventory, the practitioner should become familiar with the reliability, validity, and psychometric properties of the selected inventory.
1. Psychological skills inventory for sports The Psychological Skills Inventory for Sports (PSIS-5) was developed by Mahoney, Gabriel, and Perkins (1987). The PSIS-5 (5th version) is a 45-item inventory that measures the psychological skills of anxiety control, concentration, confidence, mental preparation , motivation, and team orientation.
2. Athletic coping skills inventory
The Athletic Coping Skills Inventory (ACSI-28) was developed by Smith, Schutz, Smoll, and Ptacek (1995). It measures the psychological skills of coping with adversity, peaking under pressure, goal setting/mental preparation, concentration, freedom from worry, confidence and achievement motivation, and coachability.
3. Test of performance strategies The Test of Performance Strategies (TOPS) was developed by Thomas, Murphy, and Hardy (1999). It measures a combination of methods and skills of athletes in strategic situations. Factors measured by the TOPS in the competitive situation include self-talk, emotional control, automaticity, goal setting, imagery, activation, negative thinking, and relaxation. Factors measured by the TOPS in the practice situation include the same factors used in the competitive situation, with the exception that negative thinking is replaced by attentional control.
Psychological Skills Training Program
A number of psychological skills training programs have been proposed. A sample psychological skill training program is give below. It has seven phases.
Who is the Client?
They determine who the client is.
Initial Meeting with Athletes.
Initial meeting is critical
Education of the Sport Psychologist Relative to Activity
Period of self-education will be required to help the sport psychologist bridge the gap from being a novice to being fully knowledgeable and conversant about the sport.
Development of a Needs Assessment Plan
The sport psychologist must have a working knowledge of athletesâ€™ current psychological skills. This can be accomplished only through formal and informal assessment.
2. Performance profiling
3. Observation of athletes during practice and competition
4. Use of objective pencil and paper inventories
Psychological Methods and Strategies to be Taught
In this phase, a master plan is developed in terms of what, when, and in what sequence psychological methods are to be taught to address psychological skill weaknesses.
Actual Teaching and Learning of Selected Psychological Methods
1. Psychological Methods to be taught, practiced , and applied in competition to enhance psychological skills
I. Goal setting
2. Performance Routines to be taught, practiced, and applied in competition to enhance psychological skills
Phase 7: Ongoing and End-of-Session Evaluation of PSTP
For best results, the PSTP must be continually reviewed and evaluated.
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers