Boosting Athletic Performance: A Deep Dive into Behavioral and Emotional Strategies

Subject: Sports
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 10
Word count: 2725
Topics: Exercise, Leadership, Social Psychology


First Question

Given optimal performance is the goal for an athlete, how would you go about implementing behavioral changes to improve performance? Explain and discuss four concepts or theories on how to improve/manipulate performance. Use two concepts to help explain when an athlete has a poor performance.

The implementation of behavioral change among the athletes entails the incorporation of arousal strategy. The arousal of the athletes enhances their performance. The arousal of an athlete can substantially enhance their performance in the sports. Also, the athlete’s performance can be enhanced through the improvement of the athlete’s emotional status. The improvement of the emotional state of the athlete enhances the release of vital chemicals, which are associated with good mood and ultimate good prospects. The performance of an athlete relies on the performance theories. According to Jekauc (2016), the performance theories include the theory of performance, which encompasses the performer’s mindset, exposure to an enabling environment, and the reflective practice. The performer’s mindset is crucial in enhancing performance. A positive mindset enhances success in the physical performance, especially the athlete’s performance, while a negative mindset leads to ultimate failure in the athlete’s performance. The exposure of an athlete to an enriching environment such as training opportunity provides them with an opportunity to boost their success prospects. A reflective practice is also vital in enhancing the performance of a person. According to Wagstaff (2014), total quality management theory underscores the need to focus on quality in every process in management and production to boost performance and achieve quality customer service. In addition, the theory enhances efficiency and enhances continuous improvement among the performers. In fact, the performers become experts in these respective fields of engagement such as Athletics because of the emphasis on quality performance. The focus on continuous improvement is in tandem with the theory’s quality focus aspect. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory established different levels of motivation for an individual ranging from the physiological needs to self-actualization. The theory enhances performance because an individual is focused on continuous improvement to acquire the next level of needs. The theory underscores the purpose of life, continuous learning. The different levels encourage an individual to seek fulfillment of their needs, and self-actualization is the level of success for any person. Herzberg’s hygiene theory underscores the fact that a job is attributed to satisfaction and dissatisfaction factors at any given time. The theory advocates for the continuous elimination of the dissatisfying aspects of a job and the continuous enhancement of the factors promoting the satisfaction of a job. According to William (2016), athletes are expected to perform exemplary when the rewards are high unlike when the prize value is low. In this regard, the athletes are likely to perform well when the rewards are increased. In fact, McGregor’s theory x and theory y; theory x stipulates that a person is likely to avoid work at all cost unless subjected to close supervision while theory y stipulates that a person can utilize self-drive in dispensing their duties without any interference from external forces (Winkler, 2010).

The application of the theory of performance will be appropriate in Athletics scenario. In this case, the athletes can be motivated to perform better thorough the changing of the athlete’s mindset, provision of an enriching environment and exposure to a reflective practice. The athlete must be emotionally stimulated to perform well. Also, a good environment is essential in preparing the athlete for success. The exposure of an athlete to adequate training enhances the athlete’s success. Therefore, the theory is instrumental in enhancing the performance of an athlete. The adoption of McGregor’s hierarchy of needs theory can be adopted to improve a poorly performing athlete. The adoption of theory x will enhance the performance because supervision will always enhance the engagement of the athlete in the exercise. First, the practice of supervision on the athlete exposes the athlete to ridicule, and also, it challenges the athlete to perform better regardless of the previous performance.

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Second Question

Explain the relationship between arousal and performance. Identify the concepts and discuss why athletes in different sports and at different skill levels would comparatively need varying levels of arousal in order to perform at their optimal level. Next, outline what you look for in someone experiencing pre-competitive state anxiety and explain why someone experiencing pre-competitive anxiety. Lastly, offer and explain how to use two techniques to cope wither regulate high levels of spousal prior to competition

The relationship between arousal and performance is linear because the objective of arousals is usual high performance. For this reason, the Drive theory stipulates that any form of arousal leads to high performance. The other concept besides the drive theory is the Inverted-U hypothesis, which stipulates that performance will always increase as arousal increases to an optimum level of performance and arousal (Winkler, 2010). The concept underscores the fact that when arousals increase beyond the optimum point, performance is bound to decrease. Arousal is a crucial concept in the success of sport because it is subject to the psychological process of an individual. The use of arousal enhances the coordination between the psychological and the physical activities of an individual. Arousal is important because it enhances the coordination of muscles, although it causes tension. Also, it enhances the attention of the sportsperson given that it makes the person be more aware of their environment. This boosts the performance of the person when they actually engage in the sport or event. In this case, the level of attention of a sports person must match the level of arousal. Athletes in different sports at different skill levels will require different levels of arousal because various sports require different levels of input from the players. For instance, the athlete’s skills are slightly different from the skills required by a badminton player. In addition, different sports require different training and different levels, and also, need different rewards anxiety. A person experiencing pre-competitive stat can be identified through the level of preparedness, the race position and the low self-confidence of the person. In addition, the subjective satisfaction of the available resources for the competition is also an indication of the person’s pre-competitive anxiety. In addition, a person with pre-competitive anxiety can be identified through the cognitive state of the person (Jekauc, 2016). People experience pre-competitive state anxiety because of a wide array of reasons. First, inadequate preparations for the competition or contest can easily cause someone to the condition. In addition, uncertainty pertaining to the competitors’ potential in performance can cause pre-competitive anxiety. A person with a failure profile may be always agitated because of the fear of failure in subsequent contests. The other reason for being in a pre-competitive state anxiety is an inferiority complex. Athletes with an inferiority complex are always subject to the anxiety because they always feel inadequate to excel in competition. A misconception pertaining to various issues surrounding the contest, especially the biasness of a referee. In case, a referee is perceived to be bias, some of the competitors are likely to be agitated and be in a pre-competitive state anxiety. There are ways of regulating the high levels of arousal before competitions. First, the participants in a competition can be subjected to social interactions to shift their attention from the upcoming contest. The initiative will serve to diffuse the tension among the competitors. In addition, the timing of the sports can be adjusted to avoid keeping the participants waiting for long before taking part in a sports contest. The other strategy, which can be used to regulate the tension and the competitors in a pre-competitive state anxiety, is the counseling of the participants on success and failure themes. Jekauc (2016) adds that counseling will prevent unnecessary tension associated with the fear of failure among the competitors. The competitors should know the teams they are competing with to allay any fears of short-changing. In addition, there is a need for adequate training to avoid any feeling of inadequacy to participate in the contests. However, the competitors should be made to understand their situation to enhance their response to the anxiety.

Third Question

Explain attribution. Give an example of an attribution training program and include what would warrant putting a thereto into such a program. Be sure you discuss how emotional effect will, in turn, affect physical performance

Attribution refers to the manner in which a social perceiver utilizes information in a bid to establish the proximate cause of events. An example of an attribution training program is a weak tennis ball team. In such a situation, the coach gathers and uses the information to be able to arrive at the root cause of the underperformance of their team. The low performance of players necessitates the search for adequate information to enhance the remedying process with regard to the team’s performances. The information gathered must be correctly interpreted to enhance a correct judgment of each student’ predicament. The initiative will enhance the objective of attribution. The process provides a reliable guide to the drawing of conclusions pertaining to phenomenon, given the fact that people judge issues differently. Information is power and the use of the information enhances accuracy in deliberations. The aspect of internal attribution can be used in the attribution training program, and it involves the attribution of a cause of a certain behavior to the internal disposition of a person (Williams, 2016). This is instrumental in ensuring that the redial process is successful. For instance, the process features personality traits of people, which are central pertaining to the success of failure of the team. The moral values and religious values of a person are part of the internal attribution process. The process makes the remedial process easy. The external attribution refers to the assigning of the cause of behavior to their personality. The remedial program is an attribution training program given that the players are subjected to the external environment. When the external factors are known, it is easy to resolve the challenges facing the players. In fact, the successful gathering of information is an indication of the success of the attribution training program. The situational factors are part of the features established by the tutor who is steering the process of attribution training process. Emotional effect directly influences the physical performance of the players. The theory of performance underscores the effect of a person’s mental state in physical performance.  The controllable factors in a game are considered internal factors while the uncontrollable factors are external factors. The tennis ball players attributed the failure to the dysfunctional attribution. This meant that there were controllable elements, which were inadequately controlled by the people in charge. For instance, the emotions, expectations, and persistence of the players were based on the commitment and determination of the coach. The players required to be consistently trained and monitored to enhance the perfection of the tennis ball. For this reason, the coach represented the internal attribution for the team, which had failed; hence underperformance of the tennis ball team. The bottom-line in attribution is that people have variant emotions; hence there is variance in the level of engagement and quality metrics (Polman, Rowcliffe, Borkoles, & Levy, 2015). Emotions are powerful because they have the power to trigger the same emotional feelings in other people. In this regard, the emotional state of a person determines the physical performance of the player. Emotions can be associated with excitement while also emotions can sometimes be associated with panic. Overconfidence is an emotional state, which can negatively affect the physical performance of a sports person as tennis ball player. In the same breath, a coach’s mood can lead to success in the contest in the tennis ball game after the training. Emotions communicate goodwill or doom among the players. According to Salas, Estrada, and Vessey (2015), emotions, environment, and training of the players must adequately addressed to enhance professionalism and success in the sport. The utterances of the players to each other have the potential of enhancing success or causing the failure in the contests.

Fourth Question

When discussing cohesion why is it so critical to differentiate between task and social cohesion? In order to facilitate a positive and productive team environment what does someone in position of authority need to consider developing and accomplishing this goal? Integrate theories related to leadership in sport to answer this question

It is important to differentiate between task and social cohesion because task cohesion entails an individual while social cohesion involves a group of people. According to Salas, Estrada, and Vessey, (2015), task cohesion is unity based on the skill of individually accomplishing a task. This type of cohesion usually focuses on the main issues of concern, and the possible remedies to the issues. The social cohesion is conducted in such a way that it focuses on the bonding of like-minded parties. However, the bonding necessary in social cohesion is based on no-work settings. In fact, the issue of social cohesion underscores the formation of relationship between different people (Salas, Estrada, & Vessey, 2015). On the other hand, task cohesion is focused on a single dimension. However, task cohesion can only be done by a group of people with different mental orientations unlike social cohesion. The other reason for distinguishing the two forms of cohesion is because social cohesion underscores family and friendship bonding while task cohesion features working. In addition, social cohesion involves emotional bonding while task cohesion creates relationships on the basis of expertise and professionalism. The final outcome of a relationship is essential in task cohesion while the creation of a relationship is the most important thing in a social cohesion. In this case, task cohesion heavily relies on the trust between the parties involved in the relationship. Most organizations do not prefer social cohesion but prefer task cohesion because the latter is purely based on the performance of the individuals. The maintenance of a cordial relationship between the members of a group fosters solidarity among team members; hence the need for authoritative leadership (Polman et al., 2015). The leadership will ensure that the team complies with the rule and regulations of engagement.  For this reason, a distinction between the two types of cohesion; task and social cohesion, is critical. A productive and appositive team environment can be created through an assessment of the needs of the work team. In this regard, a person of authority ought to have a dialogue with the team members in a bid to establish the pertinent issues for the team. The team must be appreciated in kind and materially to motivate them to be responsive to the authority. There is a need for the authority to listen to the team’s views to be able to identify their needs. The team must be provided with adequate resources to enhance the suitability of the working environment. In addition, the team must be trusted to send a positive signal to other team members. The initiative will enable the team to trust each other. According to Winkler (2010), transactional leadership theory stipulates that the successful leadership relies on the rewarding of subjects. In this regard, the creation of a productive team entails commitment in the training and motivation of the team members through financial rewards. The rewarding of subjects underscores the need for motivation of the employees. However, the authority must train the team on the moral values and virtue of hard work, integrity and corporate responsibility. There is a need to involve the team to corporate social responsibility initiatives. The latter will boost the productivity of the team to society and physical well-being. Transformational theory underscores the futuristic focus of the productive team, which values society in its undertakings. There is a need to adopt the laissez-faire leadership theory to enhance collaboration and cooperation of the subjects (Northouse, 2015). The leadership theory is critical and appropriate in the creation of a productive environment for a team because it provides an opportunity for the members to take initiatives in advancing the agenda of the team. According to Winkler (2010), democratic leadership is vital because it enhances fairness and justice in the decision-making process within a team. Democracy meets the needs of the authority and the needs of the subject because fairness is underscored in the process. This form of leadership enables the team to be objective and collaborative during service delivery.

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  1. Jekauc, D. (2016). How Emotions Influence Sport Performance. CNS Newsletter.  Retrieved from:
  2. Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.
  3. Polman R., Rowcliffe N., Borkoles, E., & Levy, A. (2015). Precompetitive state anxiety, Objective and subjective performance, and causal attributions in competitive swimmers. Pediatric Exercise Science Journal, 19(1), p.39-50. 
  4. Salas, E., Estrada, A. X., & Vessey, W. B. (2015). Team Cohesion: Advances in Psychological Theory, Methods and Practice. Emerald Group Publishing. 
  5. Wagstaff, C.R. (2014) Emotion regulation and sport performance. Journal of Sport Exercise Psychology, 36(4), p.401-412. 
  6. Williams, J.M. (2016). Applied Sport Psychology: Personal Growth to Peak Performance. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  7. Winkler, I. (2010). Contemporary leadership theories: Enhancing the understanding of the complexity, subjectivity and dynamic of leadership. Berlin: Springer.
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