Biomechanics and Psychology on Sport Basketball

1. Coaches and athletes tend to use the terms psychological skills and psychological techniques as synonyms, but essentially have very different meanings. Psychological techniques are used to enable an athlete to help increase an athlete concentration while reducing the chance of fatigue, fear and anxiety. Examples of psychological techniques include pre-performance routines, self-talk, imagery, goal setting and mediation. Psychological skill differs from technique because it is the learned or innate characteristics of an athlete which make it possible or more likely they will be successful in sports. Example of psychological skill comprise of self-confidence, arousal, attentional control and general self-awareness.

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Goal setting is a common use psychological technique most athletes use. Locke et al, (1981) defined it as the attaining a specific standard of proficiency on a task, usually within a specified time limit. The athlete will have to consider the type of goal he is setting, goal proximity if it short to long term and the use of effective goal setting for example, if the goal is specific, measurable, adjustable and realistic and consider the timeline to achieve the goal.

Another important techniques used by many athletes is the use of imagery. Vealey, (1993) defines imagery “using all the senses to recreate an experience in the mind” (p3). In some cases, imagery may be superior to physical training because athletes can use imagery in any specific places. Paivio 2-dimensional model explain that the practice of imagery can consist of situation specific or general in nature. Paivio’s two dimensional models for imagery have five independent uses. Motivational-Specific is when athlete use imagery in a specific setting that is highly motivation. Motivational General-Mastery is when athlete effectiveness to cope in a challenging situations. Motivational General-Arousal is when athlete uses imagery in a sporting situation demonstrating the ability to relax or increase arousal. Cognitive specific is when athlete uses imagery to execute a specific sport skill correctly during competition. Lastly Cognitive General is when the athlete uses imagery directed at correctly executing a specific sport skill. For example, if a basketball player feel his warm-up is feeling lethargic, he can used imagery of previous best performance to help him improve.

Self-confidence is a psychological skill which is learned and not inherited. It is define as an individual attitude which allows us to have optimistic and realistic perception of their abilities (Robinson, 1999). When athletes feel confident, they are more likely to perform at a better standard. Equally, when athlete lacks confidence, the slightest setback can have a negative effect on their performance. A theoretical approach to sport confidence is Robin Vealey’s model of sport confidence. Robin Vealey (1993) suggests sport self-confidence consists of three components. Self-confidence trait is when the athlete brings to the objective competitive situation a personality trait and is dispositional. Self-confidence this is a situational state- specific that athlete exhibits during competition. Competitive Orientation this is how the athlete defines success in the competition.

An important psychological skill is attention in a sporting situation. Define as the ability to attend to appropriate stimuli during specific sporting situation (Hall, 2000). The concept of attention includes the ability of an athlete to both narrow and broaden their attention when necessary.

2. In this scenario the psychological skill affecting the basketball player is a lack of self-confidence. Bandura’s theory of Self-efficacy is used to describe self-confidence and consist of 4 major factors. Performance Accomplishments is an important way the basketball player can develop a high level of efficacy is through mastery experiences. By performing a task successfully it can help strengthen the player level self-efficacy. However for the basketball player failing to adequately deal with a task of free throw can undermine and weaken his self-efficacy. Vicarious Experience is when observing other peer successfully completing a task is another key source of self-efficacy. Bandura (1994) suggested by seeing people with similar level of ability succeed in the same situation; the observers will believe that they too have the capabilities to succeed. For verbal persuasion, bandura emphasizes people could be convinced to believe that they have the skills and ability to succeed. Having verbal support from peer can helps the basketball player to overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving his best attempt to the task at hand.

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Lastly Physiological States is when the player responses and emotional reaction can play a significant role in self-efficacy. This can include physical reaction, arousal and anxiety levels can all impact on how a person feels about their own capability in a certain situation. For example the basketball player may have high anxiety level before he free throw attempt thus developing a low level of self-efficacy in that situations. However, Bandura, (1994) suggested “it is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted” (p12). If the basketball player can learn how to reduce stress and improve his mood when facing challenging tasks, he can elevate his sense of self-efficacy.

3. A useful technique the basketball player can used in training is per-performance routines. Pre-performance routines can enable the player to overcome anxiety, improve confidence reduce distraction and can be particularly useful to prepare him mentally for an upcoming performance. Robson and Pein (2002) reported that closed skill such as free throw which the player current has issue with, are frequently the types of skill that pre-performance routines can help an athlete prepare for. Using routines can organise time before and between performances so when time occur for the player to perform, he is mentally prepared (Weinberg & Gould, 2003). Blake (1992) also reported pre-free throw routine may help to reactivate the approproate mental and physiological state before a shot, thus improving the possibility for a successful performance. Davis and Huston (1999) supported this evidence by agreeing that pre-performance behaviours improve performance by helping the athlete to become ready for the upcoming match. To conclude, pre-performance routine can assist athletes to focus thought on a sequence of well-rehearsed cues, thus decreasing the chance of the player will focus on potential harmful thoughts such as, negative thoughts, outcome of the match and physically performing the actions (Herbert, 2000).


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