With regard to sports events, psychological concepts and theories are not limited to the study of the behaviour of athletes and their motives. Various aspects are taken into account, including the effects of stress, anxiety, self-control, and other factors affecting the results of sporting fights. In order to determine what effect such psychological nuances have, a soccer match will be taken as a basis. As a target participant for analysis, the captain of one of the teams will be interviewed.
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Based on his answers and observations of the game, relevant conclusions will be made regarding the interpretation of the performance situation within the framework of special psychological concepts. This work is aimed at determining the factors that characterise certain actions of athletes and the analysis of psychological concepts that are closely related to competitive activities.
The sports performance in question is a soccer national championship match. As an object of analysis, the captain of the winning team was interviewed and, based on the assessment of his behaviour and the work of the entire team, it is possible to identify some specific nuances. The athlete’s desire to win was obvious, and his efforts made it possible to achieve a high result, despite nerves and stress experienced during the match.
As the game progressed, the captain’s team lost, and some players looked morally depressed due to the inability to change the course of the match. However, after the break, the players managed to change the preponderance of forces, and the captain’s merit in it was substantial since he encouraged the teammates and motivated them. As a result, with a slight advantage, the players achieved their goal, and the captain was recognised as the best player of the match.
To comply with the ethical standards of the survey, the identity of the performer is not disclosed since anonymity is an important condition for an unbiased study. However, to prove the validity of the results, it is necessary to resort to the analysis of individual behavioural and other aspects of the athlete in question with the help of special psychological concepts. Based on these data, a comprehensive picture will be obtained, and appropriate conclusions will be made.
Analysis of Psychological Factors Influencing Performance
The evaluation of the athlete’s actions through the application of current psychological theories may help to determine the causes of certain emotional manifestations and highlight the most significant behavioural factors. The following practices will be considered as key approaches taken as rationale: the confidence and self-efficacy theory, concepts related to anxiety and its manifestation, as well as the principles for assessing personality and individual differences. Based on these approaches, the analysis of the performer’s actions will be conducted.
Confidence and Self-Efficacy Theory
Since the preparation for the match was essential, the athlete was probably under stress and was ready for different outcomes of the rivalry. However, in the course of the struggle, the team managed to seize the initiative and achieve victory. Such success can be interpreted from the position of attention and self-efficacy theory described by Bandura (1997). The author argues that those timely analyses of personal productivity may contribute to identifying the key areas of intervention and taking appropriate actions if necessary (Bandura 1997). Based on the result of the match, this principle was used by the captain, who did his best to motivate his teammates and make them reconsider the strategy of the game.
Certainly, in addition to the aforementioned advantages, self-confidence may have some limitations. In particular, Kerr (1985) gives an example of the reversal theory where much depends on the interpretation of arousal. Spiritual uplift due to success may help the performer achieve a high result, but in case of an error, it will not be possible to regain leadership because of a lost stimulus. Vealey et al. (1998) mentions a special model of sports confidence and argues that much depends on the motivation of players caused by attendant factors, in particular, the outcomes of performances. Moritz et al. (2000) argue that self-assessment allows timely revision of the game strategy to change tactics in order to win and achieve success.
As methods for improving self-efficacy, prior training should be appropriate. Mesagno and Mullane-Grant (2010) point out that routine workout can identify key problems and take steps to fix them. Thus, the captain of the soccer team was able to assess the current mistakes correctly.
Theories of Anxiety
The types of worries that may occur during sports event may vary. For instance, self-doubt is unlike anxiety caused by the need to retain an advantage. In this regard, there are different theories for evaluating this criterion from a psychological point of view. Hardy (1996) cites the example of the catastrophe theory when high and low levels of cognitive anxiety affect performance. Athletes’ individual differences, in this case, play an essential role. Woodman and Hardy (2003) also mention the multidimensional anxiety theory and argue that cognitive anxiety is the factor that influences productivity negatively, and measures should be taken to eliminate the emergence of such experiences.
Pijpers et al. (2003) note that a process-oriented approach based on concentration on the ultimate goal can be effective in overcoming anxiety. Koivula, Hassmen, and Fallby (2002) give similar reasons and suggest promoting the method of increasing self-confidence to exclude worries. To measure the levels of anxiety in sport, Vealey et al. (1998) argue that the model of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 that is aimed at finding incentives against worries, can be effective. In general, motor skills and other essential properties that are necessary for performance in sports are important to train under external pressure (Lam, Maxwell & Masters 2009).
Personality and Individual Differences
Graydon and Murphy (1995) note the high role of the individual in the context of sports and the achievement of success through competition. In general, personality as a mechanism consisting of different components (openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and others) is estimated by Woodman et al. (2010) as a set of multiple traits. The authors argue that such important parameters of success as performance and self-confidence largely depend on the development of specific qualities, which is particularly important in sports (Woodman et al. 2010). In the case considered, the role of the captain is significant, and his participation in achieving victory can be regarded as the manifestation of individual strength.
One of the concepts relating to individual differences is associated with perfectionism described by Roberts et al. (2013) as a desire to achieve the highest possible result, despite any obstacles. In sports, this feature can be effective since the key goal is to win, and the desire to achieve perfection increases the likelihood of positive outcomes. However, the means utilised for this purpose may differ, and some methods, such as the use of steroids, are a violation of sports ethics (Maganaris, Collins & Sharp 2000).
Another significant feature considered in the context of sports is narcissism that Wallace and Baumeister (2002) regard as the expression of excessive self-confidence. In the case under analysis, the captain of the soccer team can hardly be described as an athlete who is too proud of himself, Nevertheless, the strength of his personality, as the result of the game shows, made it possible to succeed.
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Strengths and Weaknesses of the Psychology Research
When assessing the strengths of the study, it can be noted that many psychological theories and concepts may be applied to the case under consideration. Based on the academic sources, it is possible to receive a comprehensive picture of the situation and determine which behavioural principles helped the captain and his team to defeat the opponent. However, in the study, there is one significant weakness that may not be left unnoticed. Most of the sources used can be considered outdated since they are older than five years. Certainly, the theories considered by various authors have hardly changed their essence over the past period.
Nevertheless, relevant facts and statistics could be useful in the analysis of the modern sports world. Moreover, in theory, it is possible to try to challenge some of the arguments, using the justification of other studies. For instance, the opinion of Maganaris, Collins, and Sharp (2000) about potentially effective steroids goes against the modern principles of sports ethics. Therefore, more contemporary academic sources can also be used as references.
Interventions and Implications for the Performer
When making conclusions about the performance, it can be noted that the success achieved by one team is largely due to the strong leadership qualities of the captain. The self-efficacy theory and the concept of the athlete’s personality strength are the strategic approaches that influenced the outcome of the match. The strategy by Moritz et al. (2000), which describes the self-confidence and desire to win, is relevant in this case. Also, the approach by Roberts et al. (2013) based on the strength of the personality applies to this example. In the process of implementing these behavioural principles, some practical issues may arise, for instance, misunderstanding on the teammates, and persistence is required to strengthen personal authority.
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