Monday, December 6, 2010

Building Character

WHAT: Children get out of school with much time to spare before their parents come home from work. During this time, children can demonstrate violent and aggressive behavior. Many times this behavior is associated to bullying or starting fights with other kids. Noticing this problem, the principal of the local middle has decided to start an after-school program so the students have something to do until their parents come home from work. The main goal of this program is to build character and develop good sportsmanship through physical activity. This program will allow kids to release built up energy in a positive way through physical activity. Teaching these kids the positive approach to release aggression appropriately will be a challenging process but will receive positive results overtime. Hopefully this program will increase positive sporting behavior and decrease in-school fights.

SO WHAT: Gibbons and colleagues (1995) developed Fair Play for Kids, which is a curriculum to promote character development. This curriculum showed higher scores on moral judgment, reasoning, intention, and behavior than normal physical education classes. This curriculum emphasizes respect for rules, officials, and opponents, as well as the right of all participants to play and the importance of self-control (Gill & Williams, 2008).  A follow up study by Gibbons and Ebbeck (1997) compared social learning with structural developmental strategies. The results confirmed that sports and physical activity could have a positive impact on moral growth. This being said, character development could be accomplished using these strategies.

NOW WHAT: To follow the curriculum of the Fair Play for Kids program, the first step is to respect the rules. This will involving teaching the kids about the rules of the activity and why they are the rules. Kids may not have respected rules before because they were not explained and taught why they are the rules. Next will be to teach respect for the officials. Students need to know that the officials are not out to get them and they are enforcing the rules to the best of their ability. They must understand it is not easy to be an official. Possibly having each student officiate a simply game so they can understand what is like to be the official. The next step is to teach them how to respect their opponent. Within this program the students might be playing against their friends. This will allow them to be more courteous to their opponent. Students will also be taught on sportsmanship. Sportsmanship will be the main emphasis of every activity in the after-school program. We can incorporate a sportsman of the day award that is given daily. This reward can be simple, such as a Gatorade of their choice or choosing an upcoming activity. Equal playing time will be distributed to all students as best as possible. Lastly, incorporating self-control. This has been a major problem with in-school fighting. Students will be taught strategies that if they become angered or frustrated to not lash out on another student. They will be taught ways to coop with this negative energy and ways to deal with it in an appropriate manner.

Conclusion: This after-school program is a way to keep the students in a positive learning environment without the presence of violence and aggressive behavior. This program will allow students to build character while having fun with physical activity. A program like this will ensure parents that their children are not acting mischievously while they are at work and their children are at home alone. Sportsmanship will be a vital part of this program, along with making every activity they do being fun. Without it being fun, a program like this will lose attendance.


Gibbons, S., & Ebbeck, V. (1997). The effect of different teaching strategies on moral development of physical education students. Journal of Teaching Physical Education, 17(1), 85-98.

Gibbons, S., Ebbeck, V., & Weiss, M. (1995) ‘Fair play for kids’. Effects on the moral development of children in physical education. Research Quarterly for exercise and Sport, 66(3), 247-255.

Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Culturally Competent

WHAT: As a physical education teacher at a public middle school, I plan to incorporate multicultural education in my physical activities curriculum. This will allow for each student to feel comfortable with any activity pertaining to their diverse background as well as all students learning different cultural activities they have not participated in before. This cultural program will be inclusive and empowering for the students.

SO WHAT: Gill and colleagues (2008) defined cultural competence as “the ability of physical activity professionals and their agencies to develop, implement, and evaluate physical activity programs that reflect, value, and promote varied culturally relevant forms of physical activity.” To incorporate cultural activities that will please the values and diversity of all the students will not be a simple task. A plan needs to be made to allow for an inclusive and empowering environment. Our schools are more consumed by students that are from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This being said, traditional physical education classes need to be shifted to develop and implement cultural activities. To become culturally competent I will use the model The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services. This model uses five constructs: cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skill, cultural encounters, and cultural desire (Campinha-Bacote, 2002).

WHAT: The first thing I must do is become culturally aware. I need to find out what cultural background each student posses. This can either be from observation, asking each student one on one, or meeting with each student and their parent. After becoming aware of the different background I am dealing with I need to gain knowledge on each background. I can use online resources, such as the National Center for Cultural Competence, to retain information. I should not stereotype any student based on their background, since individuals are unique. This may be done by also asking parents about their background or asking other teachers in the school. Next I need to acquire cultural skill. Based on the information I have learned in this process I need to decide which activities will be based on each background. These activities will be based under general assumptions for each background but will not be narrowed down yet. Cultural encounters will be the next step. After identifying the activities that will be proper for my physical education in being culturally competent, I will then try to learn these activities first hand to experience them myself and gain a better understanding. Cultural desire is the last step I need to accomplish. This is to ensure that the students want to perform a certain activity I have planned rather than to have to. After narrowing down activities for each background I will then let the students pick the activities I have listed they want to participate in. I will make sure to plan my curriculum around the activities I feel that are appropriate that they want to engage in.

Conclusion: This process will take a lot of effort and time but will pay off in the end. By making a part of the activities for the physical education class to tend to different cultural backgrounds will make the class more individualized based on each background, rather than your standard physical education class. Participating in such activities will allow for the students to be more comfortable participating and will be a great learning environment for the students to learn activities they are not use to participating in.


Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Camphina-Bacote, J. (2002). The process of cultural competence in the delivery of healthcare services: A model of care. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13(3), 181-184.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Team Building Exercise

WHAT: As a middle school physical education teacher, I want o try to incorporate team building into my seventh grade class.  PE classes usually are structured to increase the physical activity of the students, whether it is playing a sport, lifting weights or just traditional conditioning workouts. Also another component is having just having fun with physical activity. By incorporating team building into PE classes, the students will be able to gain more than just physical activity alone.

SO WHAT: Brawley and Paskevich (1997) define team building as a method of helping the group to increase effectiveness, satisfy the needs of its members, or improve work conditions.  Team building model includes four main aspects; group environment, group structure, group processes, and group cohesion.  Carron and Sprink (2003) have been successful in team building with fitness classes and sports using these four aspects. Group environment refers to the distinctiveness of the group, such as group names or same colored tee shirts. Group structure includes both individual position and group norms. Group processes include sacrifices, such as more experienced helping less experienced, as well as interaction and communication. The last component is group cohesion. Group cohesion included integration and attraction either with task or social oriented (Gill & Williams, 2008).

NOW WHAT: In order to develop team building within my PE class, every student will be involved during the class’s activity. I will make sure that the given activity will involve every student working together as one unit. These activities will not allow students to be individually rewarded. Each student will be equally split up for varying activities. This will allow for students with different skill sets to be paired with other students. Students will be given a designated position on their team with a specific duty.  Each position will have a set of rules that they must follow; an example would be a certain position might be the only person on the team who can talk during the activity. The Main objective is to get the students to work as a unit and not as individuals. By doing this it will allow for much needed teamwork and team cohesion will take place.

CONCLUSION: By incorporating team building into a PE class will be a positive change from your average PE class. This will allow for students to work as a team with other students they necessarily wouldn’t work with. By performing such activities as listed above, students will have to rely on their team to accomplish a common goal. By performing these activities, new skills will be formed. The skills that can be learned from this exercise may be applied to other areas in their life rather just in a sport or exercise setting.


Brawley, L.R., & Paskevich, D.M. (1997). Conducting team building research in the context of sport and exercise. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 9, 11-40.

Carron, A.V., & Spink, K.S. (1993). Team building in an exercise setting. The Sport Psychologist, 7(1), 8-18.

Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Families Together and Active

WHAT:  The local park and recreation department would like to increase their membership as their annual goal. This membership goal is geared toward increasing family membership in particular. A program is needed to be enjoyable for the whole family and the availability so that families can normally participate.  This program is based around improving the performance of its participants and positive attitudes toward physical activity in a family oriented environment. This program needs to be developed and then presented to the director of the park and recreation department.

SO WHAT: In order to increase performance and positive attitudes, activities need to be included that families will enjoy and gain health benefits. The social aspect of these activities will be a main contributor to meet the goals of this program. Social influence will be incorporated in affecting positive attitudes and performance. Social facilitation is the influence of the presence of others on performance, including audience and coaction effects (Gill & Williams, 2008).  The presence of an audience increases arousal but if the activity is difficult and not well learned it can impair the performance. Social reinforcement is another influence that consists of positive and negative evaluative comments and actions, such as verbal praise, criticism, and body language (Gill & Williams, 2008). Positive praise should be more of the focus of this program so the children’s attitudes stay positive. Research indicates that behavior that is followed immediately by a teacher giving children attention rose rapidly to a high rate and that most young children adult attention is a positive reinforcer (Harris, Wolf, & Baer, 1964).  Another social influence is modeling.  According to Bandura’s (1986) social-cognitive theory, when we observe others we form a cognitive representation of the action that serves as a reference of correctness. Either the fitness can perform the correct movements for the children so they know how to do it or their parents can perform for them if they feel more comfortable with them. 

NOW WHAT: The main purpose of the Families Together and Active program is to improve performance and positive attitudes toward physical activity.  This program will involve the entire family for participation. Each activity will be geared toward the involvement of each family member.  Activities will range from ones that every member in the family may have done before to new activities that no family member has done. Activities will be rotated so that the program stays fresh while keeping the motivation high for every participant. During these activities the parents and instructors will be advised to give the children positive reinforcement. By staying positive with the children, it will help keep a positive attitude about participating. If the children are having fun then it should then allow the parents to have fun as well. This will allow for great family cohesion.  When performing a new skill or activity, the instructors will make sure that the fundamentals are learned before the actual activity.  If the children do not learn the skill properly before performing an activity, it could possibly have a negative effect on their performance and attitude. The instructors and parents will help demonstrate the skills needed for each activity.  Program sessions will focus on completion of each activities skill before performing the activities. An example of this would be learning how to dribble a basketball and shoot a basketball before playing a game.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the Families Together and Active program should help the park and recreation department increase their membership. This is a great program designed for the whole family.  Creating family cohesion with exercise and having fun is a wonderful program. If children visually see their parents having a positive attitude with physical activity it will more than likely transfer to the child. Promoting family physical activity can be a hard thing to do these days, but with this program it can be achieved.


Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Harris, F., Wolf, M., & Baer, D. (1964). Effects of adult social reinforcement on child behavior. Journal of Nursery Education, 20(1), 8-17. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The children are the future and our future needs to be healthy

WHAT: Childhood obesity is a major topic in discussion in today’s society.  With lack of physical activity, overweight children at a greater risk for adulthood health problems. Physical activity patterns of childhood and adolescence begin the lifetime patterns that promote health in adulthood, but unfortunately the evidence indicates that activity declines in adolescence, particularly for females (Gill & Williams, 2008). The main issue is to help these children participate in healthy activities that promote physical activity and well-being. The presence of an after-school program could help spark physical activity patterns within adolescents. The after-school program will be free of charge to the students. Students in this urban and public school district do not have many options for physical activity that would be free. Implementing such a program that the children can attend right after school that is free will give them another option to do something fun that also increases levels of fitness.

SO WHAT: If children that struggle with obesity are not informed on what possible health problems may occur later on, they may just shrug it off and never change their activity patterns before adulthood. Children who do not be come regularly physically active may be at risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and diabetes. Health belief model has considerable support to health behaviors and medical compliance but limited application to exercise and physical activity. This model includes four major components: perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits and perceived barriers (Gill & Williams, 2008). These components can be used in this program. The children need the facts stated to them loud and clear so they know what could possibly happen to them. Children also need to determine on their own that physical activity will be a great benefit for them or else they will not be motivated to participate. Researchers have found that self-efficacy to be a strong predictor of physical activity in various populations, including obese people (Gill & Williams, 2008).  This social-cognitive theory may help increase self-efficacy within these children and will increase the likelihood of them participating in physical activity. The self-determination theory focuses on self-motivation and the social environment. Overweight children participating in similar activities, such as an after-school program, can help optimize attendance for participating in physical activity. Being with similar children may increase their motivation since they all have a similar goal. The social presence of participating with other overweight children will help them feel comfortable enough to participate in physical activity.  The relapse-prevention model helps recognize risk situations and problem solving for the high-risk situations. Drop out rates can be as high as 50% while participating in exercise programs (Gill & Williams, 2008). The children will need to be informed of this fact and way to avoid being another drop out.

NOW WHAT:  I will develop the after-school program around three components. The first one will be academic enrichment. This will be a brief lecture about obesity facts. Giving the children a good understanding of what is going on and that how their physical activity can affect their health in adulthood, both negatively and positively. Participants will also be informed of drop rates and ways to avoid those trends. The participants will be given out a daily health tip as well as a handout over the lesson for that current day. They will also be given a binder so that they can keep anything given to them. This binder will act as a health handbook for them.  The second component will be to give out healthy snacks along with the brief lecture. This way the kids can learn that these snacks are good for them as well getting the healthy snack they need after school rather than eating candy or any other form of an unhealthy snack. Each day of the program will consist of a healthy snack and it will be printed out. The print out will tell how to make it and include its supplement facts. The participants can then keep this in their binder so they can put together a healthy snack book. They will be allowed to bring this home so that their parents can look over it and possibly keep some of these snacks on hand at home. The last component will be the physical activity, which will take up most of the programs time.  School-age youth should participate in 60minutes or more moderate to vigorous physical activity that is developmentally appropriate, enjoyable, and involves a variety of activities (ARTICLE). In this, the participants will start off with a healthy warm-up to minimize risk of injury. Each day will focus on a different activity then the previous day. This will help the kids stay motivated to come back to see what the next days activity will be. Each activity will be tailored to be more fun than more physically exhausting. The activities will involve the participants to be socially active, which will help increase their motivation and self-efficacy. The social aspect of being able to participate with similar overweight children will release the fear of competition like most sports and they will focus more on having fun and getting good exercise.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the main issue presented was adolescent obesity. This is a major problem in today’s society. After-school programs that are free for inner city children are a great way to help increase physical activity patterns. Positive change may increase for the children by giving them some information about obesity, a healthy snack, and some fun activities. Hopefully the process of programs like this can be created all over the nation so that we can start to reverse this occurrence of obesity in children. The children are the future and our future needs to be healthy.


Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008) Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd. Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Strong, W., Malina, R., Blimkie, C., Daniels, S., & Dishman, R. (2005) Evidence based physical activity for school-age youth. The Journal of Pediatics, 146(6), 732-737.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Keep the drive alive

WHAT: Ben insists that him and his friend Jack need to start working out. They hired Rudy, a personal trainer, to give them assistance in monitoring them and putting them in the right direction of training. The first two months of their training have been going great. Ben and Jack have been making great progress and showing amazing results. They weight train at least five times a week and are staying true to their program. Jack suggests to Ben that they should join group aerobic workouts to switch things up and add to their weight-training program only. Ben only wants to weight train and doesn’t take Jack’s suggestion into consideration. Rudy notices that Jack doesn’t seem to have the drive that he did when he started his training regimen and that his progress has seemed to plateau. Jack struggles to stay motivated to workout and push himself.  His main issue is that he lacks intrinsic motivation and has no choice of his exercise. Since Ben insists that they only weight train, Jack is becoming uninterested and needs to switch it up to keep his drive alive.

SO WHAT: After analyzing Jack’s current situation, it is not hard to distinguish that he has lost interest in weight training and wants to try new exercise programs. Even though he had great drive at the beginning of his training regimen, which he received great results, he has lost it that same drive.  His partner does not show the same signs as Jack and wants to keep continuing the weight-training program only. Understanding motivation requires consideration of individual differences and situational factors (Gill &Williams, 2008). Jack’s motivation has changed and his performance is being affected by it. Jack lacks intrinsic motivation; he no longer sees weight training as desirable and has lost interest. He has shown great progress with weight training but his results started to plateau, making it hard to keep that drive to succeed. According to the cognitive evaluation theory, intrinsic motivation requires being competent along with two conditions. First, the task must be interesting and challenging, the second, the participant must have choice in the activity (Gill &Williams, 2008). Ben is staying motivated because he chose weight training and wants stick with it, on the other hand, Jack wants to try something new to challenge himself and see progression once again. The self-determination theory states that the degree to which one’s needs are satisfied is related to self-determined behavior via motivation reflected on a continuum ranging from amotivation to extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation (Gill & William, 2008). This shows that if Jack is satisfied with a new exercise program his intrinsic motivation will increase as well and stay motivated. 

NOW WHAT: My advice for Rudy would be to sit Jack down and ask him what exercise program he would like to be doing instead of weight training or to add on to weight training. Rudy needs to determine what Jack can do to add self-determination to his workouts. This could be to let him chose what exercise program he wants to do. Even though Ben only wants to weight train, Rudy could tell Ben that he needs to switch it up a little bit and do something with Jack. They could split their weekly workouts up with doing half the workouts with what Ben wants to do and half the workouts what Jack wants to do.  Jack needs something new so that he can regain interest and motivation. Research has shown that when competence, autonomy and relatedness are satisfied, it enhances self-motivation and mental health (ARTICLE).  Rudy can also tell Ben the consequences of not switching things up for Jack could mean him not coming to workout at all, which mean Ben will not have a workout partner anymore and that he might stop working because of that. Ben could possibly enjoy a different workout program and want to keep trying new things to keep both him and Jack’s drive alive. I would also advise Rudy that it took Jack only two months to become bored with weight training. This means he needs to keep a close eye on Jack to notice the same type of trends he displayed when he was unhappy. If it starts to occur again it is necessary to change it up again to give Jack something new to grow interest in. If Rudy doesn’t want to wait for this type of motivational change in Jack he can insist on changing programs every six weeks to eliminate the loss of motivation.

Conclusion: In conclusion, Jack is having a hard time keeping interested and motivated with his current exercise program. His workout partner, Ben, shouldn’t hold Jack back from entering a new and challenging exercise program. Allowing Jack to chose an exercise program to start doing or to add to his current weight training program is crucial. He needs a new sense of interest and a new challenge to pursue. After talking with Ben, hopefully he will join Jack so that they can remain workout partners. Having a workout partner can be a great extrinsic motivator. With a new exercise program Jack’s intrinsic motivation will be increased allowing him to push himself towards a new challenge. 


Deci, E., & Ryan, R., (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. The American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.

Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to get motivated

WHAT: As a former collegiate athlete, working out was a big part of the sport I competed in. Offseason workouts consisted of around seven months of vigorous training. After my college career ended, working out regularly has been a hard task to accomplish. Becoming motivated to workout and continuing to workout has been my main issue. There was no reinforcement implemented by a coach or teammates anymore. There are no goals already set for me, it is just whatever I want to accomplish with no one to impress but myself. There are days where I would normally workout but would just blow it off because I’m tired, sore, or have other tasks that I need to get done for school or etc. Sometimes after missing a workout it is very easy to miss the next one because I say to myself, “I didn’t work out yesterday so I can miss this day as well,” then it could turn into “I’ll just start fresh next week.” After noticing my schedule for the rest of the semester is starting to become more hectic, it will be harder to keep motivated to get my workouts in. I am too easy to put off my workouts for other tasks that could have been done earlier or at a different time and lack motivation for my workouts.

SO WHAT: After self-analyzing my situation, I determined that becoming motivated and the lack of reinforcement are my major problems. Malott and Suarez describe reinforcement as any stimulus, event, or condition whose presentation immediately follows a response and increases the frequency of that response (Gill & Williams, 2008). While a college athlete, many goals were in place for my training and now I just have an overall goal of staying fit. I believe that I need to set new specific goals need to be determined to achieve more motivation. Exercisers who set process goals had significantly higher intrinsic motivation and adherence to the six-week exercise program than exercisers who set outcome goals or no goals (Wilson & Brookfield, 2009). Along with setting new detailed goals, I will implement a behavioral plan. I will be using Spieigler and Guevremont’s seven step behavior plan; (1) Clarify the problem, (2) formulate goals for the consultant, (3) design target behaviors, (4) identify the maintaining conditions of the target behavior, (5) design a treatment plan, (6) implement the plan, and (7) evaluate the success of the plan (Gill & Williams, 2008).

NOW WHAT: I first need to determine outcome goals for myself to achieve by the end of my training period. These goals will include; weight, body fat percentage, 1RM’s for certain exercises, maximal repetitions for certain exercises, and the length of cardio sessions. Now I will move on to my behavioral plan. The first step is to clarify the problem, which is to stay motivated even with my schedule and my state of fatigue. The second step is to formulate goals for my training program. I already set outcome goals for my training program, now I will set some specific ones for it. Considering I have problems working out after skipping a day, I think that I should set a goal of getting in four workouts per week. This will give me the flexibility of missing a day if I have to while still getting the work in to achieve my long-term goals. Another goal will be to encourage friends to work out so I have some extra motivation or the ability to motivate someone else. The third step is to design target behaviors. I will use one of my resistance training programs that will work best for me to keep me on track of getting the lifts and repetitions I need to accomplish my goals. Being able to check them off on paper will help me stay motivated and to get through the entire workout. I will also design a cardio program to follow the resistance training program. This will be tailored to reach my running goal I have set for myself. The fourth step is to identify the maintaining conditions of the target behavior. To maintain my target behavior I will use the ABC model presented by Gill and Williams (2008). If consequences are positive, the behavior is likely to occur again in the future. If I notice the positive changes in my physique are due to staying true to my workout program then I will be even more motivated to stick with it or push myself even more to accomplish my goals. The fifth step is to design a treatment plan. Reinforcement will be used in this step. This could include people giving compliments on the way I look, the way I feel by sticking with my workout plan or by treating myself to some personal rewards. The sixth step is implementing the plan. The workout period needs to be given a date and monitored by checking off all my exercises and cardio after it has been accomplished. The last step is to evaluate the success of the plan. This step will be accomplished if I reached my goals that I previously set prior to starting the workout.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, implementing goal setting and a behavioral plan can help give back the motivation I once had. Staying motivated to complete each workout will be a true test but it should be accomplishable with goals and the behavioral plan. Identifying my problem then create a written out plan to help change this will be a good way to stay self-regulated.


Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Wilson, K. , & Brookfield, D. (2009). Effect of goal setting on motivation and adherence in a six-week exercise program. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 7(1), 89.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't let your emotions get the best of you

What: At a camp for elite junior tennis players, a camper struggles with keeping his emotions under control during match play. With great athletic potential, this player is easy to show anger and anxiety with bad calls, personal errors and opponent moves.  He rides an emotional rollercoaster during play and this performance matches his emotions. His potential is far from reached, especially in late rounds of competition when it is its most crucial. When competition begins to get tough, he begins to crack under pressure. The main issue for this athlete is the ability to control his emotions. His emotional distress weakens his ability to perform to his potential during match play. Being able to control his emotions during a match will help improve his performance and his consistency.

SO WHAT:  My initial analysis of this athlete is that he is letting his emotions control his performance. He is letting his emotions get that best of him and his performance suffers due to his inability to cope with his emotions and stress.  According to Gill and Williams (2008), in competitive anxiety, physiological arousal typically is accompanied by cognitive worry, and increased cognitive worry is associated with lower self-confidence and poorer performance. His performance is based on his emotional state during play. He needs to be able to control these emotions and stress so that his performance is not affected. Gill and Williams (2008) provide emotional-control strategies, such as Lauer’s three R’s for anxiety control and performance enhancement on hockey players. Lauer’s three R’s can be applied to this tennis player’s problem as well. The three R’s stand for react, relax and refocus. When an athlete is quick to get angered or anxiety levels increase, Lauer suggests reacting to this negative stimulus. An athlete must realize this negative emotion is occurring and try not to let it control them. The athlete then must relax, which is the second R. They must calm down by using deep breathing or self-talk. The last R is refocus. The athlete must then refocus on the game or situation and not let this emotion hinder their performance.

NOW WHAT: First and foremost, a meeting with the athlete should be completed to discuss all his current emotional and anxiety state during play. Determining what thoughts are going through his head and how they make him feel when a bad call or a personal error is made are crucial in the process of helping this athlete. This will allow me to recognize his control issues and then decide how to specifically help this problem area of his game so that his emotions do not hinder his performance. Using Lauer’s three R’s will be the main strategy to help him control these negative emotions. First, he needs to be able to recognize this stress that occurs due to bad calls or personal errors. After recognizing these feelings of emotion he can notify himself of what is going on and to not let it affect his anxiety level. Being able to accomplish this step is crucial so that he knows what is going on in his body psychologically as well as physically. After determining these negative emotions have taken place, he then needs to proceed on to the second R, which is to relax. Relaxation strategies, such as breathing techniques and self-talk, will be given to him so that he can use either to be able to relax on command. The breathing technique will be to breathe slowly and deeply while counting to four (Gill & Willams, 2008). Deep breathing is a simple way to relax quickly with control ones heart rate. Self-talk strategies will also be implementing for relaxation. Positive self-talk may include “I hit the net with that serve but the next one will be an ace,” or “My opponent got that one by me but next time they will not.” Lastly, after he is calmed down using a relaxation strategy, he needs to refocus. He needs to refocus of the match he playing. Simple cue words or phrases can be used to help to get back in that game (e.g., “Focus on the ball,” “Ace this serve”). Once the athlete is refocused, he can return to the game without letting the emotion and stress effect his performance. Another strategy as a coach at camp will be to give positive reinforcement to the athlete as well as using Lauer’s three R’s. The “positive approach” appears to prevent or counteract stress produced by competitive demands as well as increases enjoyment of the activity at hand (Smith, Smoll, & Barnett, 1995). I think this state that the athlete needs to have fun as well in sports and not let emotions harm their performance. Having fun and a good attitude may prevent these emotions from entering the mind in the first place. As a coach, staying positive and not putting stress on the athlete will relieve the athlete from increasing their anxiety levels.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, our athlete is struggling with managing his emotions during play. His emotions are negatively affecting his performance and limiting his potential to be the best tennis player he can be. Using Lauer’s three R’s will help him keep his emotions under control. Being able to react to his negative emotions, relaxing instead of becoming more aroused and finally being able to refocus on his tennis game is his ultimate goal. The strategies of Lauer’s three R’s should help him fill in that gap in his tennis game in becoming a complete tennis player. Also as a coach, giving him positive support throughout practice and during match play should help him enjoy tennis more while not receiving more stress from an outside source. Staying positive will be his key to success.


Gil, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champain, IL: Human Kinetics

Smith, R., Smoll, F., & Barnett, N. (1995). Reduction of children’s sport performance anxiety through social support and stress-reduction training for coaches. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16(1), 125-142.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Mind Needs Exercise Too

WHAT: A volleyball player is rehabilitating an ACL injury post surgery. Doctors estimate that patient will not be able to practice or another 6 to 8 weeks.  During rehabilitation it is not as easy as it may seem to just do the physical work to return to pre-injury form. The athlete will struggle mentally equally as physically throughout the whole rehabilitation process to get back to being able to compete again. Many mental issues arise during the rehabilitation process. The athlete may ask themselves questions such as will I be able to return to the way I was before the injury, is the rehabilitation process worth playing again, or why haven’t I been making progress lately? To return to full recovery, the athlete does not only need to rehabilitate physically but mentally as well.

SO WHAT:  The athlete has 6 to 8 weeks of rehabilitation before she can return to practice.  Keeping this time frame in mind, increasing the rehab rate is the first goal so that the athlete can return to practice as soon as possible but she must be completely ready.  Psychological issues can have a significant impact of the quality of rehabilitation.  Studies have shown that goal setting, positive self-talk, and healing imagery are significant predictors of the duration of recovery among athletes who have suffered serious knee injuries (Taylor, and Taylor, 1997). Weinberg’s principles for goal-setting that can be used for this athlete are short term goals, ink it don’t think it, set realistic but challenging goals and set specific goals (Gill & Williams, 2008). Positive self-talk implemented during the rehabilitation process can help motivate the athlete to stay positive and to keep working towards goals. If a person is ever doubting themselves negative thoughts may occur and self-talk can stop this and change these thoughts into positive ones (Gill & Williams, 2008). During the rehab process many obstacles will occur and negative thoughts will occur so self-talk will help stop that negative thought process and focus more on positive thoughts that will help accomplish goals. Performance imagery enables athletes to work on techniques, tactics, mental preparation, and competitive performance during the course of rehabilitation (Taylor, and Taylor, 1997).  Imagining goals or specific exercises that an athlete is trying to achieve will help prepare the athlete before they attempt them.

NOW WHAT:  As the athletic trainer, I will discuss with the athlete what her thoughts are about her rehabilitation and what she wants accomplished before she returns to practice. After pointing out what her insecurities about her rehab, goals need to be set to get her where she needs to be mentally and physically to return to practice. Since the rehabilitation period is short, short-term goals will be administered to provide feedback on her progress. Her goals need to be realistic but also challenging since she wants to get back to practice as soon as possible. Specific goals need to be set that tender to her rehabilitation process so it can individualize to her return to practice. All of these goals should be wrote out so they can be checked off to give her a sense of accomplishment and the motivation to tackle the next goal. If she ever doubts herself or negative thoughts occur, self-talk strategies will be implemented to stop this process. Thoughts such as “I’m never going to return to practice” or “I’m never going to play the way I used to” can be stopped and changed into thoughts such as “I’m making great progress on my rehabilitation” and “I’ll be able to start practicing soon enough with all this hard work.” Lastly, using imagery can be used to help her mentally through the rehabilitation process.  Even though she may not be able to do certain exercises or movements with her injured leg, imaging that she can and the sensation of what if feels like to do that will help her be prepared once she is able to do those movements.  By imaging that she can do certain movements she will be more confident do accomplish those movements than not imaging them. When she is able to return to practice, she must keep using goal setting, self-talk and imagery. She needs to set new goals once being able to practice to getting to be able to compete again. Using self-talk and imagery will help accomplish the new goals she has set.

Conclusion:   An athlete going through sport injury rehabilitation is equally as much mental preparation as physical preparation.  The athlete has 6 to 8 weeks of rehabilitation before she can return to practice. Her cognitive thoughts need to be brought out to help in the rehabilitation process to get her to return to full recovery.  After determining her thoughts and feeling, goals will be set to aid in the rehabilitation process. Once short-termed goals are achieved, it will provide a sense of accomplishment and will motivate her to attack the next goal. Self-talk will be used to aid in accomplishing goals. Self-talk can stop negative thoughts and help get through obstacles she may be having throughout the rehabilitation process. Imagery will help prepare the athlete to visualize herself doing movements that she used to or movements that she will have to do once she returns to practice. Once able to return to practice, these tools will still be used until she can return to competition.


Taylor, J., & Taylor, S. (1997).  Psychological approaches to sport injury rehabilitation.      Gaithersburg, Maryland: Aspen Publisher, INC.

Gil, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champain, IL: Human Kinetics

Monday, September 13, 2010

Road to Recovery

WHAT:  A former collegiate athlete, Jordan, finds out that her health status isn’t the best. Her cholesterol and blood pressure are on the rise. She is given the ultimatum from her doctor to increase her physical activity levels or she will be put on medication to control her health problems. Jordan doesn’t know how she let herself get to this state of bad health and thinks it is not possible to get back to the way she was when she was in college. The challenge is simply not only to start working out, but to dig deeper than that and try to increase her self-worth. Her self-perception of herself is very low. Jordan needs to boost her self-efficacy so that she is competent to accomplish her goals to become healthy once again and regain her self-esteem.

SO WHAT: Jordan clearly shows issues of self-efficacy and self-confidence with regaining physical activity she once had.  Bandura states that self-efficacy predicts actual performance when necessary skills and appropriate incentives are present (Gill & Williams, 2008).  With Jordan’s case, incentives are present with trying to avoid getting on medications but with low self-efficacy, performance will be negatively affected. For Jordan to achieve her physical activity goals and to desire to work towards them, she needs to be able to raise her self-perception. Self-perception is people’s attitudes and feelings about their abilities in a particular domain (Gill & Williams, 2008).  Jordan is disappointed that she even let herself get this way and doubts herself in being able to get back to the same physically active person she once was as a college athlete.

 NOW WHAT: As Jordan’s personal trainer, the first thing to do is to state to Jordan where her current physical activity status is and how to go about increasing that and confronting her that that her self-worth is low needs to be increased as well. These two areas positively correlate with one another. Gill explains that efficacy can be developed through six different ways and one of them is verbal persuasion.  As Jordan’s personal trainer, I will incorporate verbal persuasion during her workouts. Jordan will be given positive motivation such as, “You can do it; I know you have it in you to get back to the way you use to be.” This type of motivation will raise her self-efficacy and in turn increase her performance. Self-talk will also be used as a way to enhance performance (Tod, Thatcher, McGuigan, & Thatcher, 2009). Self-talk cues will also be given to her to say to herself when she thinks she may be struggling or not able to complete a workout.  Another way to develop efficacy will be vicarious experiences. Vicarious experiences are known as watching another person perform a skill. As the personal trainer, demonstrations will be presented to Jordan of every weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise so she knows exactly what to do so that she feels she is doing it right. Giving her confidence of completing an exercise will help build her self-efficacy.  These types of efficacy developers will help Jordan in a sense of increasing her self-perception in turn enhance her ability to perform her workouts. By increasing both of these areas, Jordan will have reached her goal of lowering her cholesterol and blood pressure as well as feeling better about herself.

CONCLUSION: After evaluating Jordan’s problem, her physical activity level was not the biggest issue. Her self-perception was poor and needed to be changed to increase her level of fitness. These two areas go hand in hand with one another. If one has a high self-efficacy then they will have a high level of physical activity. Without raising Jordan’s self-perception, increasing her physical activity would be very difficult.  By increasing her self-perception she will be able to get more out of workouts, which will make her feel better about herself. The better Jordan feels about herself and her achievements through physical activity she will desire to keep working to get back to her college self. If Jordan sticks to the plan then her goals should be more reasonable than she ever thought before she started.

Gil, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champain, IL: Human Kinetics

Tod, D., Thatcher, R., McGuigan, M., & Thatcher, J. (2009). Effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on the vertical jump. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(1), 196-202