Exercise & Sports Psychology. Dave Herlihy & Joe Mills. Exercise and Sports Psychology. The relationship between mind & body has been known for centuries. Ancient Greeks believed exercise was an important component of both physical and mental health.
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Self – Efficacy
The conviction or belief an individual has that he/she can carry out a course of action to achieve a particular outcome
Attention is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seems several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others.
Attention is an instrumental part of successful performance, but is not easily studied because there is no uniform method for studying it.
Arousal typically has its greatest effects on attention through its effect on the breadth of attention.
As arousal increases, what happens to the breadth of an individual’s attentional field? Does it seem to NARROW or widen?
The attentional field narrows
Positive effect- when arousal increases from low to moderate levels the attention field in narrowed, which usually enhances performance, because the narrowing of attention eliminates unnecessary or irrelevant stimuli from the attentional field.
Negative effect-as arousal continues to increase, attention is narrowed even further, potentially allowing the athlete to miss important, relevant environmental and situational cues.
One of the most profound ways used for behavioral measures of attention is a paradigm referred to as a dual-task paradigm.
As the names implies, two tasks compete for the subject’s attention.
The rationale for the dual-task paradigm is that, if the primary task requires a sizeable amount of the total attentional capacity, only a minimal amount can be allocated to a secondary task.
So if attention is maintained on the primary task, there should be a performance decrement on the secondary task.
Although the dual-task technique has been used in sports, and can reveal a good deal about an athlete’s information processing, it does little to tell about attention processes in real sports situations.
It is also questionable whether there is actually a limit to attentional capacity, the assumption of which underlies the dual-task technique.
Another way to think about attention draws from an individual difference approach, or attention style.
The major assessment strategy in this context is self-report, usually via questionnaire.
As attention is directed toward the environment, heart rate slows down in an attempt to capture relevant cues from the situation.
When that attention is directed internally, heart rate speeds up in an effort to reject these situational cues.
The left hemisphere has traditionally been thought of as the site of logical, analytical, sequential thought processing, where as the right hemisphere has been thought of as the site of creative, free-flowing, parallel thought processing.
The activities in these hemispheres are measured by an EEG.
What does EEG stand for?
EEG stands for electroencephalogram, which is a recording, from the scalp, of electrical potentials occurring in the brain.
These EEG’s have shown that highly skilled athletes have the ability to reduce the mental activity in the left hemisphere, which in turn, makes the right hemisphere more dominant. By doing so, these athletes reduce distracting thoughts that could negatively affect performance.
Regular exercise (chronic exercise) has been shown to reduce levels of anxiety and depression.
These effects hold true for individuals suffering from mild to moderate levels of anxiety and depression and for those who have normal levels of anxiety and depression.
Both aerobic and anaerobic forms of exercise reduce depression.
Which of these forms of exercise also works to alleviate anxiety?
This entails examining how varying doses of exercise, in terms of intensity, duration, and frequency, affect psychological status.
5 to 20 minutes at 60% of max HR or VO2max
The more an individual exercises (chronic exercise), the less anxiety and depression that individual is likely to experience.
Exercise is effective in enhancing and improving positive psychological states.
One of the most consistently reported effects from exercise of even mild intensities has been an increase in feelings of energy.
Thayer 10 minute walk example