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«Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh Developing the Potential of Young People ...»

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Interestingly, and very positively for educationalists, current research highlights that the same psycho-behaviours are consistently found to underpin achievement whatever area of challenge is examined, be it sport, music, business, being a top surgeon, or ballet.

Therefore the psycho-behavioural curriculum suggests a series of practical exercises that will help promote the behaviours that underpin successful development and performance of children in sport. The successful completion of these exercises alongside the DPYPS psychomotor curriculum should encourage and facilitate children to strive towards achieving their potential. Consideration is also given to how these skills can be employed in non-sport settings to facilitate the journey towards achieving potential within other contexts (e.g., academia, music).

4.1.4 The Content of the Psycho-behavioural Resources As highlighted within Figure 4.2, the psycho-behavioural curriculum provides resources for

the promotion of a range of behaviours across three levels of development:

• Level One: Realisation of Competence and Self-Reinforcement

• Level Two: Begin to Take Responsibility for Own Development

• Level Three: Aspiring to Excellence: Autonomous Development Achieved Level One: Realisation of Competence and Self-Reinforcement The psycho-behavioural resources at Level One focus on the development and employment of five factors that help children realistically evaluate their level of

competence and to begin to self-reinforce their progress:

• Self-awareness

• Performance Evaluation

• Goal Setting

• Imagery, and

• Focus and Distraction Control Delivery of the Level One curriculum will ideally occur at either Primary 6 or Primary 7 but can be employed with older age groups if the children show limited development of these five fundamental behaviours.

–  –  –

Figure 4.2: The range of psycho-behaviours promoted across three levels of development within the DPYPS programme.

Level Two: Taking Responsibility for Own Development Level Two further develops the behaviours acquired at Level One. Due to the interrelated nature of the behaviours, tasks often promote two or more of the concepts at the same time. The aim of Level Two is to encourage the child to begin to take

responsibility for their own development. The psycho-behaviours promoted are:

• Self Awareness

• Self-Reinforcement

• Goal Setting

• Performance Evaluation

• Imagery

• Planning, and

• Commitment Level Two tasks are most likely to be used with those children who have successfully completed Level One tasks. However, children who progress quickly when initially introduced to psycho-behaviours (Level One) could be presented with some of the more complex Level Two activities.

Level Three: Aspiring to Excellence: Autonomous Development Achieved

At Level Three, consideration is given to how we can provide children who are training within specific sports with the best chance of becoming successful elite athletes one day. In general, this level aims to promote a coherent system for producing successful senior athletes. It is a long, hard process to develop the skills to enable someone to get

into a position to progress and succeed when the opportunities come. For example:

getting into the school team, then the county team, then regional team, then national team, then to get into a position to give yourself a chance to succeed at the top level (e.g., to win the Ryder Cup or score the winning penalty in the world cup final). In addition to this, athletes need to be able to cope with the inevitable ups and downs, the injuries, bad luck, the media, educational/work pressures and other uncontrollable factors that will inevitably happen along the way, and still be able to put in the many hours of practice that are required to develop into a successful elite athlete. That is where we believe the effective application of psycho-behaviours are so important. Of course, psycho-behaviours are also important factors for ensuring that someone can consistently perform to the best of their ability, at any level. Due to the importance of these skills for both development and performance, we argue, inferring from current research, that it is a lack of consistent, coherent emphasis of mental skills from an early stage that is a major stumbling block for the development of talent in our country.

Consequently, the workbook, containing a series of practical ideas to help guide the thinking of coaches and also drawing on their knowledge and experience, helped to produce some practical solutions to promoting the desired application of psychobehaviours within a specific sport. The workbook therefore is not only designed to guide individual coach thinking but, importantly, aims to provide a foundation upon which a more consistent and coherent coaching system can be provided to athletes throughout their career. The aim is to bring together as many ‘coaching brains’ as possible into the same line of thinking, with the same style of structure in mind. The workbook is NOT designed to provide a magical and new solution to coaching but it aims to provide a common understanding of talent development and therefore A coherent process by which coaches, at any level, can work to ensure a common method of effectively recognising and developing talent.

Therefore, Level Three contains a series of activities that enables a coach to identify and promote the optimal application of a range of psycho-behaviours within a sport specific context (e.g., netball, football). The seven behaviours promoted at level three


• Goal Setting and Committing to Goals

• Performance Evaluation and Self-Reinforcement

• Imagery

• Planning

• Focus and Distraction Control

• Perceptions of Pressure

• Quality, Goal Directed, Team and Individual Practice.

What are the Specific Objectives of the Psycho-behavioural Activities at Level One?

The Level One psycho-behavioural resource provides a range of activities designed to promote specific elements of each of five behaviours being promoted.

Self Awareness At Level One, the self awareness section emphasises the value of the student as an

individual. The following learning objectives are introduced:

• To recognise that everyone, including themselves, has special strengths.

• To recognise that it is okay to have different feelings.

• To recognise that strengths at one task may be weaknesses at another.

• To recognise that a person’s achievement may be perceived differently by different people.

Performance Evaluation At Level One, the performance evaluation section shows children that the way in which they react to their performances in achievement settings is an important part of sport involvement.

The following learning objectives are introduced:

• To encourage children to realise that different people react differently in achievement settings.

• To encourage children to think about how they react to their own achievements and how this influences their feelings and behaviour.

• To encourage children to develop an awareness of context – that the same outcome may be perceived differently under different circumstances.

Goal Setting At Level One, the goal setting section promotes the use of goals and shows how children can employ them to influence positively their development and performance. The following

learning objectives are introduced:

• To help children understand the role of goals.

• To use goals as stepping stones in order to monitor progress.

Imagery At Level One, the imagery section presents practical tasks that promote the use of imagery and highlights how imagery, if used alongside practice, can help build confidence and

improve performance. The following learning objectives are introduced:

• To understand the concept of imagery.

• To learn how to image successfully.

• To use imagery to improve confidence and performance.

Focus and Distraction Control At Level One, the focus and distraction control section presents practical tasks that emphasise the importance of attending to relevant cues. The following learning objective is


To facilitate a child’s ability to recognise which cues should be attended to in different situations What are the Specific Objectives of the Psycho-behavioural Activities at Level Two?

As highlighted earlier, many of the psycho-behaviours that are promoted within the DPYPS programme are strongly interrelated. For instance, if an individual is unable to evaluate realistically a performance and the factors that contributed to a performance, they are unlikely to set themselves realistic goals. Consequently, many of the activities introduced at Level Two recognise this interaction and promote objectives that underpin

the effective employment of more than one of the psycho-behaviours as shown below:

Self Awareness and Self-Reinforcement At Level Two, self awareness and self-reinforcement concepts are linked. The following

learning objectives are introduced:

• People may usefully be selected, based on their particular blend of (strengths and weaknesses) characteristics.

• Different emotions are okay... Irrationally positive or negative emotions are not.

• Getting really good at something involves strengthening strengths but often also strengthening or even eliminating weaknesses.

Goal Setting and Performance Evaluation At Level Two, the goal setting section encourages children to use mental, physical and technical goals and to use these both to increase commitment and to facilitate the evaluation

process. The following learning objectives are introduced:

• To use three levels of goals to evaluate progress.

• Different emotions are okay... Irrationally positive or negative emotions are not.

• What impact do ‘others’ and ‘you’ have on how you feel about a performance.

Imagery At Level Two, the imagery begins by providing activities that show the importance of priming imagery before progressing to consider how imagery can positively facilitate both cognitive

and motor imagery. The following learning objectives are introduced:

• To understand the importance of priming imagery.

• How effective is your visual imagery?

• How effective is your movement imagery?

• Using imagery to help you remember a verbal and a motor task.

Planning and Commitment At Level Two, the planning and commitment section begins by highlighting that the rate of improvement that an individual will achieve in a given area is likely to decline with progress and the importance of allowing for these ‘decreasing returns’ when setting goals. Activities then go on to highlight the importance of placing an appropriate emphasis on the range of factors that are likely to affect performance if maximum progress is to be achieved. The

following learning objectives are introduced:

• To understand the likelihood of decreasing returns when planning goals.

• To recognise that a range of elements impact performance.

• Developing commitment by placing an appropriate emphasis on the factors that impact performance.

What are the Specific Objectives of the Psycho-behavioural Activities at Level Three?

Currently, there appears to be an inadequate focus on the effective employment of psycho-behaviours within TID programmes. Therefore the aim of the workbook at Level Three is to cash in on the existing knowledge and experience of UK coaches, plus findings from our ongoing research programmes, in order to develop a more systematic and coherent way of incorporating psycho-behaviours into coaching and TID programmes. This workbook, in conjunction with subsequent workshops with a broad

range of coaches, aims to provide several benefits:

• Giving coaches the knowledge to be able to be independent and creative in the development and effective application of psycho-behaviours by athletes in their sport.

• Provide less experienced coaches with insight into effective coaching through discussion between top coaches.

• Help athletes in the short and long term by providing coherent integration of mental skills through the coaching practice.

• Emphasise a focus on individual development as opposed to team or short term success.

4.1.5 Resources Provided to Deliverers

Deliverers of the DPYPS programme are provided with relevant packs of resources and attend an in-service training programme. Level One deliverers (primary school teachers) and Level Two deliverers (secondary school teachers) are provided with a manual and a Level One and Level Two psychomotor and psycho-behavioural resource pack. It is important to highlight that the manual, whilst it provides some information to help in running the DPYPS programme, is designed to be used in conjunction with thorough inservice training in order for the programme to achieve its aims. Included in the psychobehavioural packs are work cards for the teacher providing details of objectives and activities and accompanying worksheets for the children. The psychomotor activities are detailed on work cards aimed at the teacher. Coaches are provided with a workbook that enables them to identify (a) the method by which they would like the key psychobehaviours to be employed within their sport and (b) systems and behaviours they can adopt in order to promote this use.

4.1.6 Location of the Materials Against Other Resources Available Once again, to facilitate context and offer a basis for comparison, we offer a brief description of other resources parallel to those within DPYPS.

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