Sport psychology

  • Created by: Ellie7810
  • Created on: 28-05-17 15:13

What is an attitude

a complex mix of feelings, beliefs and values that predisposes somebody to behave towards an attitude object in a certain way. 

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What components are attitudes made of?

Cognitive component - what we know and believe 

Affective component - how we feel

behavioural component - how we act or intend to act

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How are attitudes formed?

Peer grous 

friendship groups and wider peer groups strongly influence an individual's attitudes. An acceptance of the group's attitudes is a way of gaining membership and gaining sense of identity. 


rewards will strengthne existing attitudes 

social learning 

copying attitudes from significant others


the more a person expereinces an attitude object, the more likely they are to develop a positive attitude towards it 

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Can attitudes help predict behaviour?

Behaviour does not always follow feelings 

other factors affect behaviour

specific attitudes predict specific behaviours

especially if situational factors are favourable 

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How can we change attitudes?

persuasive communication and cognitive dissonance 

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What is persuasive communication? When is it effec

An active, non-coercive attempt to reinforce, modify or change the attitude of others


-status in the eyes of the person to whom they are communicating with 

-their popularity, background, credibility 


-accuracy, confidence and enthusiasm, cleear


-are they ready, are they motivated to change, how strongly held is their current attitude 

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What is cognitive dissonance? How is it done?

Tension resulting from having contradicoty thoughts or beliefs about an attitude object

-individuals like to be consisten in what they do, feel and believe. if they do something that goes against their beliefs, or if they encounter new knowledge or feelings that are different to their curent attidue, they feel dissonance ( a lack of consistency). this makes them uncomfortae and individuals are motivated to reduce the discomfort by changing their existing attitude or belief by acuiring new ones

cognitve - give new information/education

affective - create new emotions and enjoyment

behavioural - give success/reinforcement 

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other strategies to change attitudes

  • ensure positive, successful experiences
  • praise positive attitudes
  • punish negative attitudes or prejudice
  • use positive role models in the media to highlight positive attitudes
  • merge groups so that individuals work together across gender/age 
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What are attributions?

attribution theory describes how indiviudals explain their behaviour i.e. offering reasons for winning or losing 

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How can you attribute performance?

locus of causality

intenral/external factors that a performer believes caused an outcome 

Stability dimension

the stable/unstable factors that a performer believes caused an event or outcome

internal-stable --> ability 

internal unstable --> effort

external stable --> task difficulty 

external unstable --> lack 

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what is self-serving bias?

a tendency to attribute success to internal factors and lossess or falures o external factors in order to protect our self-esteem 

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What is learned helplessness? characteristics?

an acquired state that occurs when a performer believs that failure is inevitbale and that they have no way of changign that outcome. 

occurs whn performers attribute failure internally to stable reasosns. 

  • believe they have limited ability 
  • focuses on outcome goals rather than process goals 
  • performer is unwiling to try new skills or situations, believe that the skills wont work or that they cannot do it
  • attribute performance to stable, uncontrollable factors
  • do not believe the things they have control over will make any difference
  • can be global, specific (a skill) or a single sport
  • lack task persistemce
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What is attribution retraining?

methods of helping the performer to change they way that the explain the cause of success and failure

  • create a self-serving bias
  • success to internal stable factors i.e. ability 
  • success to internal unstable factors i.e. effort
  • attribute failure to internal unstable factors i.e. effort
  • attribute failure to external stable factors i.e. task difficulty
  • attribute failure to external unstable factors i.e. luck 
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Strategies to avoid learned helplessness?

  • develop self-efficacy 
  • attribiution retraining
  • avoid social comparisons 
  • goal setting 
  • mental rehearsal 
  • provide opportunties for success
  • positive feedback
  • one-to-one attention 
  • observe demonstrations by other of similar abilities 
  • postive self talk 
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What is self-efficacy?

situation specific self-confidence - the belief that you can cope with the demands of the task

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What factors influence self-efficacy? (according t

  • performance accomplishments (past success and achievements)
  • verbal persuation (encouragment form significant others)
  • vicarious experience (watching others of a similar standard and background then immeditaley performing the task)
  • emotional arousal (controlling arousal and interpreting it in a posiitve way)
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How does self-efficacy lead to better performance?

increases positive attitude 

increases motivation 

reduces Naf 

reduces anxiety 

enhances feeling of well-being 

reach optimal level of arousal 

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What is social facilitation? when does it occur?

performance improves with the presence of an audience

  • expert used to performing in front of audiences 
  • gross skill that doesn't require precision or accuracy 
  • performing a simple skill, limited decision making or information processing
  • extrovert - presence of an audience is an opporunity to show off
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What is social inhibition?

Performance worsens with the presence of an audience 

  • novice - finds audience intimidating 
  • fine skill - difficult to maintain at high arousal 
  • complex skill - requires good decision making and information processing
  • introvert - dislikes social situations 
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What are passive and interactive others?

Passive others - do not interact with others but have an effect simply by being present

  • the audience - people wathcing your perform - mere presence can make you anxiou an affect your game
  • co-actors - perform the same task at the same time byt do not compete agaisnt you 

Interactive others - communicate and directly influence the performer

  • competitive co-actors - the opposition
  • supporters - thr crowd i.e spectators 
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How does the audience affect performance?

Zajonc linked the presence of others to Hull's drive theory. the presense of others results in an increase in drive or arousal level. this increases the chance of the habit being strengthened and affecting performance. When the correct response is dominant, increases drive beneftis performance. when the incorrect tendencies are dominant, increased drive hinders performers. worse if they percieve they are being watched and judged

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What is evaluation apprehension?

a sense of anxiety caused by  performer's thinking that their performance is being watched and judged by somebody 

  • causes the performer to revert to dominant response
  • a knowledgable audience 
  • presence of significant others such as parents
  • how supportive/abusive the audience are
  • levels of trait anxiety 
  • low-self-efficacy 
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What is Baron's distraction-conflict theory?

  • audience takes up much of what little attentioanl capacity we have
  • 'distracters' can come from external soruces such as the crowd or internal sources such as negative thoughts
  • paying attention to both the task and the distractors causes a physiological conflict, which increases arousal
  • leads to social faciliation or inhibiton depending on task and performer 
  • we may have sufficient attnetion left to cope with a simple task, but a complex task requires much more attention and, as the presence of an audience creates addtional competing demands on our attentionm which in turn increases arousal, performance is therefore affected 
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Does home field advantage have a positive effect o


  • lower levels of anxiety 
  • home teams play more attacking play 
  • closeness of crowd has a negative effect on visiting teams 
  • hostile crowd had a negative effect on visiting teams 
  • away teams have higher arousal due to crowd and unfamilar surroundings


  • increased pressure from home crowd
  • most important the game, the higher the pressure
  • more self-conscious leading to over-aroual
  • social inhibition for home team
  • evaluation apprehension causing social inhibiton
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Does home field advantage have a positive effect o


  • lower levels of anxiety 
  • home teams play more attacking play 
  • closeness of crowd has a negative effect on visiting teams 
  • hostile crowd had a negative effect on visiting teams 
  • away teams have higher arousal due to crowd and unfamilar surroundings


  • increased pressure from home crowd
  • most important the game, the higher the pressure
  • more self-conscious leading to over-aroual
  • social inhibition for home team
  • evaluation apprehension causing social inhibiton
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Strategies to combat social inhibition?

  • familiarisation training
  • learn the skill in the absence of audience but then gradually introduce an audience
  • visualise performing the skill in front of an audience
  • increase self-efficacy (performance accomplishments, vicarious experiences or verbal persuasion
  • practice skills until they are grooved and become dominant response
  • improve selective attention
  • mental rehearsal  / imagery / positive self-talk / negative thought stopping
  • decrease task importance
  • set goals
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What is aggression? types of aggression?

aggressive behaviour - any behaviour that harms another human being, behaviour that is intentional and outside the laws or rules of the game

Instrumental aggression - when an individual wants to gain an advanage over the opposition, anger is not involved, and the person has no intent to harm another person

Channelled aggression - feelings of aggression that are diverted into useful, positive actions 

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What is assertion?

the use of physical force that is within the rules and ethics of a sport and is therefore legitimate 

-no intention to harm

-strictly within the rules

-robust but functional play 

-focused on completing the skill successfuly 

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What is the instinct theory?

  • aggressive behaviour inherited
  • aggression builds up within us 
  • we require a positive outlet to release it
  • catharsis - the realse of pent-up emotions or feelings of aggression through harmless channels such as the physical and emotional activity of sport
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What is the frustration-aggression hypothesis?

  • aggressive behaviour always presupposes the existence of frustration
  • the exisence of frustration always leads to some form of aggression
  • Performer tries to acheive goal 
  • opposiion blocks this
  • leads to frustration
  • frustration leads to aggression
  • aggression is cathartic 
  • aggressive cues increase the likelihood of aggression
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What is the social learning theory for aggression?

  • agressive behaviours are learned
  • non-aggressive behaviours can also be learned 
  • through observation
  • pbservation of relaistic events more likely to affect learning
  • observation of role models/ significant tohers
  • imitation more likely if learner thinks behaviour will be reinforced
  • or thinks it will not be punished 
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How can a referee control aggression?

  • talk to/pre-warn players
  • apply rules properly 
  • be consistent in judgements/sanctions 
  • punish aggressive behaviiur
  • immediate sanctions 
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Strategies to control aggression?

  • punish aggressive play 
  • withdraw violent players from situation 
  • stress performance rather than outcome 
  • emphasise non-aggressive role models 
  • cognitve strategies
  • use peer pressure to remind players aggression is unaccetab;e 
  • lower arousal levels 
  • praise assertive play 
  • ensure their own behaviour is not aggressive 
  • give the performer respinsibility within the tarm 
  • take immediate action is aggression is shown 
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What is a group? characteristics?

A group involves 2 or more people who are interacting with each other in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by the other. 

  • Interact with each other
  • share a common goal 
  • have mutual awareness
  • have a collective identity 
  • shared norms/values 
  • structured methods of communication 
  • task cohesion 
  • social cohesion
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What are the stages of group formation?


  • getting to know each other - find your place and estbalish early roles


  • stage of conflcit - trying to estblaish roles and status - confrontations 


  • become cooperative - conflcits resolved 


  • primary aim is group succes - group stabilised 
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What are group dynamics?

the study of the interactive processes that occur between people in a group. include:

  • norms 
  • roles that individuals play
  • relationships between individuals 
  • how the group develops
  • the need to belong to the grouo
  • social influences on each other
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What is Steiner's model of group performance?

actual productivity = potential productivity - losses due to faulty processes 

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What are faulty processes?

coordination and motivvation problems 

social loafing - performer hides within a team 

Ringlemann effect - performance decreases as group size increases

lack of team work 

lack of understanding of roles

lack of understanding of tactics

fail to communicate properly 

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What causes social loading?

  • no clear role 
  • effort is going unnotices
  • low self-efficacy 
  • learned helplessness
  • teammates not trying so they do the same
  • poor leadershi 
  • state or trait anxiety 
  • injury 
  • social inhibtion 
  • task lacks meaning 
  • sub groups formed
  • lack of fitness
  • rely on others
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What causes social loading?

  • no clear role 
  • effort is going unnotices
  • low self-efficacy 
  • learned helplessness
  • teammates not trying so they do the same
  • poor leadershi 
  • state or trait anxiety 
  • injury 
  • social inhibtion 
  • task lacks meaning 
  • sub groups formed
  • lack of fitness
  • rely on others
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How does the size and structure affect cohesivenes

  • the larger the group, the greater the productivity
  • but group can get too large 
  • leads to sub-group
  • and loss of productivity 
  • ringleman effect
  • social loafing 
  • reduction in motivation 
  • cohesion is better if they have a similar status 
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What is cohesion? Types of cohesion?

  • cohesion is the ability of the group to achieve a common goal, the dynamic forces that cause a team to stick together

task cohesion

  • found in a group that is bound together in a drive to achieve a common objective, a focus on the task

Social cohesion

  • found in a group that is bound together by social bounds, social attractivness and relationships, the ability for the group to relate well to each other 
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What are Carron's antecedents?

four factors that affect task and social cohesion

personal factors

  • ability, motivation, satisfaction, similarity of group

environmental factors

  • size of group

leadership factors

  • style of leadership / relationship between leadership and group

team factors 

  • interactivess, stability of group members, role acceptance, success of group
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What is the trait theory? examples?

  • personality is innate 
  • consistent in all siutations and enduring
  • same behaviour in a variety of situations
  • behaviour is predictable


Eysenck's model 

  • extroversion and introversion 
  • stability and neurosis

Narrow band theory

  • type A or type B personality 
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what is the social learning theory?

  • personality is learned from experiences and interactions with the enviornemnt
  • learned from signficant others
  • learned by: observation - identify - reinforced copy 
  • reinforcement influences our behaviour 
  • behaviour changes from situation tosituation
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What is the interactionist theory? example?

  • personality depends on both our traits and the enviornment
  • behaviour = function (personality x environment) B=f(PXE)
  • changing environment changes behaviour
  • leads to stable behaviour in certain situations 
  • e.g. nornally calm, but becomes aggressive in sporting environemtn 

Hollander's model 

  • concentric ring theory 
  • personality is a layered structure 
  • psychological core: fairly permanent, unlikely to change, made up of the ral you, incluces beliefs valies and attitudes
  • typical responses: shows our ural responses to situations
  • role-related behaviour: most changeable aspect of our personality, our behaviour will vary depending on how we feel and the situation we are in 
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can personality be used to predict performance?


  • credulous approach 
  • personality traits linked to specifc types of sport
  • used as part of telent identification programme
  • iceberg progile - linked to high levels of vigour


  • sceptical approach
  • no clear link between success and personality type
  • research contradcits each other
  • personality changes in different situations
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What is the profile of mood states?

  • a way of measuring the moods of those who participate in sport
  • also known as icerberg profgile
  • 6 measures
  • tension, depression, anger, vigour, fatigue, confusion
  • successful athletes higher in anger and vigour and lower in other measures
  • unsuccessful athletes tend to score approx equal
  • some elite performers do not have this profile/ some non-elite athletes display the profile 
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What is achievement motivation?

need to achieve (nach) of need to avoid failure (naf)

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Factors that affect achievement motivation?

  • achievement motivation = desire to success or feal of failure
  • interactionist appraoch 
  • personality - NACH or NAF
  • situation - probability of success
  • situation - incentive value of success
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Characteristics of NACH performers?

  • show approach behaviours 
  • seeks challenges 
  • will do extra training 
  • enjoys being evaluated 
  • not afraid to fail 
  • attributes performance to internal factors
  • task persisence
  • high confidence and self-efficacy 
  • likes performing in front of an audience 
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Characteristics of NAF performers?

  • shows avoidance behaviour 
  • avoids challening tasks 
  • avoids situations where success is uncertain 
  • performs worse when being evaluated
  • preoccupied with failure
  • attributes performance to external factors
  • lacks task persistence
  • does not value feedback 
  • low confidence and self-efficacy 
  • dislikes performing in front of an audience 
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How can a coach increase NACH?

  • Positive experience 
  • gradualy increase task difficulty 
  • goal setting 
  • reduce punishment
  • encourage risk taking 
  • increase confidence by using positie reinforcement
  • ensure that goals are achieveable 
  • ensure that tasks are challening
  • ensure that probaility of success is good
  • increase levels of self-efficacy 
  • ensure that the incentive value of success is high 
  • attrubute performance correctly
  • highlight successful role models who have comparable characteristics 
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What is the drive theory of arousal?

  • a theory of arousal that proposes a linear relationship between arousal and performance 
  • performance = habit x drive 
  • arousal elicits dominant response
  • beginner - negative effect because of low skill levels 
  • dominant response not fully developed 
  • impairment effect more likely on a complex task
  • negative effect enhanced if thought to be judged 
  • expert - positive effect because of high skill levels
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What is the inverted U theory?

a theory of arousal that considers that optimal performance occurs when the performer reaches an optimal level of arousal 

  • as arousal increases, so does performance. Up until an optimum point of aroual where performance is at its optimum/best. after this, more arousal causes performance to deterioate 
  • under and over arousal can be equally bad 
  • performers who are under-aroused and not stimulated enough to perform. their attentional field is too borad, lack concentration, information overload may occur
  • moderate arousal, selective attention is fully operational. able to pick out relevant cues and make good decisions. reaction time is fast.
  • over-arousedleads to attentional field narrowing, miss environmental cues, may panic 
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What factors affect optimum level of arousal?

Type of skill involved 

  • serial/simple
  • gross/fine

Nature of the performance

  • evlauation apprehension

The importance of the situation

presence of others

  • social faciliation / social inhibtion 


  • cognitve/autonomous 
  • introverted/extroverted 
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What is the catastrophe theory?

  • performers need moderate levels of arousal to perform at their best
  • over-arousal causes a decrease in performance (cognitve and somatic anxiety are high)
  • performer can recover (high cognitive but low somatic anxiety)
  • or can decrease and not recover (high cognitve and high somatic anxiety)
  • recovery time varies depending on the level of overarousal and the duration of the event 
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What is the zone of optimum functioning?

  • the area between the upper and lower levels of aorusal within which optimal performance takes place
  • individual zones 
  • some performers have a wider range of optimal arousal levels 
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What is the peak flow experience?

  • occurs whenathletes enter the zone of optimal functioning - achieving correct level of arousal is important 
  • performance seems effortless, performer is totally confident, movement seems to be automatic 
  • performer experience immense satisfaction
  • timing of movment and actions are perfect
  • performing on autopilot
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What qualities do leaders have?

  • charismatic
  • knowledgable 
  • good communicators
  • empathetic
  • confident
  • organised
  • good decision makers
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How can leaders be selected?

prescribed leaders

  • chosen from outside the group i.e. appointed by external authority

Emergent leadrs

  • elected from within the group by being nominated by the other group members - group approved
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How can leaders be selected?

prescribed leaders

  • chosen from outside the group i.e. appointed by external authority

Emergent leadrs

  • elected from within the group by being nominated by the other group members - group approved
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How can leaders be selected?

prescribed leaders

  • chosen from outside the group i.e. appointed by external authority

Emergent leadrs

  • elected from within the group by being nominated by the other group members - group approved
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What is the autocratic leadership style?


  • dictatorial in style 
  • only interest is ensuring the task is fulfilled
  • sole-decision maker
  • preferrd by male performers
  • used in dangerous situations, if time is limited, large groups, hostile groups or cognitive performers 
  • used in most and least favourable sitations 
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What is the democratic leadership style?


  • where interest is in ensuring relationships are developed within the group
  • group members are involved in making decisions 
  • preferred by female perfomers
  • used when plenty of time is avaliable, with small groups, friendly groups or advanced performers
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What is the laissez-faire leadership style?

  • leader is more of a 'figure head' than an active leader
  • group members make all the decisions 
  • useful if a problem solving-approach is required
  • only effective with advanced performers 
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What is Fiedler's contingency model?

interactionist approach where effective leaders match their style to the situation

  • most and least favourable situations : task-orientated 
  • moderatley favourable situations: person-orientated 
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What factors affect favourableness of the situatio

quality of leaders relationship with the group

leaders level of authority 

resoruces avaliable

demands of task/environment

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What does a most favourable situation look like?

  • leader respected by group 
  • leader has good relationship with group
  • group highly motivated 
  • group high ability 
  • clear task/goals
  • good resources 
  • no danger 
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What is Chelladurai's multidimensional model?

Leaders must consider

  • situational characteristics (srenght of oppenent, if danger is involved)
  • leader characteristics (their ability, and preferred leadership style)
  • member characteristics (ability, relationships within the group and with the leader)

Leadership style is also affected by 

  • required behaviour (what the situation demands)
  • preferred behaviour (style of leadership preffered by the performers)
  • actual behaviour (the style they decide to take)

Satisfaction and good performance occurs when:

  • required behaviour (by situation), preferred behaviour and actual behaviours all match.
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What are the types of anxiety?


  • psychological symptoms of anxiety - thoughts, nervousness and apprehnsion - mental symptoms 


  • physiological symptoms of anxiety - increased heart rate, sweaty palms, nausea - physical symptoms 


  • anxiety felt in a particular situation - often caused by negative past experiences


  • an enduring personality trait, tendency to view all situations as threatening - stable and enduring - part of personality 
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How do levels of anxiety change?

  • cognitive stage gradually increases in the days prior to a competition 
  • changes during competition as the likelihood of success or failure changes
  • somatic anxiety tends to be low but increases rapidy as event approaches
  • somatic decreases during competiton 
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Name questionnaires used to measure anxiety?


  • questionnaire 
  • measure trait anxiety


  • state-trait anxiety inventory 
  • questionnaire
  • distinguishes between state and trait anxiety


  • competitive state anxiety inventory 
  • questionnaire
  • somatic and cognitive anxiety 
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What are the disadvantages of using observation to

  • subjective 
  • reliant on skill of the observer
  • time consuming 
  • expensive 
  • observer needs to know nomral behaviour patterns for comparison
  • may need several observers at once
  • if they know they are being watched, they may behave differently 
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What strategies can you use to manage anxiety?


  • mental rehearsal
  • imagery
  • visualisation
  • positive self-talk
  • negative thought stopping
  • raltioanl or positive thinking
  • attentioanl control  


  • centring
  • biofeedback
  • breathing control
  • progressive muscular relaxation
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Why does goal setting help improve performance?

  • direct attneiton to a certain skill - target to aim for
  • task persistence 
  • motivates performer
  • reduces anxiety 
  • increases self-efficacy 
  • allows for evaluation of progress
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What types of goals are there?


  • set to improve technique 
  • short term


  • intermediate goals often set against yourself to improve performance from last time 


  • long term goals 
  • often set agaisnt others
  • based on otucome 
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What makes goal setting effective?


  • specific 
  • measurable 
  • agreed
  • realistic 
  • time phased
  • exciting
  • recorded

short and long term goals

practice and competition 

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