Mental Skills Training Program
This project gives you experience applying your knowledge of sport and exercise psychology to a practical setting.
In your professional careers as sport/health professionals you will undoubtedly have to face problems of a psychological nature on a daily basis. The purpose of this project is to devise a 4-week mental skills training program. Through this you develop skills that will allow you to address these problems not by relying exclusively on your experience and intuition, but by also taking advantage of the scientific literature.
Choosing Your Problem or Situation
Select a problem or situation you have observed in a physical activity setting that could be prevented or ameliorated (improved upon) using the principles you have learned in sport and exercise psychology. Please limit your selection of problems or situations to the following areas:
• Teamwork or cohesion (Chapter 9)
• Arousal regulation (Chapter 13)
• Imagery (Chapter 14)
• Self-confidence (Chapter 15)
• Goal setting (Chapter 16)
• Attention or concentration (Chapter 17)
You may consider situations that you might encounter as a coach, physical educator, athletic trainer or physical therapist, fitness professional, and so on. In other words, although the type of problem that you tackle is limited (e.g., teamwork), the situation to which you choose to apply your knowledge is not. Design a program or intervention to prevent or improve the situation. Be specific! In the event that you encounter this situation in the real world, you should be able to use the material that you’ve developed for this project as is.
Note: If you choose a topic or intervention based on a chapter not yet covered in class, you are responsible for being familiar with the material relevant to that chapter when designing your program or intervention.
Although your final product does not have a firm page range (for reasons that will become obvious), you should make sure that it is typed, double-spaced with 1-inch margins, and includes the following:
• An introductory paragraph describing the situation, activity, individuals, age group, skill or ability level, and any other circumstances pertinent to the situation for which you are designing your program or intervention
• A complete description of your program or intervention. How will it work? If it is designed to take place in stages, what are these stages? How often should each stage be used? How will you know if your program or intervention has been effective?
• Any forms, overheads, visual aids, or other materials you would use to implement your program or intervention (e.g., if you’re doing a goal-setting intervention for high school basketball players, develop the actual form you would use for recording goals). The key to this part of the assignment is to be creative and specific!
• Discussion of the limitations of your program or intervention: How might you need to modify it for another sport or a different group? With what type of person, team, or situation would this intervention work best? Why?
Specific Tips for Success
- Decide exactly what material you will use within a specific area (you cannot do everything) and come up with a catchy title that captures the. Nature of your presentation.
- The key is to select, organize, and customize material that will be of interest and use to your target audience. Develop a theme, overall objective, and/or final take-home message.
- Keep it simple; do not try to do too much each session. Make the key, important points in a way the group/team can use.
- Get participants active and engaged – do not just talk to them. Use questions and activities to immediately get your audience engaged.
- Give participants something they can use – specifically and immediately.
a. Create a handout; there will not be access for a PowerPoint in the field!
b. Make readable, usable, simple, and visually stimulating handouts or materials for participants.
- Entertain, work to keep this attention, get them involved, and be innovative!
- Each plan should aim to be 60 minutes or less in length and should include the following sections:
a. Introduction – A catchy title, specification of the mental skill/key words, brief description of the importance of the session, contextual factors
b. Rationale – A brief rationale and research basis/background for the session information and activities.
c. Explanation – How will the lesson flow? This section will elaborate on the process and specific procedures of the lesson.
d. Handout – A handout and/or any other materials that will be provided to the group.
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