How biological psychology affects sports psychology
No psychologist would decline to highlight the great link between the brain- influenced behavioral patterns and the sports psychology. In the same note, this would be a link between the physiology involving the functioning of the brain through its nervous system under different conditions, and sport psychology.
Therefore the one aspect we can use to relate biological psychology to sport psychology is the influence of the brain during the different occasions that demand different conditions from the sportsmen and women. This is referred to as neuropsychology. Visualization for instance involve the brain and it has been attested by many athletes that when they take the actual distance of the track and record it in their brain, they create a mental awareness which instill in them a sense of well being, confidence and comfort, culminating in amazing sports performance. This is in contrast with someone who simply gets to the track and without analyzing the field to obtain a mental picture, are already getting into the competition (Kalat, 2008).
Most sportsmen and sportswomen always believe in achieving desired results either in the competition or in the outcome of the competition like an injury. In order to achieve this they use their brains to create an imagination of the desired event. When they imagine that winning or healing into a feeling that it is now real, it becomes very easy for them to achieve these desired ends. The person competing would most probably win while the injured athlete would easily heal. This technique of creation of success based on imagination is called imagery. Guided imageries have in fact won many applications in sports training.
Consequently, most of the training procedures involve deep meditation in which the brain bring together the senses including sights, sounds, smells and feelings into a positive image that gives the sportsmen and women a upper hand and an easy task in excelling in the competition.
Neurobiology is a biological field that is greatly involved in creating and causing the different kinds of behaviors in sportsmen. It could make an athlete behave confidently or afraid depending on the kind of exposure and also the state of the organs involved. Physiological correlations have been established linking the brain and the behaviors (Kalat, 2008).
The manner in which people behave while coping with stresses from everyday work and experience has greater influence on their body physiology. If they fail to cope well with the stresses, the body responds to it by realizing large amount of hormones which include norepinephrine, epinephrine and glucocorticoids which have very harmful consequences in the body. Their effects include increase in blood pressure, damaging of muscle tissues, among others. An athlete therefore in such condition is almost obvious that he will perform less effectively. The training programs for athlete therefore normally have provisions for handling stresses, especially before competition.
It has been argued that our brain is elastic and this allows our behaviors and experiences to shape them. Such traits as endurance in a race could be greatly influenced by our experiences. The tough training programs that is imposed on athletes, footballers, basketballers, rugby players, among others go a long way in changing the regions of the brain that respond to the stress of endurance. A person’s brain who is undergoing such a training therefore become physically different from that of another who is not undergoing training.
With unmanaged emotions, and uncontrolled psychological impacts of injury and poor performance, the sports performance can be adversely affected. Consequently, much of this work is owed to the brain which ensures the psychological well-being of the sportsmen. The psychological well being is closely related with the vigorous physical activity needed by the sportsmen.
When the brain is monitored during exercise, especially in psychophysiology, it does a great deal of boosting the performance. This idea of psychophysiology, monitoring brain activity during exercise has been eyed by most sport psychologists towards improving the performances of the sports men because a close link has been obtained connecting exercise with proper mental adjustment which is a key ingredient to excellent performance (Moran, 2004).
Concerning the coordination of several aspects that contribute to better sports performance, the brain has to be consulted and the manner it operates will greatly affect the performance. In attention focus for instance, most athletes fall victims of the crowd influence which affect their performance negatively. This is because they let the sense of sight of the crowd interpreted in their brain so that the messages sent back by the brain would be that of ‘if you don’t win, your poor performance will be seen by the crowd’. Actually this will shift the attention from winning to how to counter the reactions from the crowd and hence adversely affecting the performance. If however the brain could be pre occupied with other tasks of coordinating how the track will be easily handled, and other positive thoughts for the competition, of course there will be no chance for the negative influence from the spectators!
In the field of Kinesiology which apply such scientific field as biomechanics, physiology and anatomy there is the provision of great insights towards better performance in the fields of sport and consequently a better correlation between the biological physiology and the sport physiology. Generally, almost all kinds of sports involve a physical activity which in turn involves a biological part of the body. How the brain influences the physical activity, whether voluntarily or involuntarily is the issue of concern in this case. For a goal to be achieved in sport, the intention to do it will trigger a voluntary movement which is coordinated by the brain and the muscles in the limbs for instance, hence the physical activity (Moran, 2004).
For excellence sports performance, optimal muscle activity has to be achieved by the sportsmen and sportswomen. This task is normally left for the judgment of the rate of heart beat and also the degree of pulmonary ventilation which in turn are greatly influenced by motor imagery. In preparing athletes such training program which involves warming up, relaxing and concentration is normally included to speed up the rate of circulation of blood so that this eventually result in mental simulation which is necessary for the specific movement.
With the high dependency of exercise during training and even during competition on the motor control in which the brain is the central cog wheel, it is an important consideration that the brain is protected from even the least disruption including the failure of its oxygen supply which can easily result in unconsciousness. The sport psychologist therefore would advocate for better motor functioning during competition through the trainings which familiarize and harden so that when the brain energy demands increase during vigorous physical exercise, the body will have adapted and will be in a position of controlling the body well (Weinberg et al, 2007).
When the mind is considered to be as a result of the activity in the brain, it is clear that all the ideas and reasoning that carries applications in sports psychology will be regarded to have originated from the biological psychology.
In competition, the trainers and coaches mainly emphasize on the ability of the players to enjoy, participate and improve in their different sports. These will consequently require a better training program, a good motivation for the players and proper teamwork through interpersonal relationship with fellow teammates (Weinberg et al, 2007).
The left and the right wings of the brain greatly contribute to the brain functioning in boosting the performance of the sportsmen and women. Consequently, as the left brain is involved in the mental and physical analysis of details of the work, before the right brain just let the work to happen, the sport psychologist suggest that while a task is still in the left brain, such things as an upright posture, a smile and a strong voice can be used by the trainees to enhance their confidence which is a key ingredient in good performance in sports (Weinberg et al, 2007).
Besides, sport psychologists have obtained that high performances in their trainees can be attributed to attitude of ‘acting as if’ which also involve the left brain. Therefore, after giving the left brain all the necessary preparations, the work of the right brain will only be that of letting whatever has been said happen!
Winning or excelling in a competition should not be a once in a life time achievement. The athletes would wish to win more and more times so as to not only earn the reputation but also earn enough money. Therefore the coaches and the individual athletes would wish to develop a winning spirit. Psychologically, this winning spirit is developed in the brain through the unconscious mind (Weinberg et al, 2007).
According to such psychologists as Samuel Hershberg, an idea goes that if something is repeated for twenty one times, it gets into the unconscious mind which is permanent. His idea then came to become a law that is referred to as the ‘Law of 21’. With this law the athletes can be able to maintain their winning skills.
In some cases, when an athletes or other goes through a serious physical injury which takes long before it recovers after treatment, the person mentally get used to the injury and will become hesitant to accept the new state after he has recovered. This is due to the confidence attached to the injury when the brain becomes conditioned to live in that state. New confidence therefore is necessary to be created in these people by the sports psychologist in this people. This involves influencing the brain to accept the healed state. Without this, the performance of the athlete or the player will adversely be affected!
Not everyone can be an athlete. This is due to the fact that different people have different personality traits in which they are best in. some do well in football and others in baseball while others are earning world acclamation through athletics. What will tell the coach or a sport psychologist therefore that so and so can be trained in athletic to become on of the stars? It has been obtained through research that the most successful athletes make high scores in personality traits making up to a total of eleven. These traits include aggression, coachability, conscientiousness, determination, positive drive, emotional control, guild proneness, leadership, mental toughness, self confidence and trust. Each of these is on the other hand influenced by different parts of the brain and therefore in case of any failure on the part of the brain controlling either of this, the person may fail to score well and hence fail to be a successful athlete (Caruso, 2005).
Given that it has been obtained that an individual is the best judge of his or her strengths and interests, sport psychologist will find it sensible when the trainees make use of their great brains to judge and discover the field where they can perform excellently. Upon this discovery, the person will then be given an opportunity and favorable grounds to display his or her abilities. Consequently, this will involve strict goal orientation, together with a stronger self discipline so that the brain get an ample time of analyzing and coming to the right conclusion (Cashmore , 2002).
In conclusion, every time an athlete gets into the track for training or for competition, he must have examined and judged himself or herself that an athlete is his or her name. Then in the field a sport psychologist will expect him or her to go by some sets of requirements that together fuel his or her success. While some of these require a program of training before they become part of the athlete, others directly involve the task of the brain. Still, in the training, the brain will still be involved in coordination. At the end of the day, these requirements will constitute the behavior of the athletes. When the behavior of the athlete or any other sportsperson is determined by the brain, the neuropsychological field of biological psychology gets married to the sports psychology.
Cashmore, E. (2002). Sport psychology: the key concepts. Routledge Press
Caruso, A. (2005). Sports Psychology Basics. Reedswain Inc.
Kalat J.W. (2008). Biological Psychology. Cengage Learning
Moran A.P., (2004). Sport and exercise psychology: a critical introduction. Routledge.
Weinberg R.S. andGould D. (2007). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology. Human Kinetics