Performing Under Pressure
Run by School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences
10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Andrew Cooke
Overall aims and purpose
The ability to deliver optimal performances when it matters the most is the key to be being a champion in business, performing arts, and sport. Coaches and psychologists are expected to hold the tools to get the best out of their performers in high-pressure scenarios – this is a key part of the coach / psychologist remit. This module has been designed with exactly this issue in mind. We will explain precisely how and why pressure influences performance using the latest sport psychology theories and mechanistic research. We will also detail how psychologists and coaches can intervene to prevent choking under pressure and encourage personal best performances. The module will be linked to real elite-performer case studies that the course leaders have been involved with.
Delivered by an accredited sport and exercise psychologist and an expert in psychophysiology who are working with elite level athletes, coaches, business, and the armed forces; you will be taught the most up-to-date theories and applied interventions in stress and performance literature.
Main areas of stress and performance that will be covered include: Attentional Control e.g. why are we distracted by threat? Ironic Effects e.g. why do we do the exact things that we tell ourselves not to? Reinvestment e.g. why do we sometimes “overthink” our movements under pressure? Challenge and Threat perceptions e.g. what do our psychophysiological responses to stress mean, and how can we optimally control them? Intervention planning, design, and reflection.
Pass 50%> Work demonstrates basic understanding of the underlying theories and models covered in the course and ability to apply them to devise sensible interventions. Some inaccuracies and misconceptions may be evident. Adequate links to supporting research but precision in describing the research may be lacking.
Merit 60%> Work demonstrates understanding and discussion of the underlying theories and models covered in the course and ability to apply them to devise well-thought out interventions. Few to no inaccuracies and misconceptions. Links to supporting research provided throughout – supporting research described to a good to very good level, but still lacks the very highest level of precision and critique.
Distinction 70%> Work demonstrates in-depth understanding and thorough discussion of the underlying theories and models covered in the course. Clear ability to apply theory to devise well-thought out interventions that are justified and supported by previous research. Few to no inaccuracies or misconceptions. Extensive references to supporting research provided throughout – supporting research described in clear and precise detail throughout with evidence of astute critique.
Describe the key theories used to explain the relationship between stress and motor performance.
Critically analyse stress and performance research.
Apply the contemporary stress and performance theory and research to explain performance slumps that present in real-life performer case studies.
Construct theoretically driven interventions to help alleviate adverse effects of stress on performance.
|INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATION||Case study diagnose the problem||
Students will be presented with a case-study describing an individual who is suffering from poor performance under stress. Using the theories covered in class, and supporting scientific research, students will be asked to produce a narrated presentation (max 8 mins) to describe one theory that they think provides the best explanation of the performance problem. They are expected to describe the theory and supporting research, and extract key features of the case study to justify why this theory and supporting research can account for the problems being described. This assignment is designed to mimic the sort of scenarios practitioners may face in the workplace, where they may be routinely tasked with delivering presentations to coaches and/or players to diagnose performance issues.
Students will be presented with a case-study describing an athlete who is suffering from poor performance under stress. This will be the same case study as was used for Part I. While Part I of the presentation is all about using theory and scientific research to diagnose the performance problem, Part II of the presentation requires students to suggest an intervention, supported by theory and research, to help alleviate the performance problem. Part II will be another narrated presentation (5 mins max) to outline the chosen intervention. Once again this assignment is designed to mimic the sort of scenarios practitioners may face in the workplace, where they may be routinely tasked with delivering presentations to coaches and/or players to suggest how performance might be improved.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
The 20 hrs of lectures will be a mixture of pre-recorded sessions with "in-lecture" tasks, and some optional live sessions to provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and receive instant feedback.
Reading time, preparing and taking assessments
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in
Subject specific skills
- research and assess paradigms, theories, principles, concepts and factual information, and apply such skills in explaining and solving problems
- critically assess and evaluate data and evidence in the context of research methodologies and data sources
- describe, synthesise, interpret, analyse and evaluate information and data relevant to a professional or vocational context
- plan, design, execute and communicate a sustained piece of independent intellectual work, which provides evidence of critical engagement with, and interpretation of, appropriate data
- apply knowledge to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems
- develop a sustained reasoned argument, perhaps challenging previously held assumptions
- demonstrate effective written and/or oral communication and presentation skills
- work effectively independently and with others
- take and demonstrate responsibility for their own learning and continuing personal and professional development
- self-appraise and reflect on practice
- plan and design practical activities using appropriate techniques and procedures whilst demonstrating high levels of relevant skills
- project manage and execute practical activities using appropriate techniques and procedures whilst demonstrating high levels of relevant skills
- demonstrate an understanding of the philosophical basis of scientific paradigms
- develop transferable skills of relevance to careers outside of sport, health and exercise sciences.
- communicate succinctly at a level appropriate to different audiences.
- accurately interpret case study data
- develop justifiable and/or evidence-based interventions
- develop effective learning aids
Talis Reading listhttp://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/jxh-4101.html
Sample reading list;
Masters, R. S. W., & Maxwell, J. P. (2008). The theory of reinvestment. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1, 160-183.
Gucciardi, D. F., & Dimmock, J. A. (2008). Choking under pressure in sensorimotor skills: Conscious processing or depleted attentional resources? Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9, 45-59.
Jones, M., Meijen, C., McCarthy, P. J., & Sheffield, D. (2009). A theory of challenge and threat states in athletes. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2, 161-180.
Eysenck, M. W., Derekshan, N., Santos, R., & Calvo, M. G. (2007). Anxiety and cognitive performance: attentional control theory. Emotion, 7, 336-353.
Woodman, T., Barlow, M., & Gorgulu, R. (2015). Don’t Miss, Don’t Miss, D’oh! Performance when anxious suffers specifically where least desired. The Sport Psychologist, 29, 213-223.