Performing Under Pressure
Run by School of Human and Behavioural Sciences
10.000 Credits or 5.000 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.
|ORAL||Case study diagnose the problem||
The assignment requires you to diagnose a performance problem from either the default case study (presented below) OR a case study of your own. If you wish to use your own case study as the basis for this assessment, this should describe a real-life performance under pressure problem that you have observed in your domain, and should be of similar detail and scope to the default case study presented below. If you decide to write your own case study and wish to check this out with us before committing to use it for your assignment, you are welcome to do so – email Andy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Once you have decided on either the default or your own real-life case study, we would like you to record a narrated presentation (maximum of 10 mins in duration) focused upon two theories from the performing under pressure module, that you think provide the best explanation of the performance problem. We would like your presentation to cover the following components:
A) Please describe your chosen two theories in precise detail B) Please describe 1-2 of the key research studies that support each of your chosen theories C) Please justify how your chosen theories and the supporting research explain the situation depicted in the case study. For example, if you think that loss of attentional control explains the situation, you need to explain which specific parts of the case study led you to this conclusion, and you need to link those parts back to the theoretical predictions and key research findings.
These points may be addressed separately or as a whole. When marking your presentations, we will pay equal attention to all three areas.
The assignment requires you to outline an intervention designed to remedy the performance under pressure problem that you diagnosed in Presentation 1. Please use the same case study that you used for Presentation 1. We would like you to record a narrated presentation (maximum of 8 mins in duration) to outline your intervention and explain how and why it should work. Please consider the following key points when constructing your presentation.
A) Please explain the intervention in detail (i.e., what specifically would you as a performance psychologist encourage the relevant parties, e.g., performer / coach / manager to do). Assume that all the relevant parties implicated in the case study are keen to resolve the issue described and are thus willing for you to be involved as much as you deem necessary. B) Remember that your intervention needs to be tailored to the theoretical frameworks that you identified as explaining the situation depicted in the case study used for Presentation 1. We are not asking you to describe the theories again, but you should refer to them throughout your presentation to show how your intervention speaks to the theories that you think are at the heart of the problem. Refer to your chosen theories to explain why this intervention should work. C) Please also refer to published literature throughout – these could be experiments supporting the theories and intervention you are describing (e.g., some of the studies covered in the lectures) and/or they could be experiments supporting interventions you have taken from other aspects of the course (e.g., interventions from Psychological Skills training module) or your own independent reading. Whichever route you take, it is important to base your intervention on published research.
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.