As an athlete in the sport of weightlifting, a technical and fundamentally sound sport, I can become very frustrated and poorly motivated some days/sessions. If I have a difficult workout the day before, I seem to allow it to carry over to the next day's session. Anxiety and negative behavior control how I approach each training session. Also, days where I'm sore, tired, fatigued, or have body aches, I tend to think about about how I feel (negatively) throughout the entire day, building up my anxiety which affects my performance in training. Over the last few months I've been dealing with back and knee problems which has effected my training, not only physically, but more so mentally. I'm easily distracted from the task at hand as well as easily become frustrated with my performance.
Looking at my situation from a third person view, I can see reasons of why I let this effect my training. According to Gill and Williams (2008), positive and negative reinforcement are key ways of changing behavior by implementing a stimulus, either positive or negative, to get a controlled response to the athlete's behavior (Wiese, Weiss, & Yukelson, 1991). Also, a punishment may be used, in this case decrease behavior strength not increase it (Orlick, 1974). By implementing something negative, behavior can be changed to a more positive response in an effort to eliminate negative behavior (Gill & Williams, 2008). The implementation of a behavior plan may be crucial in an athlete's ability to change behavior and response. Also, the plan assists the athlete to follow through with the plan to meet their goals, depending on the goals set for the individuals problem(s) or struggles. There are seven steps at which need to be considered when developing a behavior plan; (1) Clarify the problem, (2) formulate goals for the consultant, (3) design target behaviors, (4) identify the maintaining conditions of the target behavior, (5) design a treatment plan, (6) implement the plan, and (7) evaluate the success of the plan (Gill & Williams, 2008). Each one of these steps allows the coach, consultant, or supervisor to properly set up a plan of attack to allow the athlete to succeed.
First, I will sit down with my coach and clearly state my problem(s). These need to be specific so that later in the process, specific goals can be constructed. By clearly stating my specific problems, I will be able to understand why these behaviors have developed and my coach will be able to recognize them later in training. Once I have specifically stated my problem, next, I will formulate specific goals. I will personally set these goals, unless my coach believes they are unachievable, then he will step in and assist me in formulated goals that will better benefit me. I would want to set a goal where I'm only allowed to do a certain percentage of my max to better develop my technique. I believe that my technique has diminished due the compensation I've been developing to limit the amount of back pain I experience during a lift. Also, I'll add that once my technique and pain start to better, I would be rewarded with a chance to increase the percentage of my 1RM that I can go for certain lifts. As my technique betters, I will be able to increase the number of sessions per week that I can do a higher percentage, as long as I stay technically sound. I will gradually increase and work my way up in weight, then once again reward myself with a chance to max out. These goals won't be set in stone, I would be able to revamp/reevaluate my goals throughout according to my behavioral response(s). Designing target behaviors in the next step. I would measure my behavior based on my performance by accomplishing a set number of repetitions and sets at the set percentage without technical breakdowns. For example, being able to make 5 sets of 3 80% of my 1RM in snatch and/or clean & jerk with my technique remaining solid. Once my technique starts to breakdown, I get frustrated, which is what we're implementing the plan to cope with this negative behavior. Having these target behaviors actively performed, will allow me to evaluate myself. Being able to identify why I may maintain a negative behavior. The ABC model is a basic way of understanding these behaviors (Gill & Williams, 2008). A stand for the antecedents; why do I mentally breakdown when my technique breakdown. B stands for the behavior itself; becoming unmotivated to train or attempt more weight for a certain set and rep combination. C stands for the consequences of the behavior; missing reps or the feeling of not wanting to train/finish the training session. Next step is to design a treatment plan using reinforcement that has a value to me, whether its objects or in my case the ability to attempt heavier weight more often. Also, it might mean being able to training in a certain area of the room or getting to decide the music selection for a certain day. Implementing the plan on an agreed date, athlete and coach, have decided upon. The treatment plan needs to be monitored continually and adjusted over-time by the coach and myself making sure the goals and activities are being met, if not revised to accomplish them. Lastly, evaluation on our plan needs to be done, whether that's over a couple months or over years. Over-time my coach will be able to taper off following consistent success. We would have follow up meetings to track my progression and success.
In conclusion, being able to implement a behavior plan can change my response to negative responses associated with poor training sessions, due to technique. Being able to clearly state why I'm struggling and developing these negative responses and then developing techniques and reinforcement plans that can be evaluated over-time can alter my response during training. Positive and negative reinforcement and punishment may be used as a stimulus to develop a controlled response to certain behaviors, positive or negative. Setting goals to motivate an athlete to understand that the behavior is positive or negative keeps the athlete on track to improve and strive for certain reinforcements; objects, verbal complements, or the allowance to specifically do something of value to them.
Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Orlick, T. D. (1974). Sport participation: A process of shaping behavior. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 16(5), 558-561.
Wiese, D. M., Weiss, M. R., & Yukelson, D. P. (1991). Sport psychology in the training room: A survey of athletic trainers. The Sport Psychologist, 5(1), 15-24.