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Reflective Account

Topic 1: Personality- Trait Theory Principles Personality can be defined as the more or less stable and enduring organisation of a person’s character, temperament, intellect and physique, which determines the unique adjustment the individual makes to the environment. (Eysenck, 1968). Personality is a broad subject that can be discussed with many theories; however I will be discussing trait or dispositional theory in more depth, where I will differentiate between varieties of personality traits and discuss their implications on an athlete. Traits can be defined as habitual and innate patterns of behaviour, thought and emotion. Raymond Cattell (1965) explored the different categories of traits he believed that they were: Constitutional Traits: Determined by biology;  Environmental-Mold Traits: Determined by environment;  Ability Traits: Person’s skill in dealing with the complexity of a given situation;  Temperament Traits: Person’s stylistic tendencies;  Dynamic Traits: Person’s motivations and interests. Cattell also produced the formula: R = f(S x P) where R = Behavioural Response, f = a function of, S = the situation and P = personality, this says that a response is a function of the situation and personality. There are five broad factors of personality which are referred to as the ‘Big Five’ or ‘FiveFactor Model’. Firstly there is, Openness to experience/understanding this trait focuses on behavioural aspects of having an interest to new ideas, and being imaginative, this trait is also considered to be mainly cognitive. The second trait is Conscientiousness this trait explores the tendency to show self-discipline and also having a meticulous nature. Thirdly Extraversion is the trait that exhibits qualities such as sociability and the affinity to seek stimulation from activities that result in high arousal also extroverts enjoy being in the company of others and can be very talkative. The fourth trait is Agreeableness this refers to a trusting, empathetic, sympathetic, cooperative and friendly nature and the fifth trait is Neuroticism this ‘refers to an individual’s tendency to become upset or emotional’ (Hans Eysenck); emotions such as anger, depression, anxiety, additionally neuroticism refers to impulse control and emotional stability.

Ayomikun Barek. Student no. 1209910

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Key Principles Application to Sport/activity practitioner The following key principles can be applied to sport participation: Key Principles Traits are genetic and biological Application to sport participation The belief that traits-which in fact determine our actions-are bound by genetics limits a performer due to the fact that they cannot change their trait and unless they alter their biological composition they will always be comprised of certain traits, e.g. according to this principle a performer who is an introvert can only respond as an introvert, so when it comes to playing team sports they will struggle when they become identifiable and have to integrate within a team and be sociable, this will mostly lead to negative outcomes i.e. missed shots, turnovers, injuries, lack of knowledge etc. However this may not be a limiting factor as some sports favour introvert personality who also exhibit conscientiousness, sports such as golf, skiing etc where participation is based only on the individual and the activity requires somewhat fine skill. The performer must understand that the trait Neuroticism effects their emotional stability therefore their tendency to become upset and emotional in difficult or stressful situations will in turn effect their performance; e.g. if a performer is being defended by an opponent in basketball and they find is difficult to pass them and they also get the ball stolen from them they will become frustrated and if they have a disposition that leans more in favour with neuroticism then they will lose their temper quickly however if they have a disposition that leans more negatively away from neuroticism then they will be able to keep their cool for longer, the latter will be favourable in sports where arousal levels need to be low i.e. golf, darts or set shots or penalties and the former may be favourable in combat sports where aggression can be deemed advantageous sports such as boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA).
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Somewhat stable dimensions/traits

Ayomikun Barek. Student no. 1209910

Generality of trait expression

Environmental-Mold Traits

Based on psychologist Gordon Allport’s statement that traits work to render different stimuli equivalent (Boyle et al. 2008) which means that if two different stimuli come about then a trait will act accordingly to bring about an equilibrium of stimuli, therefore when understanding traits a performer must make sure they take into consideration that traits are situation specific, so if a situation calls for extraversion then that is how they should/would act, however this idea is limiting in the sense that traits can be applied to a variety of situations e.g. in a game of basketball extraversion may come into play because a play may require a fast break to occur, whilst extraversion can also be necessary in boxing in order to persevere and triumph an opponent. This idea that traits are determined by the performer’s environment can be used to the performer’s advantage. Whether they have an introvert or extrovert disposition different traits will come about during different environmental settings therefore a performer can consciously produce an environment that is not only favourable to them but also favours particular traits e.g. in a game of basketball a performer can score points and increase the morale of the team early on in the match; now according to this principle the environment will bring about the ‘habitual and innate’ traits that suit the situation which in this case-relating to team morale-could be agreeableness and due to increased happiness and confidence, extraversion; the performer is now using traits that are most favourable to their success but now at an unconscious level.

Ayomikun Barek. Student no. 1209910

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Personal reflection (Either as practitioner or performer/participant) As a somewhat all round athlete I can see how different traits can come into play and can either improve or hinder my chances of success. I can say that after my evaluation into the different traits and principles, I adapted my performance to better suite my disposition so I perform to the best of my ability, e.g. when I am training in boxing anytime I miss the pads I become frustrated and lean more towards emotional unstableness however, now, instead of becoming increasingly annoyed I take a breath and slowly work on the punches until I have the correct rhythm and action then as I speed up my confidence increases and I become more extraverted which permits me to perform without the thought out me being scrutinized and allows me to “go on a roll”; then before I know it I have completed the pad exercise. Also the principle that traits are biological has worked to my advantage when I'm taking part in MMA, as an athlete who becomes less and less inclined to the trait agreeableness when teammates start to slack, I find that I am more content with MMA than basketball because in my opinion I’m not the most agreeable person so I use that fact to put myself in a sport and position where my personality will be better suited.

Topic 2: Groups- Group formation and cohesion Principles Groups can be defined as a group that is psychologically significant for the members, to whom they relate themselves subjectively for social comparison and the acquisition of norms and values (Turner 1987). My definition of a group is collection of people communally interacting to achieve a common goal; where team work is an essential feature of the psychological influences towards group performance. Tuckman's stages of group development has become synonymous with the topic of groups and group formation, firstly there is the forming stage this is where everyone meets each other and initial introductions are made, individual behaviour is driven by a desire to be accepted by the others. Next is the storming stage where the members start to become independent or counter-dependent and start to react to leadership, also there is a growing expression of differences of ideas, feelings, and opinions. The third stage is the norming stage, group members agree on roles and processes for problem solving and the last stage, the performing stage, is where the group is completely task orientated where members work with each other and the group establishes it identity. Cohesion can be defined as the sum of the forces that influence members in whether to remain part of a group (Festinger et al 1950). There are two types of cohesion, 1.Task cohesion which is the level group members are united in achieving the common goal, such as winning the game and 2.Social cohesion which is the amount to which group members like each other and get on with each other and exhibit mutual trust. Groups that produce high levels of cohesiveness are more likely to be unified and dedicated to success than groups who exhibit low levels of cohesiveness. There are numerous factors that affect cohesion; in Carron (1993) devised a model that outlined four factors affect cohesion; this is called Carron's Model of Factors Affecting Cohesion. It starts with situational factors which refer to the physical environment and the size of the team, then individual factors, which refers to individual characteristics of group members, and their motives. The third factor is
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leadership; the leadership style affects the cohesiveness of a team and lastly the fourth factor is team factors, which refers to past shared success and communication between team mates. Key Principles Application to Sport/activity practitioner The following key principles can be applied to sport coaching: Key Principles Shared team goals Application to coaching When coaching the instructor must make clear emphasis on the goal and aims of the team, this will influence task cohesion and increase the chance. The coach needs to ensure that the goal is communicated properly and unambiguous also it needs achievable and realistic and could set targets that eventually lead to the final goal The coach must be aware of the stage of group formation the team is at, due to the fact that certain lessons/instructions may not be reciprocated by the team as they may be in the storming stage where ideas and beliefs are question, so it would be best not to introduce new ideas during this stage. The leadership style of the coach is important because performers may more responsive to one style that another e.g. a group of professional basketball players will require a democratic leader who makes decisions but takes into account the view of the group, whilst on the other hand an authoritarian styles leader will be better suited for a primary school group of novice basketball players who require total control over their game-play due to their lack of knowledge. The coach must make sure that they highlight roles in the team so each player has a ‘purpose’ and a direct influence to outcomes, if the coach does not do this then the consequence could be social loafing where an individual feels that they are not identifiable so they start to slack and they another player feels the same way and does the same and so, this results in the collective effort of a number of members being lower than one individual.
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Importance of Stages

Leadership

Identifiability of individual roles within a team

Ayomikun Barek. Student no. 1209910

Personal reflection (Either as practitioner or performer/participant) With my research into groups-more specifically group formation and cohesion-I have found the extent in which cohesion effects team success and the implications group formation has on collective success. I put this to the test when playing basketball; I made sure that I promoted social cohesion, so everyone was on a first name basis and somewhat familiar with each other, now with that and our a clear understanding of the team goal, we were able to win even though the situational factors were not in our favour, such as the fact that we were at an away venue, our opponents were not only academy players but were considerable taller than some of us and also we only had 7 players to play a 5 aside game which brought about physical restraints. However with good cohesion in a team that was in the performing stage we were able to prevail and succeed.

Reference Ali, I (2012). Personality: Psychology & Theory. Delhi: The English Press. p37-40. Jarvis, M (2006). Sport Psychology: A Student's Handbook. 2nd edn. New York: Routledge. p94-97, p102-104. Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. 5th edn. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Boyle, G, Matthews, G, Saklofske, D (2008). The SAGE Handbook of Personality Theory and Assessment: Personality Theories and Models. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. p3-4.

Ayomikun Barek. Student no. 1209910

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