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Monday, December 17, 2018
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Vinluan: Behavior modifiers and sporting habits

Sports Psychology

WHEN you give a better encouragement to a certain individual to persuade him to respond better in a basketball game for example is very much like behavior modification. Although it is a personal decision of an individual whether to join in and play or experience a sport, common sense plays a big role in the decision of an individual either to indulge in a certain sport or not.

“Behavior modification” often appears in magazines and articles describing certain changes in individual behavior of athletes, drugs, “mind control,” may cause it or even by surgery as the case maybe, but it is none of these things. Behavior modification refers to the systematic application and learning principles to change the individual’s actions and feelings. While it is true that behavior modification and common sense are related, what is notable in behavior modification from common sense is the fact that it involves a series of well-defined steps to change behavior where the success of each step is to find the best solution for a given situation.

Take basketball for an example, where a game is studied by the coach before, during, and evaluates the team as well as individual performance of players. With the given situations in a game, the coach becomes the “behavior modifier” as tasked to look into and define solutions in a concrete form for any given situation, as to the need of offensive or defensive plays. Where the coach always works-out a systematic plan for his players to perform 100 percent during each game, winning becomes a reward and losing a punishment for the whole team.

Making it a habit to learn basketball is different from making it a habit to play basketball, as in other sports, the habit to learn is to study the sport itself this is true for the coaching staff of any team where they should study as much to know the game. While making it a habit to play is to practice or make it a routine to play the sport to improve a player’s skill. Both behavior modifiers though different in meaning use conditioning as a “change factor,” which includes assisted-instructions based on conditioning, token economies or reinforced learning, and self-control as an important trend to behavior modification.

While both coach and player differ in their roles, each of these performers should bear in mind to follow these processes to improve their sporting habits supported by behavior modification. That is, while coaches learn more by studying a game; players should practice following instructions in their routines and both must learn to define the problems confronting their performance in plays that the coach openly describes to attain 100 percent performance. Both coach and player must be open to reinforced learning where a player or coach must not be having a “more than better” behavior or attitude because both are performers in a game only with different roles and besides a team game have to be played by the team not the individual.

In order to get the best results of a game where players should act as they should, an elaborate system of reinforced learning or “token economies” better known as reward or punishment should be set up to shape their own thoughts and actions. Researchers’ like Martin Seligman says that it is obvious that what people do is only a part of the story, some people may develop long-lasting helplessness, while others seem to get over them, he argues that part of the difference is what people think -- that is, how they interpret themselves.

In order that behavior modifiers coincide with your sporting habits, one must first know how to define the problem “a first step for self-control” in order to encourage a person to actually take note of what situations led him to change his behavior. Most importantly, one should set-up his personal behavioral contract or commitment choosing a reinforcer and making it a contingent on some unpleasant but necessary act. These contracts are most likely to succeed if you also use successive approximations – Start with an easy task and making it gradually difficult, meaning first know the game then know how to play to master the game. Remember repeated failures to get anything accomplished and sheer discomfort turns learning and habit formation a dread chore.


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