Environmental Management

New ideas

DRN (Dorsal Raphe Nucleus) needs to shut down to initiate trying. When control exists there is plasticity in the mPFC (medial PreFrontal Cortex) and the person acts as an expert in flow while others may panic or stall.
Helplessness is the natural (inborn) response to prolonged bad events and anxiety.
Higher cortical responses can inhibit the default of a helpless response by operation of the mPFC - DRN pathway. It prevents passivity which engages the DRN and a helplessness response. Learn control, confront, understand, relieve trauma, and gain mastery.
Rumination of memory doesn’t achieve much.
Look at steps to failure as past for present without future. Future as how to change, react to triggers, stop maladaptive behavior response... How to Run around trauma or avoid it for a better future. Turn on the mPFC-DRN. The Hope circuit. the past for the present without future sets up failure.
5HT released from the amygdala signals the DRN to initiate helplessness (model for depression). Stress control can limit the release of 5HT in the amygdala.
Source Seligman
Study found that when coaches focused on what players did right during the game (Rugby) in the after game debriefing, It raised testosterone and performance levels in their next week game.
Doing a good deed or imagining doing a good deed enhances endurance.

MPFC has 4 regions
PrCm medial precentral area (also Fr2)
ACC anterior cingulate cortex
PLC prelimbic cortex
ILC infralimbic cortex

Can also be divided as to
dorsal component dmPFC (ACC + dorsal area of PLC) Drives a fear response.
ventral component vmPFC (ventral PLC, ILC, DPC (dorsal peduncular cortex))

Noradrenalin release is tuned to wakefulness.
D1-R neuron stimulation goal directed arousal behavior.
Semiautomatic behaviors are under cortical control when performed.
Development of habitual performance is determined by a balance of sensorimotor striatal activity and value sensitive ILC activity.
The mind constantly takes stock of its physical reserve and negotiates with the body how to exert physical activity, tweak mental states and change task performance.
Positive thinking, visualization good diet, hydration , and pacing can influence this stock talking.
Pacing - bike riders were given fentanyl and when they rode so hard they couldn’t walk after riding. However they paced themselves so poorly that they didn’t perform any better than they did previous performances.

Jolana says ...
Emotions are made not triggered.
Emotions are created from concepts .
Mind is a computational moment within constantly predicting brain.
Brains can create conflict between thinking and feeling or one of harmony- Buddhism.
No two brains are structural alike. Even one person s brain isn’t the same, plasticity.
Brain is a
High complexity system. And degeneracy.
Precept concepts - Pleasant unpleasant valence light dark agitation calmness  arousal loudness softness brightness darkness and other conscious...
Affective realism. Concepts, &
Affective realism- gut feelings. Dogma ideology stereotypes
Getting along vs getting ahead.
Emotions are continuous not fixed into categories like species.
Interoceptive - James essence - Dewey category sometimes makes us believe real world distinctions exist.
Hypothesis- infants can infer the values of agents’ goals from the costs of their actions.
Responding to an abstract notion (prediction) of costs, rather than specific physical path features such as motion direction or distance.   Based on experienced mental efforts or experienced physical efforts or both.   
Before infants walk they create mental models of agents and actions: forward models of how agents plan, and inverse models for working backward from agent’s actions to the causes inside their minds.
Ten month old infants infer the value of goals from the costs of actions. Science November 2017.   
People who exercise more effortful self-control reported feeling more depleted. They were not meeting their goals, they were also exhausted from trying. THose who experienced fewer temptations overall were more successful. People who are better at self-control actually enjoy the activities some of us resist. like eating healthy, studying, exercising... Therefore, doing them isn’t a chore. It’s enjoyable. want to goals more than have to goal. People who are good at self-control have better learning habits. THey are able to structure their lives better and following routine. Planning, like putting the alarm on the other side of the room when go to bed. The ability to change the activity or results of what is to be achieved. Make marshmallow inviting or less inviting depending on whether the goal is to eat it or avoid eating it.
Some people experience fewer temptations. Genetics metabolism hunger is greater ... It is easier to have self-control if you are wealthy. Less choice creates a life with less opportunities to postpone gratification. Need to jump on opportunity as they are few and far between.
Focus on achieving things that drive you to your goals not stoping things in your way. LIke driving with emergency break, not efficient.
Stroop self control test
Why willpower is overrated: Psychologists increasingly think effortful restraint is not the key to the good life. So what is? By Brian Resnick@B_resnickbrian@vox.com Jan 15, 2018, 9:15am EST


Sport Psychology
Intrinsic Motivation-efficacy and the flow of performance
A person’s ability to perform physical activity depends on their physical, emotional, and social abilities to interact with their environment and opportunities that arise. This article focuses on the effects emotional / mental factors have on performance.
Performance develops over time as infants are born with virtually no ability to perform physical activity other than flail their arms and legs, and twist and turn their body. When we think of the development of physical abilities in the first few years we think of learning body awareness, coordination, learning to crawl, walk, run, and perform a variety of physical actions that may eventually enable them to perform a wide variety of physical activities. Many factors will affect their level of motivation to challenge their physical activity with practice to enhance their performance to different degrees of performance. Here are factors to consider:
Achievement, agility, arousal, auditorium, body type, certificates, championships, coaching, complements, conditioning, cooperation, creativity, crowd, culture, distance, drive, emotional stability, equipment, excitement, experience, family, fatigue, feelings, focus, friends, fun, function, gear, genetics, goal setting, gym, health, heart health, hormones, imagination, pleasure, praise, pressure, loosing, lung capacity, mental stability, metacognition, metals, motivation, muscle memory, muscle tone, nutrition, physical fitness, practice, pride, resilience, response time, risk taking, time, trophies, referees, rewards, rules, satisfaction, school, scores, self-esteem, self-efficacy, social skill, social status, socio-economic status, stress, studio, supplements, team, track, stadium, status, surface, trophies, vitamins, weather, well being, winning, wins, ...
When we consider relationships of these factors on performance it is helpful to consider the source and its effects. Factors can originate inside a person (memory, nerve signal, hormone, chemical) or outside a person (environment, social, climate, objects), however, when any factor affects a person, there will be an internal reaction. Internal reactions caused by external or internal actions a person perceives when signals reach the brain and a response or decision is made. Some reactions result in conscious thoughts, when the accumulation of signals sent from current interactions and past interactions stored as memories reach a level for awareness. For better or worse, signals influence decisions and decisions effect performance.
Signals are processed in different parts of the brain depending on the area that first receives a signal. Signals strong enough ripple through multiple areas of the brain and can become conscious. Not all responses are conscious. Responses that control how fast the heart beats, how often to breathe, hunger, when to hit snooze, move right, move left, shoot, pass, swing, or take a pitch, ... are more unconscious than conscious decisions.
The amount of time from signal to response or decisions varies from microseconds, to seconds, minutes, and longer for some decisions. From reflexive responses (gag reflex, fight, flight, hide response, ...). To well practiced actions with little monitoring (walk, talk, run, talk and walk, ...). To more complex actions like moving down the court on a fast break, seeing the play unfold, and making good decisions for great plays. Referred to as being in the flow or being in the moment. To slow motion practice with on going mental conversations and metacognition during initial practice with a new form of layup, jump shot, pitching motion, or batting stance. To setting goals and acting on them to participate in physical activity.
Performance responses and decisions are made with different amounts of awareness of internal factors and external factors. Internal - motivation, lack of motivation, drive, arousal, focus, lack of focus, hunger, thirst, feelings; and external - weather, friends, food, coaches, objects, food, athletic equipment, distances, and time. However, not everyone learns how to analyze different situations and make decisions beneficial for their short and long term needs and achieve outstanding performance. To do so they have learned to manage sufficient factors well enough to set goals and achieve sufficient success to motivate them for future involvement. However, while success and practice are necessary they aren’t sufficient. Before engaging a person must have their physical needs met, be safe, feel they belong and are loved, have sufficient self esteem, be recognized, and feel physical activity provides an opportunity for self-actualization.
If these conditions are met a person will begin practicing and with incremental success continue to practice and attain a degree of competence. As they achieve more success they will begin to believe in their abilities to perform at higher levels of skill and work to attain outstanding performance. When they believe in their ability to do this, they act with self-efficacy.
A person who is able to mange their life to meet their needs, understand and interpret internal and external effects, set goals, believe in their self-efficacy to attain them and are motivated to do so are set to maximize their performance relative to their abilities. For the purpose of this paper this will be called intrinsic motivational efficacy (IME) and will be explored in detail.
Intrinsic motivational efficacy (IME) as a process includes a full complement of brain activity. Conscious decision making used to think about and evaluate what we do (metacognition) with a desire to find challenges and believe we will deal with them effectively using a variety of strategies in the face of adversity, trauma, threats, or significant sources of stress. It is an internal drive to survive, don’t give up, refocus, and try again. It is a way of life. It also means being able to move in and out of flow, action with little or no conscious thought to make beneficial snap reflexive decisions. Being able to move from a reflective mode that selects and decides how to modify or attain a new skill, to decide how to practice and then enter a practice mode to learn, refine, and create muscle memory, then to scrimmage mode to create flow, and finally game time mode with real time decision and skill execution for optimal use.
This article discusses general ideas important to support the process of intrinsic motivation efficacy (IME). Much of what is necessary to attain a high level of intrinsic motivational efficacy is mental so let’s start there.
We know the brain is a complicated organ. However, most people underestimate the number of inputs being monitored in real time from our past and present experiences most unconsciously. This incredible amount of information circulating in our brain arrives from internal and external inputs.
Internal signals from all parts of the body arrive through nerves connected to the CNS (central nervous system). External information that enter through our senses: light, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Internal chemical signals that arrive from the circulatory system, lymphatic system, and nervous system. Internal information stored in our memories about our behavior, actions, physical ability, health, social actions, family, team, coach, conditioning, practice, weather, equipment, rules, referees, and so on.
The brain is always pulsing with abundant information. However, situations happen that intensify signals that excite other response centers causing them to respond with actions they have learned. These response centers are stacked with the top most control center being conscious thought and the lowest stack (brain stem) where unconscious reflex actions are initiated. The further up the stack a signal reaches or originates takes more travel time which makes a slower response and greater awareness. Example - Sitting behind home plate. Hear crack of the bat, blink, move head, see foul ball, put hand up, remember backstop will stop the ball.
It is hard to know if nerve pulses from a sensory input, recalled memory, or change in body chemistry should effect our behavior. Obviously sensing a foul ball flying toward you should cause an appropriate safe reaction. Where sensing the seat of the chair holding us or the air bouncing off our bodies are usually not important and can be ignored. However, how much sensory input does a person need be aware of to go down a flight of stairs safely? Should you just run up and head down without thinking? Or, think about what you are doing as you approach, watching for the first step, try to see which foot will arrive first to decide which foot will be the first to step down, look to grab the handrail, think about not falling, slow down, and look at each step and foot as you move down. Or how much attention should you give to an ache in the stomach?
The answer, could be either one or somewhere in between depending on the person and the situation. The issue is what signals to focus on and what signals to mute to optimize performance? There is no simple answer so let’s look at some different situations.
Are they butterflies that should be ignored by refocusing, relaxing, and accepting an upcoming event as a challenge to overcome? Or, is it something more important that needs a different approach?
if an old habit creeps in or a practiced action begins to become awkward or random, then quality and efficiency diminish. When a person notices performance problems she or he can take actions to move performance back to being successful or continue to deteriorate.
metacognition to tune performance.
To understand a process to achieve intrinsic motivational-efficacy with metacognition let’s consider factors that influence performance.
Consideration of intensity of factors that influence performance (Arousal, Anxiety, Stress)
Arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) ranges from low to high, regulated by strength of nerve impulses and amounts of various body chemicals. Chemicals related to pleasure, such as dopamine and serotonin, and chemicals related to stress such as cortisol and adrenaline. Pleasure and enjoyment increase behaviors as people choose to do what is pleasurable and stress reduces behaviors as people avoid unpleasant situations and limit opportunities associated with actions that increase anxiety.
As arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) increases it can, to a point, increase a person’s effort to set and achieve goals related to the incident of arousal. The amount of arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) that is beneficial varies from person to person, situation to situation, and type of activity, (activities with large motor skills (rescue tasks, American football, rugby), can be enhanced with greater stress and activities with fine motor skills (art, music, softball, basketball, golf, tennis, ...) are inhibited when stress increases. However, there probably is a level for everyone where too much arousal leads to errors and failure to achieve goals. Further the amount of arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) a person experiences doesn’t always rise and fall along a smooth up and down path, but can spike and decline, with positive and negative thoughts. Choking is considered a massive negative arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) effect that causes a sudden failure of desired goals being achieved.
Arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) can cause physical effects: butterflies, increased heart rate, sweat, defer digestion, increase blood pressure, breathing, and a flushed appearance. It also causes emotional (cognitive) effects that range from low, being curious (felt as wonder, amazement, worry, self doubt, and what’s up), medium being anxious (felt as being unpleasant, nervousness, worry, and apprehension), and high being stressed (felt as threatened, humiliated, a strong desire to remove a threat by flight, and frozen in fear).
Flow, or being in the zone, suggests an optimal level of arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) is achieved and a person attains her or his best physical performance with minimal mental effort. Meaning they can use metacognition to achieve intrinsic motivational-efficacy to control internal and external demands and achieve optimal performance and control anxiety (arousal, stress, and anxiety) by counteracting any potential negative effects by redirecting their actions, exerting more effort on the task, using relaxation techniques, stress management techniques, and mental visioning.
Paralysis by analysis is the idea that performance deteriorates when anxiety increases and a person consciously tries to control physical activities that are usually executed automatically. While this is most likely true during the execution of an action, it is not necessarily true between actions. Think about, going up the stairs. If a person analyzes their performance while going up or down the stairs, that can cause miss steps. However, if one uses metacognition before the stairs and concludes with a thought of just do it without thinking, now go, this usually creates success. While you don’t see many people think too much before going up and down stairs. You can see people who get on and off moving sidewalks and escalators stop and size-up the situation and then go. The same can be practiced for performance: think big circles, straight line, release smooth, big breath now do it.
Effects of arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) on performance
A major factor between the relationship of stress and performance is the way a person perceives a stressful experience and their predisposition to worry or become anxious created by a person’s genes, environment, and epigenetic factors. Other factors that cause arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) is the perceived importance of up coming events, need for success (don’t care or want perfection), fear of failure, the importance of the results of the event (increasing from a regular competition, to a game with a rival, to a state tournament).
Emotional factors (mental, cognitive) are related to hormone function, genetic inheritance, epigenetics, and interactions with the environment. With variability related to past experiences, learning, imagination (complexity of task), learning habits, performance memory, and locus of control (beliefs about causes of success and failure and self-efficacy).
Competition worry (arousal, stress, and anxiety), is not always detrimental to performance as it causes arousal and motivates performers to invest more effort in the tasks, which is necessary to perform better. Although, greater effort requires more energy and if continued for a prolonged period of time, a decline in performance will eventually follow.
What happens after an error or a physically superior opponent is met?
All events are registered in multiple parts of the brain. One part of the brain can create a psychologically threat of error or perceived mental weakness which can negatively affect another part of the brain and create performance problems. In other words. The frontal cortex in the brain combines reported physical responses with reported mental emotional responses and creates a perceived reality. A person can use it to energize their performance to do well; or believe there are insurmountable obstacles and decrease performance. Therefore, anxiety is a construct of internal and external physical consequences and emotional intuition used to initiate future mental and physical behavior.
The ultimate beneficial goal for arousal (arousal, stress, and anxiety) is to use it to achieve flow. Flow is achieved with metacognition to analyze a situation with sufficient intrinsic motivational-efficacy to control internal and external demands to manage and achieve optimal performance.
Successful performers counteract any potential negative effects by exerting more effort on a task using metacognition, redirecting and refocusing actions, relaxation, and goals to maintain or improve their performance.
Effects of Attributes for self-efficacy or success
Attribution theory describes what people believe caused their success or failure. Attribute theory, or a person’s self-efficacy, can be described by six variables: 1. ability, 2. effort, 3. task, 4. luck, and if a person believes the attributes are either 5. stable or unstable, (changeable or not) and 6. internal or external. Internal, inside themselves so they are able to change and get better. External, outside themselves so change is out of their control (rationalize errors as caused by being unlucky, coach, other players, referee, crowd, arena, field, weather, and so on).
For more information see the flow chart http://www.homeofbob.com/cman/general/motivation/motivatn.html for explanation of tasks and variables that affect a person’s self-efficacy, which is a strong predictor of success.
Changing a person’s attribute perceptions (self-efficacy) requires they believe if they increase their effort to improve their ability by learning how to do the tasks necessary to be good, then they will be successful by taking control of challenges presented. To establish success a person must use metacognition to analyze how to practice and develop specific strategies for success and an explanation that ability is controlled by them (internally) and, changeable (variable) with practice (effort). Monitored with metacognition to change strategies (tasks) used during practice and a game. They learn how to use metacognition to monitor themselves with direct observations of their actions and being aware of physiological cues of their current emotional state. As they do they increase their belief in their abilities and flexibility to adapt to a challenge and increase their intrinsic motivational-efficacy.
Internal locus of control is associated with empowerment, taking charge, and getting things done. External is associated with less effort, hoping for a lucky break, and physical or emotional anxiety. An internal locus of control if linked with moderate arousal / anxiety / stress can be claimed as motivation to increase performance.
Arousal, stress, and anxiety techniques and effects
Arousal techniques to motivate includes internal self-talk, external talk, actions of other people through conversations, body language, books, and video. Motivation by definition increases arousal, stress, and anxiety which can go beyond a beneficial level. Speeches, sarcasm, demonstrations, pep talks, criticism, support and more, redirection, a person’s body language, facial expressions, language, and other environmental conditions influence how a person feels and affects the decisions they make, whether they are aware or not. It is important for people to to know that mental emotional responses are constantly being made by all, often before a person is consciously aware of them if they do become conscious. For example people pick up on prompts that will shape their feelings and actions. Studies have shown people can unconsciously smell fear and disgust, read body language of others when they are bored, hungry, impatient, angry, sad, and happy. Even if others don’t consciously become aware of these signals their unconscious can and it will influence their feelings positively and negatively.
The brain is influenced by every experience you have ever had.
Techniques for intrinsic motivational-efficacy
A person with high intrinsic motivational-efficacy realizes what level of arousal, stress, anxiety, or pressure is good for them and recognizes when it begins to be too much and might cause failure. They know how much pressure they need to challenge their abilities and use metacognition and self-talk to analyze a situation and decide when to refocus and initiate relaxation techniques to maintain optimum control by sticking to routines, using relaxation techniques, and refocusing to reduce distractions and move into flow. The focus is to enjoy the present by maintaining calm with optimum performance, not speculating on later plays or final results.
People need to be prompted and encouraged, during practice and games, to monitor their arousal level and take an appropriate action to maintain an optimal level. It isn’t always important to know the source of arousal, stress, or anxiety, but it is important to feel something has changed and initiate a refocus, relaxation procedure, In practice different scenarios can be provided to help players get better at initiating them. One way to provide opportunities are, what if-scenarios, some many be announced before hand and others not. In a scrimmage set up unexpected situations. For example, tell them you are simulating a challenge and before each inning flip a coin: if it’s heads tell them they already have one out and if its tales tell them they have two. Or you might periodically call base runners out when they are safe. Or let a close foul ball be fair. (two goals never assume, play it out, and how to refocus after bad call). When players react, stop and analyze their reaction, tell them the play is over, the decision is made. Ask them how they should react? Review as necessary to: focus on the now, past is past, need to refocus, relax, take charge and move forward to get back into flow. The same can be done by calling fouls. Or if one squad is executing real well, remove a player from the game and challenge others to step up and return to flow. In basketball stress / challenge one team by playing with 4 on 5, or 6 on 5, or keep inserting players until they get frustrated, then ask, them, what they need to do? Use metacognition to analyze, focus, relax, and accept the challenge.
Relaxation techniques and effects
Ask players if they have a relaxation technique. If not provide examples and have them select one and practice it. Relaxation techniques alone were not found to be affective. However, in combination with other techniques (metacognition, self-talk, refocus, and move on) they were.
Example: take a deep breath and relax your muscles. Take in a deep breath while counting to 10, hold for two seconds, and release as count back to 0. Imagine the stress or tension moving to your lungs and as you relax and exhale, imagine it drains away with the air exhaled.
Tense all muscles and breath in, while muscles are tense hold breath for five seconds, slowly exhale and relax muscles for five seconds. Imagine the stress or tension moving to your lungs and as you relax and exhale, imagine it drains away with the air exhaled.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) first tense muscles: make a fist and tense, then lower arm, upper arm, shoulders, neck, head, lower body, ... for 5-7 seconds. then relax for 0 seconds by relaxing muscles in arms, then face, neck, shoulders, upper back, stomach, lower back, hips, legs, feet, and toes; then take a few steps forward and walk away from it.
Goal setting techniques and effects
Studies suggest goal setting can be very beneficial. It is achieved through distinct steps. See below.
Break down a general goal (like winning a game) into a number of smaller and more specific goals and make what is to be achieved less intimidating and more achievable. Goals can be easy to create, but procedures to achieve them are more difficult. Procedures need to be outlined and described (how to relax, refocus, stand in the batters box, bat, pitch, shoot a free throw, offensive sets, defensive sets, ...).
After goals are established everyone needs to discuss, comment, and negotiate any changes until everyone agrees and believes they are achievable. Then from time to time the goals need to be reviewed and from time to time everyone needs to be reminded what they have agreed upon to do to achieve them. If there are setbacks, then goals need to be immediately reviewed and adjusted so everyone believes they can be achieved. (Example: One of four pre-game goals to win game. 1 hold turnovers to less than seven ... . At halftime have six turnovers. Ret set with we are in game with six, but be nice if didn’t get six the second half. Or season goal: to go undefeated, if lose a game, then adjust to win next game and then take it from there.)
Discuss if goals are achievable some ideas to consider. Might they cause players to over work and burn out physically or emotionally? Does everyone believe the goal are achievable and will be worth their efforts or did they set them too high to please others? Do they suggest a value for practice?
Four step procedure for setting and achieving goals
Focus on the situation and recognize a need for change. Think of how it will help you, how it may help others, how you will feel after you accomplish it, and then the hardest part is just getting started. So go...
Select a goal
State the goal clearly. What will be done when it is achieved.
I walk / jog 20 laps or twenty minutes each day.
I will read a book of my choice at least 30 minutes each day.
I will do 15 push-ups after each TV program I watch.
Check to see if the goal is realistic and attainable.
Have I done this before?
Are you trying to do too much for two weeks. For example: If you can only do 15 push-ups now, then start with 16, instead of 30. Then increase by 1 each day so you can do 3o at the end.
Select effective strategies. Write a procedure for your plan to implement and achieve your goal.
Write your procedure for achieving the goal. Include suggested time to start and how to record your progress.
I will go to the rec center at __:___and walk and jog on the track 20 laps or for twenty minutes each day after school and on week ends in the early afternoon.
I will choose a book and read for at least 30 minutes each evening. I will sit on a chair in a quiet place (living room, den, kitchen ...) from 8:00 - 8:30 each night.
Monitor, evaluate, and reflect how to monitor the progress of the procedure to achieve the goal and how to adjust if necessary.
I will record what I do each day, think about my achievement, and get psyched for tomorrow.
Source: http://www.homeofbob.com/health/mentalEmotional/mentalEmotionalWS1.html
Imagery techniques and effects
Studies show mental rehearsal is better than none, but not better than actual practice. Players frequently use mental rehearsal. Often for several benefits. Focus attention on the task, free their minds from unnecessary thoughts by redirecting, and relax. A major benefit is to decrease stress, anxiety, or threat a person perceives for an activity and increase their performance.
Shadow practice free throws, practice swinging a bat, or manipulating other equipment. This rehearsal is a relaxation technique both mentally and physically for relaxing and stretching muscles. It is also a focusing technique to focus on the soon to come activity, and a redirecting technique to move away from unnecessary thoughts and onto the present task and it’s performance. Instead of just swinging a bat the person should visualize a ball being thrown at them, swinging the bat, and hitting the ball. Or a free throw going through the hoop as they shadow throw. During practice let players know these multiple reasons.
Other beneficial examples of imagery is to show players images of the arena, stadium, court, pool, studio, auditorium, or ball field before arrival of their performance.
Other imagery activities would be to imagine the activity. Imagine walking into the ball park, hitting, fielding, pitching, scoring, playing well. Envision these events from both an external (outside their body view) and internal (inside their body view) imagery.
What if? scenarios effects
Pressure is an emotional mental perception. It is the brain’s interpretation of a situation (see introduction on how factors affect the mind). An intrinsic motivational-efficacy solution to deal with pressure (similar to stress) is to shape it as a challenge to demonstrate ability to meet a challenge. It does not have to be perceived as a threat.
Example: I feel pressure throwing from third base to first.
Change the perception of the player.
Possible activity: Convince the player that throwing the ball to first is part of a bigger challenge, throwing the runner out at first. By looking at the total play, pressure for one aspect can be relieved by, analyzing the entire play and comparing it to others. Compare the distance the ball has to travel from third to first, second to first, and short to first. Then compare how long it takes for the ball to travel from each position. Have someone stand at second, short, and third and all throw the ball at the same time at a cone placed on first and compare the time difference between the balls when they hit the cone or cross first. Also compare the difference while a base runner runs from home to first with the same three fielders throwing to first when a runner is running to first. Again all throwing at the same time starting when the runner is about a third or half way to first. Notice the difference. Get the players to see that while the throw is important in the play it usually takes less time than the time it takes the ball to arrive to the point where they can field it. This puts the play in context and increases opportunities for errors to be over come.
The goal is to get players to think thoughts like: I love the challenge of making plays. I am pretty good at fielding so that part of the play is okay. If I practice throwing from different positions, I can become better. Practicing with a runner let me see I can get the ball there quicker than I thought so I don’t have as much pressure as I thought. However, I can now recognize when I am beat on a good bunt or slow roller and should not try to make an impossible play and make a bigger mistake.
Focus or Refocus attention techniques and effects
Focus and ignore distractions. The secret of holding your focus under pressure is to concentrate on something specific, relevant, and under your control. Usually, that is concentrating on a specific aspect of preparation and using relaxation techniques.
Concern, arousal, anxiety, stress are not necessarily a bad thing, but merely a sign that one cares about what one is doing. Their negative effect, is they cause distractions. They can make people focus on what might go wrong, rather than on exactly what they have to do, usually with negative consequences.
So, work to focus on the immediate challenge, use self talk to review practice procedures, specifically for actions that can performed right now and incorporate relaxation techniques. Basically stick to pre-performance routines.
Sample techniques
Putt golf balls while performing a secondary act: stand on one leg, close one eye, wink while shooting, ...
A basketball and football drill has all players face a coach while the coach moves a ball left, right, forward, backward, up, and down and the players respond as the ball moves. Usually thought of as an agility drill it can also be used to help players clear their mind as they focus on the ball and try to get into flow as the ball moves around for a period of time.
Pillowing players with a pillow or pad while they catch a pass helps them focus on catching and securing the ball.
Simulate adverse conditions, bad umpiring decisions, talking constantly to the batter, pitcher, or shooter. (trash talk?) Blowing a whistle during a play.
Focus and zoom in on relevant information without distraction. Focus on ball control, where to move or pass while moving.
Push for flow by trying to clear the mind. Move away from self-talk used during practice about how to perform the skill and make performance automatic or in the flow of the game. Does time or action slow down? Feel like slow motion? Feel like you are holding and feeling the ball for a longer time?
Feel heart beat and breathing with rhythm of running or swimming.
Concentrate on what is important and maintain it. Listen as team mate or coach give directions for next action while playing.
Scrimmage with speed-up rules to increase focus. Softball and baseball play with one pitch for each batter: hit, strike out or walk. No dribble basketball.
Focus and refocus after practice and competition
Talk about how good or bad participants think practice was or how they did in a competition and what effects impacted the game. Talk about how to eliminate errors, how you can change: after practice, after a game, win, big win, unexpected loss, near miss.
Always start by talking about success. What went well and how practice helped and if there were times when they refocused or turned things around. Talk about failure, but move from success to failure and back to success. When talk about failure, be sure to mention what can be done to improve. Might want to mention how much worse things might have been if they were complacent or misused time to improve performance during practice if that is true.
Also counterfactual thinking can increase and decrease achievement. Talking about what might have happened, good and bad, provides opportunities to prepare for future events. Like what if scenarios only better because it puts players into an actual context of an actual performance which increases their urgency to set and achieve goals.
Physical practice and increased ability effects on intrinsic motivational-efficacy techniques and effects
There certainly is a direct link between the quality of practice and the quality of performance. While this article won’t discuss practice methodology or strategies it is important to make sure participants know how practice fits with performance goals. This is important so participants can attach value to practice time and connect it to what they want to achieve.
Additionally it is important to incorporate other factors of intrinsic motivational-efficacy into practice: relaxation techniques, refocus techniques, what if strategies, and visualization techniques. When practicing it is important to try to encourage participants to use these techniques on their own. To help this along during practice stop and wait to see if they do and if not, suggest to use a specific intrinsic motivational-efficacy techniques when appropriate.
Team formation steps
acquire members;
set goals;
compete for positions, select procedures and strategies to achieve goals, practice till to clarify, practice to attain skill and automaticity is demonstrated and a cohesive team is formed;
perform in competition or goal specified activities to achieve set goals;
celebrate, debrief, and disband.
While successful teams are cohesiveness. Studies aren’t definite on whether cohesiveness affect success or success affect cohesiveness. Additionally when teams achieve cohesiveness additional activities to strengthen it have little affect.
Audience and spectators techniques and effects
While individuals performs in front of audiences in a variety of ways, studies suggest extroverts perform better in front of an audience and introverts perform better alone. Studies also show that home teams have a distinct advantage with the advantage increasing with the size of the crowd. This heightened arousal is suggested as a cause of experts performing better and non experts performing worse with performance being proportional to crowd size. This evidence might be related to a person’s drive to succeed. However, this effect seems to break down when players compete in high pressure games, where spectators, fans, and other by-standers expect the team to do well and are highly critical when they evaluate each player when they make errors. Instead of unconditional support of each individual’s relative performance and forgiving errors or accepting them as part of the game.
Leadership techniques and effects
While many teams elect captains the best teams have participants that if not a captain have the characteristics of a leader and will step up as necessary to perform with the following characteristics.
Are focused with mental toughness and determined to perform consistently in competitions.
Seek and desire challenges and approach them with a positive attitude for successful change.
Have coping skills to know their own emotions and others and manage them to performance optimally under pressure.
Use IME, confidently and are positive they can reduce tension and stress to focus, relax. and meet challenges successfully.
Have drive and ambition to commit and persist in taking an active role in practice and competition.
Communicate with team mates to participate consistently without confusion.
Are fit and able to physically perform at a high level with vigor and without fatigue.
Are honest.
Are intelligent.
Have expertise in the goals of the group.
Are creative, imaginative, and have originality.
Are flexible yet can maintain and control attention to attend to multiple tasks necessary for present and future successes.
Putting it all together
Discussion has focused on mental and physical events and their possible affects on a person’s intrinsic motivational-efficacy. This section discusses cumulative effects events can have on a person’s performance and how individual effects might combine to affect a teams’ performance.
Each player begins with an initial vision of the game, a vision expressed as a probability of success say between 100% and 0%. 100% being guaranteed success and zero definitely going to fail. Each player begins with their initial success vision percentage, based on factors such as: each person’s own intrinsic motivational-efficacy, physical ability, sleep, nutrition, ability to adapt, anxiety, known ability of the players on each team, reputation of each team for winning and losing, current records of each team, healthiness of each team, awareness of preparation for the game, reputation of coaches, each persons belief in their abilities to play in the up coming game, and other factors.
The initial vision percentage is only a starting point and very susceptible to change, which is important. So when each person walks onto the field or court, their vision percentage changes. It can go up as they walk onto their home field or court and the fans welcome them and they believe in their readiness or it can go down as they run out of the visitor’s tunnel and see the home crowd surrounding them turned in the opposite direction screaming for the home team as wonder and doubt enters their mind.
As the game begins the vision percentage changes as the game unfolds. A successful play causes it to increase, an unsuccessful one causes it to decrease, a successful play practiced for the game will increase the vision percentage more than just a successful play. Likewise an unsuccessful practiced play will decrease the vision percentage more than just an unsuccessful play.
Other factors such as hand slaps, coaching praise, smiles, and other encouraging acts will increase the vision percentage even more as positive chemicals are released sending positive signals. Likewise, acts as head lowering, eye rolling, disagreeing with umpires and referees, getting mad, slapping the floor or throwing equipment in anger, negative fan interactions with the players, will decrease the vision percentage as negative chemicals are released sending negative signals.
So each player’s vision percentages goes up and down as the game unfolds affecting the way they play the game and the results affecting their vision percentages. It is possible it continues to go up and down and through out the game without much variation. It is also possible at some time during the game the vision percentage moves mostly in one direction as their performance is dominating or if they are being dominated. This is discussed later when consider vision percentages for teams.
Beyond the actual game impacting the vision percentage each player’s intrinsic motivational-efficacy can have a tremendous impact on the team. Players who recognize set backs and doubt and react to it as a challenge can stop a vision percentage decline by initiating practiced actions: looking up instead of down, smiling instead of frowning, initiating a relaxing and refocus action, and remove themselves from a negative reactive state and put themselves back into a positive flow state.
A changing vision model (explanation) describes how constantly changing emotions shapes and is shaped by a person’s intrinsic motivational-efficacy and their reactions in real time to their recent and present experiences, particularly experiences from practices and performances. Consider a team’s vision percentage as an average of all player’s vision percentage on the same team. The average is responsive to how each person prepares and reacts to challenge as well as the team’s performance. Any increase or decrease of each person’s vision percentage changes the overall team’s vision percentage accordingly, as the team’s score is calculated as a sum of all the players in the average. Demonstrating how one person’s performance can have a big or small change on the team’s overall performance depending on quality of play.
Many small effects add together to determine the outcome of a performance, However, when people reflect on a game they often suggest a turning point where one team dominates from that point to the end of the game. A turning point for winning or losing. To focus on that point is like focusing on the part of the iceberg above water and ignore most of the berg, which is below water. To focus on the turning point overlooks everything, that leads up to that point and what happened after. For example, driving with GPS guidance. It warns you several times before a turn and you either begin to prepare for the turn and execute it or for some reason don’t and miss the turn. It is very evident that the turning point is where the mistake happened. However, events before the turn will either set up a successful turn or a missed turn. While driving from point A to point B a driver may miss one turning point, however, it doesn’t always mean there isn’t an alternative route to the same destination. The model anticipates high points and low points as a performance unfolds and players who understand this can accept a set back as a temporary event and a challenge to relax, refocus, and move back to flow.
When two teams meet, achieve flow and maintain it the entire game, you end up with a classic game where the score goes back and forth until time runs out and the team that scores last often wins. In games that have turning points, one team reaches a point where they do something that seems like the losing team accepts, as the last straw, and realizes the other team or person will be successful.
It also explains why it is possible for two teams to play each other, at two different times during a season, and each time they met, each team dominated the other after some point in the game and went on to win by a substantial margin.
Even if you try and fail you have succeeded, because you tried.

Research summaries:
Technical instruction improved intrinsic motivation.
Tangible reinforcement: Some studies show athletes performance declines after lucrative contracts. Football running backs don’t run as hard after being paid.
Research suggests peoples actions in sports and other physical activities are more likely to be intrinsically motivated and reach the level of self actualization in Maslow’s hierarchy. And conversely athletes who reach the top of their field are successful because their self actualization motivates and fulfills them.
Studies suggest it is a mistake to try to link physical anxiety, emotional anxiety, and self confidence together to create one factor to rate arousal, since they appear to singularly affect people in different ways.
The McClelland–Atkinson theory of need achievement describes the relationship of motivation to achievement as the desire to achieve minus the fear to fail.
Studies showed self-efficacy can be used to improve performance.
Studies showed previous performance is a strong predictor of success.
Variables with a strong affect on achievement were probability of success and incentive for success,
Studies showed people base future success on their last attempt, success relative to peers, and as a results relative to their of efforts,
Individuals will loaf when they are in groups. In tug-a-war each person’s pull when pulling together was less than each pulling alone, in races times were slower when run alone than together
Group think can cause teams to focus on a specific strategy and ignore strategies which are much more beneficial and sometimes safer. Don’t rock the boat or wear blinders.
Studies suggest extroverts performed better in front of an audience and introverts perform better alone.

For more information on how the brain works and behavior, I encourage you to read Behave by Robert Sapolsky or other brain and neuroscience sources.
Motivation http://www.homeofbob.com/cman/general/motivation/motivatn.html
Reinforcement http://www.homeofbob.com/cman/intrvntns/beehav/renfrcmnt.html
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs http://www.homeofbob.com/health/mentalEmotional/mentalEmotionalWS1.html#. Explains what causes people to be motivate as a person needs for survival, well being, and happiness.
Sport Psychology A Student’s Handbook http://www.imd.inder.cu/adjuntos/article/566/Sport%20Psychology%20A%20Student's%20Handbook.pdf by Matt Jarvis



Editor comments

Chris below. my response
Thanks for the thoughts and comments. 
I have read them a couple of times, highlighted the key ideas and added notes to my original document so I can go back and review them when I edit it again. 
I didn't use the word meditation, but could include it when I mention relax and refocus. I certainly thought about it when I did write those parts.
  I whole heartedly agree with the difficulty of changing behavior and making it become self-initiated for each person. Teachers have to learn to deal with it early on or they will burn out or become totally apathetic. THey need to know it takes a lot of practice over a long time for little changes. I think you know that because you know how much time it took till Aurora was able to remind herself to focus before each pitch relax and throw with flow, during a game, as I am sure you reminded her hundreds of times, before she would consistently do it without a prompt. That is what really good teachers have to learn, that it is normal to take a long time for students to learn and use non prompted actions and teachers need to be patient and willing to continue to remind their students in a low key manner, accept forgetfulness, and try to come up with another way to practice for self initiated discipline in future activities. 
I think I assumed the reader would figure that out so an edit to include a more powerful way to include how developing a routine to self-initiate IME and then practicing it and other routines focus, relax, refocus, engage to create flow... will take a lot of time, patience, and practice. If that makes sense.
Last, I could add a bit more on nutrition, particularly with emotions, hormones, ...
Thanks a lot.

I just read through your paper. Very informative writing!
I have some thoughts.. and as I sat to write them down, they usually don't come out the way I want them to. So, I thought I would just blab in an email.
The content is good. I think that for the most part, some coaches might see this as a refresher as well as an educational paper to teach young student athletes.
I am a newbie to working with kids on the field.. but i do have experience as a parent and as a pseudo former athlete as well.
I could see Rob reading this and gaining some knowledge.. but i could also see him reading through this with the perception of I have either tried that or with an attitude of good luck getting the boys or girls to buy off, etc."
A couple of things I think could be integrated (and I know you did to a certain degree) is a deeper understanding of players perceptions into this world and their belief systems that have been set into motion through parenting, environmental, social and health attributes. We have 11 different types of personalities on our softball team. Each person is unique and some require more focus and attention. I like the ideas of setting goals. whether they are team or even individual goals.. However, Angela has been working in the fitness industry for 18 years and has no interest in being a personal trainer because most people don't have the self motivation or dare I say awareness to maintain goals. If they miss a goal, they get down on themselves. Our society has taught people that going "upstream" is the only way to success.. and where Angela and I disagree is that you should be able to float "downstream" and be successful. Some may say that, that is being lazy and it takes hard work and determination. Where I might see it as being methodical and aware of time management or other skills.
That doesn't mean that success is an overnight achievement. Unfortunately that has been baked into the perceptions of humans as well. Especially parents.
Take Aurora for example.. and I only bring her up because I have the ability to work with her on a day by day basis. Not only is life about repetition and balance at home, work or school but also on the field. I saw a lot of ideas for on the field exercises and I know it is about "sport psychology" but 95% of her life is off the field. To me, its about buying into a greater purpose. It's not necessarily the honor of putting on a Blue Devil uniform as it is to prove to yourself that you can build up mental fortitude and break down anxiety at the same time. I teach Aurora that everything goes hand in hand and is connected. You can't have anxiety if you are feeling good. and you can't feel good if you are experiencing anxiety. However, YOU are the creator of your own reality and YOU have the ability to change it at any given moment in time. To me, that is the power of sports psychology. If you can get athletes to buy into the fact that they have the power to change how hey feel at any given present moment, then they are empowered. There is only the present moment. You can't wait for that strike or that homer or someone else to come and change your perception.. That is up to you.

Since Aurora has been going through some hardships with her mother and her drinking.. One of things I always ask her is "Who is in control of your mother?" and then I ask her, "who is in control of you?"
For quite some time, it frustrated Aurora because all she wanted to do was help her mom or try to make her happy.. But the reality of it is that she has no control over her and she now understands that. We set goals for Aurora and unless you are there every day to monitor it and help make it routine, I bet 8 or 9 times out of 10, that person (or Aurora) would end up disappointing themselves. To me that is the biggest problem with youth sports. There really is no one there to monitor the "goals" outside of practice.. Sure, there are some parents who will take the time, but most of the time, parents think that it is up to the coach to turn their kids into a super star.. So the expectations are set up for failure in the first place. So what happens when they show up to practice and the coach asks them if they met their goals that week and they didn't? I think you get that point with all of your years of teaching and students not showing up with finished homework. It instantly manifests a negative emotion. Not a good way to start practice or class.
I think it is much deeper than that but can also be simplified. Of course kids want to know "what's in it for me".. and what I told our girls is that through any experience comes contrast. and in that contrast you will either except growth or you will give into fear.  Where do you want to be? 
Another thing that I think needs mentioning is nutrition. The crap that kids eat in between games, etc. is beyond atrocious.. Something that might help you add this in is to maybe research Tom Brady. He just turned 40 and has hardly been injured.. Now I know his line deserves a lot of credit.. but let's be honest.. At some point a LB is going to get you. He has been eating clean for years. He watches what he eats, daily.
We all know that there are foods that when you consume them, they affect your nervous system.. Just as alcohol does. Processed sugars are one of them. This is a tough one though because it takes time to recalibrate the body from processed sugars through consistent diet.. So kids are going to have a hard time buying into it. But if you eat processed foods that spike insulin and create inflammation, the body has to release cortisol to combat that inflammation.. and Cortisol is one of the chemicals that induces anxiety or the "Flight" behavior. Angela has been preaching this for years and hates to see girls eating loads of candy before a game because of what it actually does to your mental and physical response system.
Another exercise that helps dramatically for us is meditation. Focus on a noise or light and breathe. Let everything go. for 15 minutes a day. That is it..People have a difficult time doing it.. but I know from practice that if he took some of his practice time to have quiet meditation, it would help them refocus their energy "quickly" whenever they need to in life. But there comes in the belief part. People have to believe that it can work. One thing i do with Aurora is we sit around our singing bowl and have quiet meditation and then we go out and practice.. When she gets frustrated, we pause and I tell her to remember the sound of the bowl.. as soon as she throws a good enough pitch, I praise her for going to that place and refocusing. Focusing tools are a good way to help people not only focus but also as a connector to an emotion when they do something good. You spoke about the blinders for basketball.. To me that is a tool to assist with a physical aspect of the game. A noise or chime or something else goes a long way to focusing the mental aspect of the game.. Especially when you get to the point where the actual tool does not need to be present. Just getting the person to go inside their consciousness and see it or hear, is enough to cause a disruption in the vibration of their thought pattern.
Drills and exercises are good and necessary.. but balance and belief goes a long way. I don't think it is just an individual effort and I know you understand the importance of group activities. You have been doing it since the 70's.. The community also needs to buy into it. I think a presentation to the athletes and the parents could be a great start. I know this is for a class... but maybe it could turn into a night time presentation with parents and athletes? I know Rob has his opinions about Matt Ley.. but his wife is probably the best person to get on board with the nutrition part of it in the community. They have the social and economical power to get heavily involved and from what I have seen with her on FB, she does care about the nutrition of the community.
By bringing the right people together to help, i think it could go a long way. Not everyone needs to be the coach. It's tough because most people won't change unless it's a life changing event.. but if you could implement subtle changes over time, it would be imbedded into their beliefs. Just by telling a person that they are in control of their lives, could give that person enough momentum to change their lives on and off the field. Consistent empowerment. repetitive empowerment. positive empowerment. 
I told Aurora that if she can empower herself to break away from her moms house and spend the night with us that maybe her mom will see that as a gesture that her daughter is growing up and becoming more independent. That thought right there might trigger a response in her mind that says "wow if my 10 year old daughter can find the strength to overcome her fears, maybe I can do it too."
We can't underestimate the power of positive and negative. Truth and falsehoods. Yin and Yang. Strength and weakness. The sine wave of biological being. Its up to each individual where they want to hang out on that wave. You can either ride it or sink to the bottom of it. Can it be that simple?
OK.. I am done for now. I need to get lunch.
I appreciate you taking the time to send that to me and to get that together for Rob. It is the missing link to the success of any community or program. Hell, its the missing link to most peoples lives. Belief in yourself goes a long way.. But I know that those circuits can be wired and contrast in life assists in the process. Do you sink or swim along the sine wave of life?
Thanks again for sharing.


Exposure to intermittent stressors - cold and exercise Dr. Dienstbier. Article

You are lucky to be here and have this opportunity to prove how good you are.
Can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them.
Going to be unexpected ups... will make errors inevitable
First base stretch to get ball quicker to beat the runner.
Play big (flow) rather than play to win.

Study shows infants make more attempts to achieve a goal when they see adults persist. Would extrapolate that... When a coach persists or doesn’t give up on them, players will attempt more to achieve goals.

CLose eyes, have players move, open eyes and make fast decision on your move to continue game.




Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
[Home: homeofbob.com & schoolofbob.com ]