COLLEGE SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY
(a) COLLEGE ATHLETE SUCCESS TEST – INDIVIDUAL SPORTS / TEAM SPORTS
Athletic success takes more than just talent; it calls upon and tests both the mind and body. Researchers have been trying for years to determine what an elite athlete is made of, and what is required to give and maintain a consistently strong performance. As a Historical testimonial, Equipped with this type of insight and understanding in 2010, De La Salle University under Director Ed Reyes of the Office of Sports Development was able to lead their athletes to the 2011 and 2012 overall championships of the UAAP tournament. An advisory was provided which constituted the psychotherapeutic coaching guideline.
Athletic success takes more than just talent; it calls upon and tests both the mind and body. Researchers have been trying for years to determine what an elite athlete is made of, and what is required to give and maintain a consistently strong performance. Equipped with this type of insight and understanding, coaches can gain a greater understanding of what it takes to be a mental and physical competitor.
Research on the performance of professional athletes has shown that there are five main factors that contribute to success:
- Elite athletes are highly committed to excel and succeed, and show amazing determination when it comes to achieving their goals.
- They are confident in themselves and their skills, refuse to let self-doubt enter into their mind, and take responsibility for their performance, whether good or bad.
- They show exceptional emotional control and are able to handle stress effectively, often using it to their advantage. They are highly adaptable in any competitive situation, and refuse to engage in behaviors that could put themselves or others in danger.
- Their body is their temple. They are dedicated to staying in the best shape possible, but are careful not to push their body too hard. They have exceptional self-discipline, and are always willing to learn and improve.
o They use their greatest gift to their advantage: their mind. Elite athletes have exceptional mental focus and strength, using a multitude of visualization, motivation, and concentration techniques to get into “game mode“.
The goal of this assessment is to provide insight into the psychological aspect of the athete’s performance, and to evaluate whether the athlete possesses the traits and skills needed to be both a physical and mental competitor. As any elite athlete would know, the game starts long before you step out of the locker room. While raw talent can provide the basis for a good performance, it is the psyche that turns it into a great one. Here are the factors that are assessed and comprise the variables that lead to an overall score:
OVERALL SCORE: Extent to which a person possesses the traits and skills that can help him or her succeed in sports.
COACHABILILTY: Assesses whether an athlete’s disposition and attitude are likely to benefit from coaching, or could cause difficulties or friction.
WORK ETHIC: Extent to which a person behaves in a diligent, reliable, and ethical manner, is willing to work hard, and play by the rules.
COMPETITIVENESS: Degree to which a person strives to be the best and to win.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Willingness to take responsibility for one’s behavior, and mistakes.
SELF-CONTROL: Ability to regulate & manage emotions and behaviors; to stay disciplined
PERSEVERANCE: Degree to which a person is goal oriented and persistent.
GAME PREPAREDNESS: Extent to which a person puts a conscientious effort into getting ready for a game.
MENTAL STRENGTH: Ability to stay psychologically strong in the face of difficulty and challenge.
FOCUS: Assesses a person’s mindset and concentration skills.
ACCIDENT PRONENESS: Assesses whether a person engages in behaviors that could put him/her or others at risk.
NEED FOR SECURITY: Inability to deal with an unpredictable situation or future.
PHYSICAL TOUGHNESS: Ability to withstand physically demanding tasks and training.
ACADEMIC COMMITMENT: Assesses a person’s level of dedication to academic success.
ATHLETIC COMMITMENT: Assesses a person’s level of dedication to athletic success.
AT-RISK ATHLETE: Assesses whether a person possesses certain problematic behavioral and personality traits that could put him or her at risk.
SENSATION SEEKING: Extent to which a person desires exciting experiences, and his or her willingness to engage in dangerous/risky behavior in order to attain them.
VULNERABILITY TO PEER PRESURE: Assesses whether a person is easily influenced by others.
SENSE OF INVULNERABILITY: Tendency to adopt a dangerously optimistic, “it-willnever- happen-to-me” attitude.
RULE-BREAKING RISK: Assesses a person’s likelihood of breaking rules.
AGGRESSION: Assesses whether a person has hostile tendencies.
PROPENSITY TOWARDS DISHONESTY: Assesses whether a person could be susceptible to dishonest behavior.
IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT: This scale assesses whether questions were answered in a socially desirable manner.
ADDITIONAL DETAILED SAMPLE ASSESSMENT
Overall Score (score 81)
Test-taker’s score suggests that he is extremely well suited for an athletic career. He scored well on most, if not all the scales, and from a psychological point of view, appears to have what it takes to be a success in sports. If he possesses a knack for the physical side of the game, he has a great chance of success. More detailed information, including his strengths and weaknesses (if any), is provided in the rest of the report.
Coachability (score 86)
Test-taker appears to be a player who would be easy to get along with and to coach. He is the type of person who is humble, eager to learn, and open to any suggestions or feedback the coaching staff can offer. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Be compliant and eager to please.
- Want to be a better player, and see a great deal of value in the advice offered by the coaches.
- Take whatever knowledge is given, and put it into practice.
- Appreciate whatever success they can, and are gracious losers
- Be grateful for encouragement and don’t need to be pushed to get things going in practice and during a game.
Work Ethic (score 82)
Test-taker seems to have an impeccable work ethic and is typically a very reliable person. The coaching staff can almost always depend on him to be at his best. He is likely to put in his 100%, consistently and with the right attitude. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Keep their word.
- Show up on time for practice.
- Put in a consistent effort.
- Follow through on promises.
- Comply with rules.
Competitiveness (score 88)
Test-taker is a very competitive player. He will let his competitive nature shine through, whether it’s fighting for a top spot or battling for a win. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Try to outdo themselves (e.g. beat personal records).
- Try to outperform others; the more formidable the opponent is, the more they will want to beat their competitor.
- Get an adrenaline rush out of highly competitive situations, and have a strong desire to win.
Accountability (score 85)
Test-taker takes full responsibility for his actions. He holds himself accountable for his own behavior, which could really help his performance. Development of a player presents many challenges, and one’s ability to own errors and learn from mistakes is paramount to the process. It requires courage and humility, but taking responsibility is an attitude that earns the respect of others, and develops one’s own sense of self-respect. A potential downside to this otherwise great attitude is that John might tend to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders. If taken to an extreme, it may have a negative impact on his self-confidence, but if channeled properly, it makes coaching much easier. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Take responsibility for their actions, both good and bad, rather than blaming others.
- Feel in control of their life, rather than believing that outside sources control them, like destiny or luck.
- Create their own opportunities, rather than waiting for good things to come to them.
- Put situations in perspective and view them objectively.
- Admit mistakes and failures, and make up for them.
Self-Control (score 82)
Test-taker self-control is excellent. He rarely, if ever, loses control of his emotions, and can manage his behavior and motivate himself to get through obstacles and distractions – he almost never gives up or gives in. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Remain disciplined in the face of temptation.
- Regulate and channel negative emotions in a healthy manner.
- Behave appropriately and sensibly in most situations.
- Need little structure, but would adapt well to a structured environment (they may actually impose a structure on themselves).
Perseverance (score 75)
Test-taker seems to be a fairly perseverant person when it comes to attaining goals or committing to self-improvement. When he sets his mind to something, he can typically find the motivation and persistence within himself to keep at it and pursue his objectives fully and wholeheartedly. Players who score in this range will usually:
- Remain resilient and pick themselves up after difficult experiences (e.g. crushing losses, conflicts, harsh criticism, embarrassing mistakes, etc.).
- Press on despite roadblocks like injuries, difficult challenges, or disappointments.
- Keep their “eyes on the prize”, and see the long-term benefits of sticking to their goals.
- Depend more on internal sources of motivation (like personal pride, the desire to be a better player and learn new skills, etc.), and less on outside sources of motivation (like praise, rewards, encouragement from others, etc.).
Game Preparedness (score 78)
Getting mentally prepared for a game is generally a common practice for John. He seems to use several techniques to keep himself on the ball and ready to take on the challenges he faces. Players who score in this range can usually:
- Calm their nerves easily and get into “game mode”.
- Find ways to motivate themselves and stay motivated.
- Improve their potential for self-improvement by being more involved in pre-game preparation strategies.
Mental Strength (score 81)
Test-taker’s confidence and inner strength tend to be nearly unbreakable. He is able to stay positive in the face of trying situations and challenges, and can cope with high stress – he is not the type to crack under the pressure. In fact, tough times probably bring out the best in him. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Overcome self-doubt and negative thoughts easily (should they have any).
- Keep a positive mindset.
- Show consistency in their performances – they don’t let problems get to them to the point where they seriously hinder their actions on the field.
- Resist head games and intimidation, and don’t let people or situations throw them off keel.
- Detach themselves easily from personal problems when working.
- Accept the potential for failure or making a mistake without fear – they may not like it, but they can accept, learn from, and get over it.
Focus (score 92)
Test-taker’s level of focus is remarkable. He likely uses many concentration techniques, and rarely, if ever, lets distractions interfere with his attention, especially when he needs it most. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Get into a “zone” where they are completely focused on the game.
- Ignore outside interferences (e.g. the crowd), and internal distractions (e.g. worry, anxiety, etc.).
- Keep their mind from wandering, even when benched.
- Have keen observation skills (e.g. will try to understand opponent strategies, identify weaknesses, etc.).
Accident Proneness (score 23)
Test-taker seems to be a reasonably cautious person, and rarely engages in reckless behavior that could put his physical health or career in jeopardy. He is likely a responsible person when playing sports. Athletes who score in this range usually:
- Think of the consequences of their behavior before acting.
- Respect game rules and their coach’s rules.
- Take risks seriously and cautiously.
Need for Security (score 33)
Test-taker is generally comfortable with change and ambiguity; while he may prefer stability in his life, he likely realizes that this isn’t always possible. When a situation changes unexpectedly, he can usually adapt reasonably quickly. Players who score in this range will typically:
- Accept and understand the uncertainty of a sports career.
- Adapt fairly quickly to change or unexpected situations.
- Require little reassurance of their chances of succeeding; they take things one day at a time and work towards a goal.
Physical Toughness (score 81)
Test-taker’s physical toughness seems to be at the top level. When dealing with physically demanding preparation and tasks, he is likely to be able to keep up. This significantly improves his chances of success when up against players who are in top physical shape. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Be quite strict with their overall fitness program.
- Rigorously follow the rules of healthy habits that contribute to top shape.
- Be able to handle physically demanding tasks with stamina and endurance.
Academic Commitment (score 83)
Test-taker’s responses indicate that he is very committed to his academic success. This is very important, even if he has been given an athletic scholarship. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Be highly motivated to put in or maintain a strong academic performance.
- Be able to juggle the demands of academic and athletic success.
- Be proactive when seeking out help if they are having problems coping with their schedule, or are having academic difficulties.
Athletic Commitment (score 81)
Test-taker is very dedicated to his athletic success. Being a good athlete is extremely important to him – one of his topmost priorities. Players who score in this range tend to:
- Put a strong effort into improving their skills or working hard during practices.
- Have the motivation and confidence to be a successful athlete.
- Maintain their athletic commitment even if they have other pursuits in mind that they feel are important.
At-Risk Athlete (score 27)
Note: This scale and the ones to follow are only provided for informational purposes, and do not count towards Test-taker’s overall score. In addition, although a person may score high on these scales, it is not a direct indication that he or she will engage in the behaviors mentioned. However, if John’s results highlight any areas of concern, they should be given serious consideration.
Test-taker’s score on the At-Risk scale indicates that he possesses few of the characteristics defined in this assessment as potential risk factors for problematic behavior.
Sensation-Seeking (score 45)
Test-taker scored in the mid-range in sensation-seeking. He needs a moderate level of excitement and stimulation – not too little, not too much. Strong sensation-seekers thrive on new, intense, and varied situations. Their personalities are associated with risk-taking because sensation-seeking drives individuals to seek out highly stimulating experiences, which often include risk. Sensation-seekers have strong positive reactions to intense stimuli. While there are many constructive aspects of this personality type, those with this trait often take more risks, are more impulsive, and become bored more easily. In certain ways, a sensation-seeking personality is an asset – such individuals thrive on stress, action, uncertainty, and challenge. In other ways, it is a liability – they may take outlandish risks. The latter issue is certainly a concern. Sensation-seeking athletes may engage in disorderly conduct “off-field”, which could cost them their career, or put themselves and others in danger.
Vulnerability to Peer Pressure (score 16)
Test-taker’s responses indicate that he will rarely, if ever, give in to peer pressure. Rather than following along with the rest of the group, he almost always asserts himself and does what he feels is right, even if it may not be the most popular choice. He isn’t afraid to say “no” to people, especially in situations that involve taking reckless risks.
Sense of Invulnerability (score 44)
The Sense of Invulnerability subscale takes into account the belief that a pervasively optimistic attitude can actually be quite harmful. For people who are overly optimistic, their sense of personal control (over themselves and situations in general) is greatly overestimated. This could lead to a misjudgment of potential harm and adverse consequences when taking physical risks.
Test-taker’s results indicate that he doesn’t exhibit a sense of invulnerability. This likely means that he will almost always take the potential consequences of his actions into consideration before taking any risks. He seems to have a realistic view of his likelihood of being harmed, and will probably take every precaution necessary to prevent injury to himself or others in risk-taking situations.
Rule-breaking Risk (score 30)
Test-taker’s responses indicate that he is almost always a rule-abider. He will likely respect rules and regulations that are set in place by his coach or sports organization, and is liable to think twice before breaking rules that could get him injured or into a lot of trouble.
Aggression (score 10)
Test-taker does not appear to be the type to become hostile when dealing with others; he avoids exhibiting or verbalizing hostility and does not forcefully dominate people. He is rarely aggressive, likely preferring more peaceful methods of expressing his anger (if at all) and resolving conflicts.
Propensity Towards Dishonesty (score 17)
Although the relationship is not always cut and dry, attitudes do predict behavior. How you felt about the specific dishonest behaviors mentioned in this test is an excellent predictor of your own future behavior. However, an important issue to consider in terms of this scale is the fact that while such attitudes are highly correlated with actual behavior, the relationship is not 100%. For instance, someone may have very permissive attitudes towards occasional slips of others but that may not necessarily mean that he or she is inclined to engage in that kind of behavior. Keep that in mind while reading John’s results.
John scored low on this scale, indicating that his susceptibility for dishonest behavior is minimal. He seems to be someone who isn’t easily swayed from acting honestly even in situations where many “normal” people would feel tempted to act deceitfully. He is likely strong enough in character to resist most temptations to act in a dishonest manner.
Impression Management (score 0)
This scale assesses to what degree the results on this assessment are distorted or manipulated. Many people will try to present themselves in a better light, especially if the stakes are high.
Test-takers’ answers are compared to the responses obtained from a large sample of players. When someone systematically selects socially desirable responses that are rarely endorsed by others, there is a good reason to believe that a positive self-presentation bias is at play. A score that is suspiciously high may indicate that a person was lying, which may invalidate the whole assessment.
There was little or no indication in John’s results to suggest that he was either lying or trying to present himself in a favorable light. Therefore, his results can be seen as accurately reflecting who he is.