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Personality in Sports

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Task One Personality Personality is a mixture of a person's traits and characteristics which make them different from everyone else. Sports performers personalities' may widely vary or be very similar. When describing their personality, just listing characteristics is not always 100% accurate. This is because their characteristics may be different when not playing sports. For example, Eric Cantona may only be aggressive when on the football pitch and not in his everyday life. Because of this, Hollander then designed a structure of personality which was split into 3 layers: 1. Psychological core - true beliefs and values 2. Typical responses - normal response to a situation. 3. Role-related behaviour - response is affected by the social environment the person is in. These can also be shown on a diagram like this: Social Environment Structure of personality example - Theo Walcott. CHARACTERISTICS PSYCHOLOGICAL CORE TYPICAL RESPONSES ROLE-RELATED BEHAVIOUR Humble Quiet Motivated Committed Focussed Competitive Driven Fearless Another way in which sports psychologists differentiate between sports personalities is with the trait approach. Two psychologists, Cattell and Eyesnck, discovered that there are two types of traits: - Primary or source traits - genetic/inherited - Secondary or surface traits - influenced by learning and experiences. Eyesnck said that personality was mainly inherited traits. He came up with a way to measure these traits, on a Personality Inventory. ...read more.


I also agree with this because it seems to be displayed in everyday life and therefore is very accurate and simple. In addition to the Interactionist Theory, another theory in sports psychology is the Social Learning Theory. Badura claims that we learn to deal with situations by observing others and my modelling our own behaviour on what we have seen. Social approval or disapproval reinforces our responses. Therefore behaviour is determined largely by the situation and the role of the personality is played down. This means that the Social Learning Theory is more a theory of behaviour, not personality. The implications of social learning can be see within sport in the form of role models: For example: A netball player is in a game and accidently manages to trip up an opposing player. Instead of leaving her there to try and get the ball, she helps her up and says sorry. This would show the spectators watching that opposing teams can be nice to each other. If this behaviour is reinforced by clapping, the behaviour is more likely to be repeated. I also agree with this theory. I believe that if someone sees their idol sports player exhibit certain behaviour, it is extremely likely for them to copy it. Although, this theory would probably be most accurate if said about children. ...read more.


A theory towards motivation is the Attribution Theory. The attribution theory developed as a way of explaining how individuals and teams evaluate their levels of success and failure in performance situations. An example of a reason provided for success is that there were good decisions made by the referee. An example of a reason provided for failure is that the players were tired/injured. The attributions are important because they can affect: - Immediate emotional reactions - Actual behaviour - Aspirations - Expectations - Achievement - Motivation - Future Participation Weiner's Attribution Model This theory suggests that all reasons we give for what has caused success or failure can be grouped into several categories: - Ability - Effort - Task difficulty - Luck Weiner then organised these categories into two dimensions: locus of casualty and stability. He then put these into an 'attribution model': Attribution Errors: Attribution is closely linked to self-esteem and self confidence. Performers can use attributions to protect their self-esteem when it is threatened. This is known as self-serving bias. Success is often attributed to internal reasons (e.g. "I was just faster and fitter than the others in my race"). Failure is often attributed to external reasons (e.g. My new trainers gave me a blister within the first mile and the pain was just agony"). Attributing correctly/incorrectly can easily affect motivation. If an athlete can attribute failure to their own poor performance, they are more likely to make changes in a positive manner. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

The writer has covered a great deal in this essay although they may have gone slightly off focus when going into so much detail about motivation.

The writer needs to concentrate on all the personality theories first and foremost. They need to describe these clearly and use the occasional reference too.

The conclusion should weigh up all the information available. At present the essay ends abruptly and the conclusion is absent.

Star rating 3*

Marked by teacher Linda Penn 14/10/2013

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