This case study will closely examine and outline a sports person.

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Sarah: a case study

This case study will closely examine and outline a sports person. It will provide an insight into the psychological concept of the individual, describe the consequences of this psychological concept and give a theoretical underpinning and possible suggestions of how to explain the individual’s behaviour.

The individual:

The individual in this case study is called Sarah, a 27 year old female, playing table tennis. Having started at the age of 19, she is now in her eighth year of playing, she only started playing regularly and competitive, i.e. twice or three times a week, at the age of 22 when she finally joined a club to enter competitions. She is not only competing for a local club but in addition she is part of the university squad and also plays occasionally for the county team competing in the 2nd division. Even though she is already aged 27, she is still pursuing higher ambitions, playing as a regular team member for the county league and hoping for selection into the regional team to represent North England.

The last season has been fairly successful for Sarah, having only lost very few matches. Her local team got promoted into a higher local division and is still ambitioning a further promotion with her being the most successful player in the team and one of the most successful in the league.

The start of the actual season was very promising for Sarah and her team having won all matches so far and being number one in the league table. But her appearance in the county league was not as successful. Having won the first match, she got injured in the second match, entirely rupturing one of her dominant foot’s ankle tendons. A surgery had been undertaken to fix the tendon. The accident caused a three months break from any physical activity but included physiotherapy. After this break she appeared back on court, first losing her matches but then winning occasionally. She is now slowly getting back to her old strength. Her team meanwhile lost the top position and is now third in the league, still in a good position to come back to the lead.

The psychological concept:

Sarah is reporting a severe loss of self-confidence. Feeling unsure about her ability to play well, she is not only worrying about her self and her original ambitions but also about what her fellow team members and her coach is thinking about her. Even though no negative comments about her performance were mentioned, she feels that her losses have affected the team’s overall ability. Guilt is arising in her. Not only the team’s hope for promotion seems to have gone, Sarah is very doubtful about becoming a full member of the county squad. She is now feeling very disappointed that her ambition for a national team seems to have completely gone. She is thinking that her age plus the injury and the time she’ll need to come back to full strength will not make her ambitions become fulfilled.

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When playing she feels weak and tends to think back to the times when she wasn’t injured, often saying to herself: “If I haven’t had this injury, we would still be top of the league and I wouldn’t have lost so many matches. Normally I could have beaten these opponents easily but I feel so weak on my foot since the accident”.

Consequences of the psychological concept:

Due to her ankle injury not only Sarah’s behaviour but also her cognitions and perceptions as well as emotions have been affected and changed.

Her performance is weaker than before ...

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