Analysis of Athletes’ Behavior
Sports psychologists have determined that there is a fundamental connection between athletes’ behavior and their preparation for the sport competition. Elite athletes participating in high-energy sports like basketball, rugby, and football are known to exhibit certain identifiable characteristics just before their encounter with an opponent. Evidently, the interactions between teammates and their coaches before and during a game largely contribute to the outcome of the game. The identified interventions include communication, leadership, and the overall preparedss of a team in the form of training. Sports psychology has grown much in the recent years. It has helped to produce refined methods through which one can determine the level of preparedness of athletes to the game. Even though all athletes in a team may have equal resources in terms of trainings and advice from their coaches, some athletes perform better than others. The secret is the psychological preparedness of such athletes to identify with and play their role in a team. This paper is a response to a number of questions about athletes’ behaviors as was observed in a game.
I observed a basketball game of the Aggies and Hawai’i played at the Pavilion. The game was part of the Big West Conference Men’s Basketball played in a series. During the series, all teams had an opportunity to host other teams on their home grounds as well as travel to their opponent’s ground what is known as road games. In this particular game, the Aggies were playing on their home ground, the Pavilion. Hawai’i won the game defeating Aggies 90-70.
Match Observation Questions
1. Basketball is an energy intensive game that requires athletes to act with speed, run very fast around the field, and jump as many times as possible. Prior to the game, I observed athletes from both teams participating in some warm-up activities done separately. One of the activities was the warm-up jogging. This is common in most sports. It is meant to stimulate the flow of blood in athletes’ bodies. The exercise prepares a basketball player for the intensive physical immersion associated with the game. This exercise took around 3 minutes. The other activity that all athletes participated in was skipping. It was aimed at improving their bouncing capability during the game. The exercise also trains the feet to get off the ground quickly as well as increases the athlete’s running speed, jumping, pivoting, and rebounding skills.
2. Some athletes did pointed toes, which is mainly a performance improvement exercise. The exercise is performed by keeping front shin muscle tight while walking on heels. However, a section of the athletes did not take part in this activity. Instead, they were engaged in jogging knowing that both exercises serve the same purpose.
3. In both teams, the officials gave instructions to some of the athletes on the sidelines of the warm-up. As the pre-game preparations were on, officials from Aggies observed their athletes as well as those from the opponent team. It was done to make them feel their strengths, weaknesses, preparedness, and the general mood of the team. In addition, warm-up included lay-up lines and simple passing drills. This was to help athletes break a sweat and allow them to focus on the immediate speed of the imminent game.
4. A closer observation reveled that some athletes were taller than the others while some had more robust body structures than the rest of their teammates. Those athletes who were tall and robust looked enthusiastic about the game and smiled occasionally to their opponents. Their facial expression revealed both eagerness and anticipation. The top scorer from Aggies who also doubled as the team captain showed an extraordinary level of preparedness. However, the rest of teammates looked fatigued and tired. When the game started, both teams responded quickly to the attacks from their opponents. The coaches of the two teams showed immense leadership with each shouting to his players to take up their rightful position. By halftime, anxiety and nervousness was evident in Aggies as they were trailing by 7 points. Even though they failed to match their opponents, the top scorer in Aggies showed greater coordination. This was evident in the way he was communicating with the team members throughout the second half.
5. There was evident communication between teammates especially when the ball was in either of the teams’ court. Teammates called out the names of their colleagues to pass the ball to them in cases when they believed they were in a better position to score or pass the ball over. During turnovers, competitors communicated between themselves trying to defend their position as to why the turnover was worth or not worth. However, in all these cases, the referee came in just in time to make a decision as the overall manager of the game. Despite Hawai’i making most turnovers, they won the game at the end.
6. The shouting and cheering from the fans affected the athletes. Since the game was played in Aggies’ playground, there were more fans supporting Aggies than Hawai’i. Whenever an Aggie could get the ball, more than half of the fans would stand in cheers and encourage the player with the ball to challenge their opponents and pass the ball to the next teammate. I noticed that one player, the top scorer in this game, received more cheering from fans than the rest of the players in his team. This behavior made the particular player make three hat tricks throughout the game.
7. Both teams showed a high level of coordination and teamwork. Whenever an individual would get the ball, he would dribble it past the opponents before passing it to the teammate. The team spirit was encouraged more by shouting and calling teammates by their actual names. This cultivated a sense of teamwork as each player felt that he was an important part of his team. The fact that teammates would call out their colleagues by their actual names encouraged the players to strive to make quick turns and pass the ball to other players through individual efforts.
8. Irrespective of the joy that characterized the game, I observed several inappropriate behaviors from athletes, fans, and coaches. After being challenged by an opponent who snatched the ball from him, one athlete from Hawai’i intentionally pushed the player so that he fell out from the field. This attracted a turnover from the referee. Though it resulted into a score, the pushed athlete got injury. The fans also behaved in an inappropriate way trying to boo and jeer the opposing team. I even witnessed something thrown from the Aggies fans towards the Hawai’i fans as if to hit them. This is against the rules of basketball. It was evident that even though Aggies were playing on a home ground, they definitely faced a well-prepared team which had already won two games prior to this game away from their home ground. I also observed inappropriate behavior of the coaches. At the end of the game, they did not greet each other as a show of acknowledging each other’s efforts. This is usually encouraged, because it helps to lessen any form of anxiety and bitterness that may exist between the players or fans because of the game’s outcomes.
Motor Learning and Biomechanics Questions
1. I observed a number of visual and auditory cues from the athletes of both teams. One cue used by every player was looking. Every athlete seemed to be looking in the direction of the ball all times. After scoring, they would turn to their fans to acknowledge their support and demonstrate how their skills were superior tothose of their opponents. I also noticed that before the game started, athletes observed their opponents to discover any weakness which they could exploit during the game. I believe that during jogging, the athletes imagined challenging their opponents for the ball and making a popular score. I also noticed that whenever there was a wild cheer from the fans, athletes would make extraordinary efforts and use such skills as quick turns, dribbling and passing to ensure that the opponents do not get the ball from them. The visual and auditory cues prepared the athletes to face their opponents. They also made the game more lively and competitive.
2. I observed an athlete from Aggies receive concurrent augmented feedback from the coach. This improved the overall performance of the team. During the start of the second half, the Aggies went ahead of Hawai’i by ten points before a comeback on Hawaii’s side. I believe that the concurrent augmented feedback helped to improve the performance of the Aggies. It is because they could play in a more superior way than their opponents. When their opponents recovered, they drew back to their former position and even showed signs of giving up.
3. There were noticeable differences in learning stages between athletes. This is because a sideline advice from Hawai’i team seemed to resuscitate the whole team. While Aggies also learned quickly and made corrections, they were noticeably unable to keep with the changes in their opponents’ team, especially in the positioning of players. When one player changed position with the other, Aggies seemed to get confused. This gave Hawai’i a greater advantage over their opponents.
4. I will measure agility drills in terms of reaction time whenever an athlete is near the basket. This is because the reaction of a basketball player to put the ball in the basket is directly related to their agility drills. That is, the faster the agility, the better the performance. In order to measure performance production, I will measure the agility drills per game. On the other hand, to assess performance outcome, I will measure the agility drills that resulted in a score.
In general, an athlete’s performance is largely dependent on the environmental preparedness of his team to face the opponents. Things like mood, anxiety, audio and visual cues could drastically change the fortune of a team. Nevertheless, the overall teamwork plays a great role in the outcome and production performance of a team. Thus, success should be a team thing rather than an individual effort.
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