Assignment: Reinforcement Schedules
Health and Sports Psychology Review
February 9, 2015 Health and Sports Psychology Review
The foundation of sports psychology centers on helping players maximize their performance and strengthen motor learning skills, by learning techniques to overcome mental blocks. The first publication of sports psychology focused on how spectators influence athletes competing in competitive bicycling (Brown & Mahoney, 1984). Health and sports psychology focuses on the influences of athletics and the psychological and physiological impact it has on humans. A sports psychologist assists athletes through the application of shaping and chaining, reinforcement schedules, and one-trial learning techniques in teaching new technical skills.
Shaping and Chaining
As a sports psychologist, one must comprehend the concepts of shaping and chaining when teaching and implementing unfamiliar technical skills to athletes. Before a behavior arises, an athlete cannot associate his or her skills and performance to a behavior, therefore shaping is only useful when linking behaviors that can help athletes perform adequately and comprehensively. “The basic operant conditioning method of behavioral change is shaping, or differential reinforcement of successive approximations to the desired form or rate of behavior” (Schunk, 2012). The process of shaping identifies behaviors not yet present, and assists athletes retrieve a specific behavior, mindset, and skill expansion. The process of shaping in sports psychology consists of the identification of the current abilities of an athlete, identification of a behavior, identification of possible reinforcement within an athlete’s environment, dividing the goal into smaller goals, and ultimately, guide the athlete to his or her desired behavior through the use of reinforcements (Schunk, 2012). For instance, when an athlete complains of weak leg muscles, he or she can begin with leg muscle development that fosters strength, stamina, and confidence. Once an athlete works toward a desired behavior, he or she will need to continue to reinforce the behavior until the desired results are achieved. A good example of this is hurdles.
Hurdles is a type of sports activity that requires athletes to run and leap over a bar at pre-determined intervals thus building leg muscles, strength and increasing versatility. An athlete accomplishing a hurdles race builds confidence and physical strength. By receiving corrective feedback, an athlete can achieve his or her desired goal. A sports psychological can assist an athlete by monitoring speed, versatility, and strength and encouraging an athlete to do more, go faster, and untimely achieve their goal. Reinforcement Schedules Assignment.
According to B.F. Skinner, “Chaining is the process of producing or altering some of the variables that serve as stimuli for future responses” (Schunk, 2012, p. 99). Chaining identifies when an athlete desired skill acquisition without reinforcement of successful elements of monitor behavior an athlete cannot improve or achieve higher performance (Greene, 2012). “The operant principle of chaining has been widely researched and implemented with motor skill acquisition and improvement, therefore, in order to ensure proper motor learning, reinforcement of specific behaviors must occur” (Greene, 2012, p.1). Every step offers a signal of action for the next step; a chain is a sequence of cues and behaviors, therefore when one’s behavior in a chain of reactive step generates another signal for the next course of action. Chaining is very useful for sports psychologists when assisting athletes enhance performance and achieve their goals. For example, when an athlete is struggling while training for an event, or merely has a desire to improve his or her performance, a sports psychologist can develop a plan for the athlete to follow on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. When an athlete follows these guidelines, he or she is creating a chain. Many times athletes develop psychological hindrances that prevent them from performing at an optimal level, therefore a sport psychologist can analyze those factors and examine methods of motivation, enhancing, or eliminating self-esteem issues and offer encouragement throughout stages of progress. Shaping and chaining is a useful tool for sport psychologists in assisting athletes by focusing on the psychological and physiological factors athletes need to succeed.
Primarily known for his theory of operant conditioning, B.F. Skinner believed behaviors were dependent on the after-effect of a response called operant behavior. In operant conditioning, scheduling reinforcements are crucial components of learning. There are two types of reinforcement schedules: continuous and partial reinforcement. The schedule of frequency for behavioral reinforcement has a significant impact on the intensity and timeline of the desired response. Continuous reinforcement is more effective during the initial stages of learning to develop a solid connection of the behavior and response. This occurs through the presentation of reinforcement every time an undesired or desired behavior appears. Partial reinforcement is the response of reinforcement only part of the time rather than continuously. Reinforcement schedules can help athletes learn new technical skills through reward or punishment. These schedules help ensure an athlete’s dedication and focus toward his or her goals. When an individual suffers from a psychological or physiological issue, positive reinforcement is pure joy such as an enjoyable evening with friends or a day without working out, therefore the experience is pleasurable and desirable. The negative reinforcement and punishment stage is when the joy is taken away or controlled (consequence). For example, an extra workout, or additional laps around the track or denial of participating in an upcoming event. Although it is important for sports psychologists to provide a positive and encouraging environment for their clients, it is also important to use negative reinforcement to motivate athletes to improve perform.
Important information for writing discussion questions and participation
Please read through the following information on writing a Discussion question response and participation posts.
Contact me if you have any questions.
Important information on Writing a Discussion Question
- Your response needs to be a minimum of 150 words (not including your list of references)
- There needs to be at least TWO references with ONE being a peer reviewed professional journal article.
- Include in-text citations in your response
- Do not include quotes—instead summarize and paraphrase the information
- Follow APA-7th edition
- Points will be deducted if the above is not followed
Participation –replies to your classmates or instructor
- A minimum of 6 responses per week, on at least 3 days of the week.
- Each response needs at least ONE reference with citations—best if it is a peer reviewed journal article
- Each response needs to be at least 75 words in length (does not include your list of references)
- Responses need to be substantive by bringing information to the discussion or further enhance the discussion. Responses of “I agree” or “great post” does not count for the word count.
- Follow APA 7th edition
- Points will be deducted if the above is not followed
- Remember to use and follow APA-7th edition for all weekly assignments, discussion questions, and participation points.
- Here are some helpful links
- Student paper example
- Citing Sources
- The Writing Center is a great resource
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Your initial discussion post should be a minimum of 200 words and response posts should be a minimum of 150 words. Be advised that I grade based on quality and not necessarily the number of words you post. A minimum of TWO references should be used for your initial post. For your response post, you do not need references as personal experiences would count as response posts. If you however cite anything from the literature for your response post, it is required that you cite your reference. You should include a minimum of THREE references for papers in this course. Please note that references should be no more than 5 years old except recommended as a resource for the class. Furthermore, for each discussion board question, you need ONE initial substantive response and TWO substantive responses to either your classmates or your instructor for a total of THREE responses. There are TWO discussion questions each week, hence, you need a total minimum of SIX discussion posts for each week. I usually post a discussion question each week. You could also respond to these as it would count towards your required SIX discussion posts for the week.
I understand this is a lot of information to cover in 5 weeks, however, the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us. Even in times like this, we are encouraged by God’s word that we have that ability in us to succeed with His strength. I pray that each and every one of you receives strength for this course and life generally as we navigate through this pandemic that is shaking our world today. Relax and enjoy the course!