A Program of Emotional Awareness Training and Implications for Coaching Education
Chris Schoen, Salem State University, USA
Poster Number: 8
Program ID: POS-1
Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Emotions as a precursor to performance served as the focus of our recent research in tennis using an IZOF framework and identification of optimal emotion. We found the following: athletes at the Division III level have difficulty identifying their emotions and recognizing how emotions influenced performance. They also reported feeling mainly negative emotions and low confidence in prematch and practice challenge match situations. The sport psychology practitioner working with the team developed and implemented a training program throughout the 2011-2012 training and regular season to 1) increase emotional awareness along the lines of Mayer & Salovey’s (1997) ability model, 2) practice problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies with the athletes. We also emphasized greater team building steps designed to improve intrateam support and cohesion. Finally we measured first serve percentage starting in preseason and throughout the regular season, in order to gauge effectiveness in learned emotional control strategies. The team consisted of 8 players, ranging in age from 18-24 (mean of 7.4 years competitive playing experience), who responded to surveys asking them for self-reported measures of anxiety and confidence before every match and practice challenge scenarios designed to replicate pressure situation in competition. Through content analysis of self-reported confidence levels and expression of emotional states on revised survey instruments we documented improvements to both. An increase in first serve percentage for 7 out the 8 players over the course of the season was also documented. Practical implications for coaching education practices will be addressed in terms of selection of team captains (emotional leaders), an emphasis on a higher character team climate as underscored with a team philosophy of mutual on and off court intrateam support, and finally emotional management skills that transcend intercollegiate tennis and transfer to academic performance and/or professional performance after the termination of competitive tennis with this population.