Development and Utilization of a Personal Performance Excellence Theory

Joanna Foss, University of Denver, USA

Theme: Professional development and mentoring

Poster Number: 65

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


This presentation will highlight a graduate student’s experience in the ongoing process of developing a personal theory of performance excellence. Since the field needs overarching theories of optimal performance (Aoyagi, Portenga, Poczwardowski, Cohen, & Statler, 2012), a practitioner should begin developing a personal theory early in training. With limited experiential knowledge to inform practice, a strong theoretical underpinning provides a basis for consultants to determine which strategies or interventions will best aid the client. According to Poczwardowski, Sherman, and Ravizza (2004), a consultant’s theoretical paradigm is a fundamental concept in reference to delivering sport psychology services. The developmental process begins by acquiring knowledge of theoretical aspects of sport and performance psychology (SPP) and studying theories of performance excellence from prominent SPP practitioners (see Aoyagi & Poczwardowski, 2012). In combination with personal performance experiences and beliefs, this information provides the basis for developing one’s theory. Practitioners further develop their theoretical paradigm through incorporation of interdisciplinary knowledge in compatible fields such as neuroscience and kinesiology. Beginning consultants may fit clients into service delivery approaches instead of viewing them holistically (Tod, Andersen, & Marchant, 2009); therefore, ongoing theoretical development is emphasized through continuing education and service delivery. Specifically, the presented personal theory of performance excellence is currently hierarchical in structure consisting of five major elements with the ultimate goal of generating automaticity of skill execution. Preparation is the base level as performers need an adequate physical and mental foundation to perform at a consistently high level. A trusting mindset and composure form the next two levels and refer to the mindset and skills necessary to maintain automaticity during actual performance. Self-awareness and attention control contribute to all stages of preparation and performance. To emphasize previous points, the current state of this theoretical paradigm may change in coming months with further coursework and experience.

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