Reinforcements in Sports Psychology

Reinforcements in Sports Psychology
Reinforcements in Sports Psychology

We return to talk about a topic that we are passionate about and that is a reflection of life itself, it is about Psychology applied to sports and that could well be a good field of research for applied psychology in daily life.

Today we are going to talk about a term coined at the beginning of psychology, these terms are still very much in vogue and belong to the so-called behavioral psychology, positive and negative reinforcements.


We are going to study how they influence the world of sports psychology, in athletes.

Let's keep in mind that these reinforcements are external variables that in the case of athletes come externally and are mostly uncontrollable. Let's think of a tennis player receiving boos every time he fails, a negative reinforcement is being produced that if the athlete does not know how to stop or counteract, he will make him fail more, that the failure will be reinforced

On the other hand, an athlete who is cheered on every one of his moves or master moves is externally and positively reinforced

These reinforcements are also in the hands of coaches, colleagues or family members, so knowing how to handle them to improve the performance of an athlete is essential and the sports psychologist is in charge of giving the guidelines in a personalized way to each athlete.

The reinforcement makes sure that the person, in this case theathlete increases the type of behaviors reinforced. It will be positive when this reinforcer values their efforts, results and it will be negative when it punishes them.

In short, what reinforcements do to the athlete is to influence his motivations. We have already talked about motivation in sport and in life as the engine that makes us move strongly towards a certain place or not. An unmotivated athlete based on negative reinforcements can even completely abandon the practice of any type of sport.

A good coach or sports psychologist is responsible for correctly managing all these positive and negative reinforcements in order to improve the performance of the athlete or the team in charge, since these reinforcements can be administered at the individual level or at the group level. Negative reinforcements are often used to improve the discipline of the athlete, especially elite athletes, since it is fundamental to success.

Positive reinforcement by the coach at the right time in the match can lead to success for the athlete just as negative reinforcement at the wrong time can lead to unwanted failure.

Let's see the importance in managing reinforcements for coaches and people who are in charge of an athlete's performance and how the psychological part can make a difference even when in the best possible shape.

And to be able to do it, what better than having all the advice of a sports psychologist thanpersonalized way study the specific case.

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