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Running head: The Big Break 1

The Big Break

Annemarie Bartow, Rosemarie Reitman, and Cayla Williams

Immaculata University
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Artie is an all-star baseball player on his high school team. He is the hometown hero and

a crowd favorite. He has a great relationship with his the fans, his teammates, and the coaching

staff. Artie is the team captain and is very confident in his abilities as a player. Being the team

captain is an important role in the team dynamic because everyone looks to them when things

might go wrong or when they need motivation to continue the game. He helps other on his team

by supporting and encouraging them, as well as getting them pumped up for a game. At the end

of his senior year, he helped his team win the championship, and got a scholarship to a division 1

college in Texas. Even though Artie has great success in high school, the transition from high

school baseball to college has been a challenge.

When Artie gets to college, he begins to realize that things arent the same. He begins to

notice that the team dynamic and culture of his new college team is different than what he has

experienced in high school. The practices are run in a military fashion, strict and very routined.

The head coach, Coach Flipman, is very distant from most of his players and Artie describes him

as cold, hard, and unrelenting. Coach only had a relationship with his senior players on the team,

especially one senior, Bobby Bean. Artie is not performing well at practice, which results in him

not playing in any games. When Artie finally get his chance to play in a game, he strikes out and

ends the game for his team. Artie has lost a lot of his confidence and has begun to have negative

self-talk. Artie is also feeling some jealousy because Arties roommate is the top performer on

the soccer team and scored the winning goal in their last game. Artie is beginning to have self-

doubt and questions why he cannot be like his roommate and perform to the same caliber.

Arties physical performance has altered his mental stability as a great baseball player, which in

turn has begun a slow decline in his physical performance more than before.
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When Artie comes to me, a sport psychology consultant, we talk about the issues hes

facing and come up with a plan to combat these problems that are affecting his performance.

Firstly, Artie is worried too much about outside forces he cannot control. He isnt focused on

how he plays; he is focused on Bobby, his roommate, fans, and coach Flipman. Artie is also

stuck in the past and must come to realize college is different than high school. It is normal for

him to be feeling this way, but he must realize that he cannot look to the past and must try and

work with the skillset he has and go from there.

Another problem is that Artie has no confidence. Again, because he is worried what

others think, he is not performing well. Artie keeps talking badly about himself, which makes his

confidence go down as well. Because he is not performing well, he has a lot of anxiety and

stress. This anxiety and stress is becoming a problem in school as well, but helping him combat

his problems in baseball will lead him to do the same in school.

After assessing all of Arties issue, a plan of action was made. The most useful tools that

will help Artie with his performance are self-talk, focus, imagery, goal setting, and to build

confidence. Although all of these problems should be addressed; goal setting, imagery, and

positive self-talk will combat focus and improve Arts confidence. Our main goal for Artie will

be to increase his confidence. Confidence is something Art had an abundance of in high school

but has since been diminished in his new college setting.

Goal setting is one of the most important techniques that Artie will use. As Artie sets

goals for himself and achieves them, his confidence will increase. To achieve the goals he sets,

they must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time). By making specific

goals for himself, he will be able to come up with a good regime to be able to achieve them. For

example, he can set a goal that he will go out before or after practice and hit 100 balls to center
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field everyday. Artie can set any goal that he wants to achieve this season. We are going to start

small and work on achieving the small goals to eventually set more challenging difficult goals.

For every practice he can set an overall goal so he is focused on getting better and improving his

game. An example of an overall goal could be having a positive attitude and keeping an open

mind during practice that day. If may be affective for Art to remind himself to smile during

practice and release some of the stress. If Art can achieve that goal, he can start making goals per

drill that they do. For example, each practice, his goal can be to hit every ball of the tee

effectively or when he is in the field, to field every ground ball. Based on a study conducted by

Ortega, Olmedilla, Palao, Sanz and Bazaco, who studied the effectiveness of an intervention

program of goal setting and to know the efficacy of player perception of how the plan worked

(2013). The study concluded that there was an increase level of achievement of individual goals

by the players. They believe this to be true because the players focused their attention in the

aspects that coached considered more important of the game (Ortega, Olmedilla, Palao, Sanz

and Bazaco, 2013). It may be helpful for Artie to talk to his coach about what type of role he

wants him to play on the team and what he should work on. Using the feedback from the coach

Artie can set his goals. Being able to set goals will help him get back on track and help motivate

him to work hard and improve his game. Art needs goals that resemble the current status he is

in. He has to remember that he is just a freshman and as time goes on his cohesion with the team

will become better.

Second, we will use imagery to help Artie focus. Artie is having a lot of trouble because

he keeps thinking about how he played in high school and how popular he was there. Also, he is

having trouble concentrating during practices because it is a different regime he is use to. He also

had trouble focusing when he went up to bat. Artie was too worried about the crowd and striking
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out that ended up causing him to do so. Imagery will help to combat these issues because it will

make him focus on the game and not outside forces. When he is up to bat he can think about

where he is going to hit the ball. He can look around and see where the other team is playing him

and picturing himself hitting it where the fielders are not. When he is going for a grounder in

practice he can think about catching the ball first, then getting the ball to the bag. He needs to

break down the fundamentals of the game and work on that so he can picture himself succeeding.

Imagery will help his focus go from broad to narrow. It may also be helpful for Art to create an

imagery script. He could make one for the perfect at bat or the perfect fielding or even the

perfect game. He will have to make it very specific, including all of the senses. Having him

imagine what the air smells like, imagine what the weather is like (sunny? Fresh spring breeze?),

have him describe how the bat feels in his hands, how the dirt feels under his feet, how the grass

feels, what the fans are saying, his walk up song, where the base runners are, the sound of the

ball hitting the bat, or where the ball is hit. Creating the perfect scenario will help him focus on

the tasks at hand and improve his game. In order to implement these imagery techniques

effectively we would follow the PETTLEP model. To implement imagery interventions we will

follow this model. P-physical: making the image as physical as possible. The imagery should be

able to simulate kinesthetic cues and meet the physical demands. E-environment: This relates to

where the imagery is performed. It may be effective for Art when he is first creating his imagery

to be on the field or in the batter's box, creating a more realistic image. T-task: the imagery

should be at the same skill level as Art. Not imagining himself hitting grand slams at every at bat

but being realistic to his current abilities. T-timing: the speed quickly is the imagery complete, is

it in real time or slow motion. Finding the best way for Art and what he prefers. L-learning: the

images should alter as Art learns more skills. As Art grows, so should his imagery. If he keeps it
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the same he may have set backs to old behaviors. E-emotion: the inclusion of realistic emotions

during the sport. This will make the imagery more real and may lead to more vivid imagery. P-

perspective: the viewpoint of the athlete during the imagery. Is Art watching himself perform all

the tasks in his image, externally or is he viewing it internally, in first person, through his own

eyes (Smith, 2010). In a study completed by Wakefield and Smith, prove that PETTLEP is

effective in improving an athlete. Their results concluded the following:

The results of the current study support the first hypothesis. Throughout the imagery

intervention phases, all participants showed an increase in strength when compared with

the baseline measures. This finding indicates that completing PETTLEP imagery at least

1/wk can be effective in enhancing the performance of this strength task. (2011)

This study shows the positive effects of a positive imagery. Art will benefit from creating an

imagery script that is positive and helps him regain focus.

Lastly, self-talk is an important technique for Artie to implement in his life. It seems that

ever since he got to college he has been talking negatively about himself. His mental and

physical mentality has changed. He probably is having problems in school as well. By doing

this, he begins to believe it. He doesnt think he is good enough to play and therefore the

constant negative mentality is throwing him off in baseball and in school. If he tells himself he

can do something, and keeps reminding himself how good he is he will begin to play better. Goal

setting and imagery will also help with self-talk because as he reaches his goals and implements

what he imagines, his confidence increases. As his confidence increases his self-talk will become

positive and his performance will increase. For example, when he steps into the batter's box he

can remind himself that he can do it. Before the pitch is thrown, he needs to tell himself where he

wants to hit the ball depending on the game situation. Than if he gets two strikes on him, he
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needs to tell himself, he is not going to strike out and that the pitcher can't strike him out. Going

into any game situation having positive self-talk will improve Arties game. In a study that's

purpose was to test the effectiveness of a 10-week self talk intervention program, found that the

group that has the intervention had greater performance improvements. (Hatzigeorgiadis,

Galanis, Zourbanos, Theodorakis, 2014 ) The findings although was from a small group, it

provides direction for developing effective self-talk interventions. Implementing a self-talk

intervention program, similar to the one used in this study, Art may see significant improvement

in his performance.

Art will see improvement in his performance when he begins to follow the plan of action.

By changing his negative self talk to positive, increasing his focus, and creating an imagery

script, Arties self confidence and focus will be greatly increased. By improving his self talk,

making a routine and setting goals for himself will help him become that player that he strives to

be. By regaining his confidence, his attitude and team presents will be better, which will show

the coach and his teammates that he has confidence in himself to play well. It will show the fans

and other teams that he is confident in his ability to play the game. This will also help the team

have more confidence in Art. Art will build his confidence by using the mental skills training

program we have implemented. Art could also improve his confidence by writing down

everything he thinks he does well. He could have this posted in his room or keep it in his bag as a

physical reminder of all of the good qualities he already possesses and encourage him to keep

going to become a more impactful player on the team.

As he sets his goals, and achieves them, this can help his confidence increase. If he gains

confidence, this could help how his performance. Imagery can help his focus, which can make

him forget about the crowd, his coach, and his teammates. By improving focus, he can stay in the
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game mindset and reach his goals. By improving these methods, his confidence will spike, and

his negative self-talk will diminish. By achieving his goals Arts skills physically will improve

and his mental status will be greatly improved. Art will be hitting more accurately and

consistently. He will also be a better field player. Improvement in his mental performance will

improve him physically, which can ultimately land him a starting spot and a good position in the

batting line up.

There are going to be some challenges when implementing this new program for Art. It

may be hard for Art to fully believe in himself and his abilities. This can affect how he

implements the program. Art may also have trouble setting goals. They may not be challenging

enough for him or they can be unrealistic to his current situation. Art may have difficulties

implementing the skills correctly if he does not buy into the plan. To handle these barriers we

would need to get to the root of where Arts self doubt comes from and work on how to improve

from there. If he does not buy into the plan we can show him famous players who have bought

into this program and how successful they are. We also have to give Art time to fully

comprehend what we are asking of him. Trying to push him may cause a reverse effect and cause

setbacks in his improvement. Another barrier may be that getting the coaches and other

teammates to buy into the program or be accepting of Arts new way of playing the game. Ways

to combat this barrier would be to talk to the coaches about what our plan is and how it will

affect the way Art practices and plays. This will hopefully allow the coach to fully understand

and get on board with the plan. As for the team it may be a good idea, if the coach allows, to do

some mental skills with them. It may not be as in depth of a plan as Arts, but just going over

some skills with them as well may help Art not feel singled out.
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Reference:

Hatzigeorgiadis, A., Galanis, E., Zourbanos, N., & Theodorakis, Y. (2014). Self-talk and
Competitive Sport Performance. Journal Of Applied Sport Psychology, 26(1), 82-95.
doi:10.1080/10413200.2013.790095

Ortega, E., Olmedilla, A., Palao, J. M., Sanz, M., & Bazaco, M. J. (2013). Goal-setting and
players' perception of their effectiveness in mini-basketball. Revista De Psicologa Del
Deporte, 22(1), 253-256.

Smith, D. (2010). Enhancing Sports Performance Using PETTLEP Imagery. Retrieved from
http://www.podiumsportsjournal.com/2010/12/20/using-pettlep-imagery-to-enhance-
sports-performance/

Wakefield, C., & Smith, D. (2011). From Strength to Strength: A Single-Case Design Study of
PETTLEP Imagery Frequency. Sport Psychologist, 25(3), 305-320.