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Physical Education & Human Performance Jeff Cherubini, Ph.D. Associate Professor Positive Psychology Practical Applications.

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Presentation on theme: "Physical Education & Human Performance Jeff Cherubini, Ph.D. Associate Professor Positive Psychology Practical Applications."— Presentation transcript:

1 Physical Education & Human Performance Jeff Cherubini, Ph.D. Associate Professor Positive Psychology Practical Applications to Enhance Sport Opportunities for Females

2 Objectives I. Participants will be able to describe positive sport psychology characteristics and applications to enhance sport opportunities for all girls and women in sport. II. Participants will be able to apply practical strategies to further guide, facilitate, and motivate quality sport experiences for themselves and their athletes.

3 Positive Psychology Positive psychology is an umbrella term for the study of positive emotions, positive character traits, and enabling institutions (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). About valued experiences, growth, love, education, and play (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Positive psychology and the scientific study of happiness together refer to three paths or pursuits: the pleasant life (positive emotion), the engaged life (engagement), and the meaningful life (social meaning).

4 When individuals are aware of, pursue and blend all three lives, authentic happiness or the full life is more likely to be achieved (Seligman, 2002; Seligman et al., 2005). Sport, as a lifelong physical activity, provides numerous opportunities for these elements to emerge (Cherubini, 2009a). Given NAGWS focus to develop and deliver equitable and quality sport opportunities for ALL girls and women, positive psychology appears to be a natural match with NAGWS programming goals. Positive Psychology

5 The Pleasant Life Human flourishing characterized by positive emotions – happiness, empowerment, and resiliency. Human flourishing Inner athletes Raw Impulse of Interest

6 In a flourishing environment, the amount of positive affect (joy, interest, hope) is greater than negative affect (sadness, boredom, despair). Individually, in a relationship, in a group, and on a team Greatest influence on the pleasant life and human flourishing A prerequisite of a healthy mind / body. Positive correlation between frequent positive affect and greater mental/physical health and performance. Human Flourishing (Frederickson & Losada, 2005)

7 Think of a typical warm-up for a sport practice. With emotions being defined as the public face of feelings (Barnes, 2005), how many smiling faces do you see? Since “most children do not start out bored and detached” (Hunter & Csikszentmihalyi, 2003, p. 28), how may we, as administrators, educators, coaches, trainers, and volunteers contribute to these future emotions? Human Flourishing

8 Inner Athletes Where is the Love?….or better yet…. Where has the Love gone?

9 “All of us were inner athletes in our infancy – our mind was free of concern or anxiety, focused in the present moment; our body was relaxed, sensitive, elastic, aligned with gravity; our emotions were free-flowing expression, uninhibited, spontaneous. We begin life with nearly unlimited potential. Most of us, however, lose touch with our childhood aptitudes as we become burdened by limiting beliefs, begin to deny our emotions, and experience a variety of physical tensions.” (Millman, 1994, p. xii) Inner Athletes

10 Healthy babies naturally love to move about, toddlers love to dance, and children love to play. Yet as we grow into adults, the zest for movement can become completely eroded. Positive psychology and quality coaching/ sport programming can preserve this zest for movement as children and adults grow older. (Cherubini, 2009a)

11 The Experience of Interest is characterized by 3 qualities: 1. Being caught up and fascinated 2. Enjoying what one is doing while 3. In a state of arousal or excitement Since we have a limited capacity to pay attention to multiple emotions at one time, if interested we cannot also be bored. If the development of interest is the focus of what we are doing, we are more likely to feel empowered to take action. Raw Impulse of Interest (Hunter & Csikszentmihalyi, 2003)

12 Living the Pleasant Life Establish a flourishing environment Positive affect > Negative affect Concrete gestures and lived examples. Genuine, immediate, consistent, motivational feedback. Develop the “raw impulse of interest” in our coaching Provide opportunities for interests and strengths. Infuse creative activities – Parkour – Adventure Runs Incorporate motivational strategies – goals w/personal value, task skill balance, self-improvement, modeling, feedback. (Cherubini, 2009a)

13 Enhance interactions with our athletes – help create an exciting, engaging, and relevant environment. Reflect Reflect upon your own passion and authenticity. Review Review personal strengths and challenges. Revise Revise, as needed, attitudes/actions. Living the Pleasant Life

14 How much positive affect do I personally experience daily? What most contributes to this? How do my actions portray genuine positivity, enthusiasm, and interest? How do my athletes perceive my actions? How would my athletes describe me? How would other coaches, staff, and volunteers describe me? How authentic are my relationships with my athletes, their parents, other coaches, staff, and volunteers? How interesting are my coaching sessions / practices? How am I addressing the interests of my athletes? Living the Pleasant Life (Cone, 2007)

15 The Engaged Life Being absorbed in whatever activity one is engaged in at the present moment. Mindfulness Flow

16 What most leads to a higher ratio of positive affect is the “ability to become absorbed in whatever activity one is engaged in at the present moment, the ability to live in the moment and forget about the past, future, and self…it is the capacity to experience flow.” (Maddux, 1997, 344) Flow, being fully engaged, is critical to our happiness and an integral aspect of intrinsic motivation for sport.

17 If the sole focus of sport/physical activity is a future outcome, “ …then when we finally get there, when we finally arrive, when we finally have the hearts and lungs and bodies we have been working for, we will have no capacity for enjoying it because we will be focused on some new future goals or worried about losing what we have achieved. In fact, we might go so far as to say that the most important thing we are developing while exercising mindfully are not stronger hearts or stronger lungs, but the ability to live in the moment, to be fully engaged in the here and now.” (Maddux, 1997, p. 342) Mindfulness

18 Preoccupation with happiness as something we attain in the future by making sacrifices in the present. Eastern philosophies teaching that happiness and contentment is not something to be earned in the future… but something to be discovered by becoming immersed in life in the present. If we are always looking for happiness down the road, then we truly are missing the opportunity for happiness in the experiences we are currently living. Mindfulness Are you Happy? (Maddux, 1997)

19 Acknowledge sport, and all physical activities, as a mindful process rather than a mindless habit or future outcome. Shift in philosophy – the process is our product. (Cherubini, 2009a, 2009b) Put the play back into the playground. “Play as an attitude, a joyous spirit…Play, in other words, is an end in itself.” Living the Engaged Life (Twietmeyer, 2007, p. 202)

20 Promote engagement in sport based on autonomy, personal control, optimal challenge, and well-being. Create opportunities for Organic Play in practice. Motivate athletes towards self-determined behavior that makes them feel in control, competent, and connected. (Kilpatrick, Hebert, & Jacobsen, 2002) Living the Engaged Life

21 Use process/mastery goals and activities that are perceived as comfortably challenging – a ‘just right’ task/skill balance. (Cherubini, 2009b) Empower athletes with voluntary, structured, behavior-change programs emphasizing personal choice and opportunities to analyze behavior, plan for change, use resources, execute, evaluate, and reevaluate. General Resistance Resources + Sense of Coherence Living the Engaged Life

22 Experience Sampling Method – prompts coaches and athletes to recognize level of engagement at given moment in time. At the time of the prompt, what were you doing? How interested are you in this drill, training, practice? How much concentration do you need? How much skill is needed? How challenging is this? How motivated are you to continue? Through increased awareness, we can plan for, and participate in more mindful activities. Living the Engaged Life (adapted from Foster & Lloyd, 2007)

23 Positive sport psychology and the engaged life occur when our athletes are “happy not because of what they do, but because of how they do it.” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999, p. 826) With this type of focus, sport participation and lifelong physical activity is no longer something that girls and women perceive that they need to do, but rather something that they want to do. Living the Engaged Life

24 The Meaningful Life Pursuit of happiness outside of oneself, with an emphasis on the greater good of society. Flourishing communities Constructive goals of human behavior Social interest

25 Flourishing Communities Critical to authentic happiness and quality sport programming is establishing and maintaining flourishing communities that promote pleasant and engaged lives. Sport and physical activities provide many opportunities for administrators, educators, coaches, trainers, volunteers, and athletes to see – “the value of human lives beyond our own…[as] play and games are a unique arena of experience that allows us to see both human fraternity and human vulnerability.” (Twietmeyer, 2007, p. 204)

26 Natural match with the NAGWS mission to develop/deliver equitable and quality sport opportunities for ALL girls and women in a manner that promotes social justice and change. Clear benefit to society. Positive relationships formed through shared physical and emotional challenges. Development of character strengths of kindness, love, social intelligence, fairness, and teamwork. Social Interest

27 Constructive goals of human behavior and human interest are integral to quality sport experiences. With these goals, motivation is both personal and social contributing to the meaningful life. Involvement (social interest, equality, and cooperation) Encouragement (social support and love) Improvement (betterment for self and society) Accomplishment (contributing to self and society) Constructive Goals (Lemire, 2007)

28 Living the Meaningful Life Emphasize and promote supportive relationships, mentoring and modeling and reinforcement of positive behaviors. Emphasize and promote sport and lifelong physical activity as a positive social influence on the actions of others. Integrate cooperative activities, character education, and adventure programming into coaching and training sessions. (Cherubini, 2009a)

29 Orient programming toward constructive goals by providing... A cooperative learning environment. Unconditional support and love. The knowledge and skills needed to change and improve. The ability to take action and achieve success. Living the Meaningful Life

30 Within positive sport psychology, sparking initiative and getting excited for sport and physical activities is the key. In their original introduction to the science of positive psychology, Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi (2000) noted, “The quality of current experience is the basic building block of a positive psychology” (p. 8). Positive Psychology

31 With programming acknowledging these pursuits, NAGWS members are in the unique position to contribute to and promote positive sport psychology and a lifetime of enhanced opportunities for all girls and women in sport. Authentic happiness through quality sport programming is possible when administrators, educators, coaches, trainers, volunteers, and athletes practice and experience pleasant, engaged, and meaningful lives. Positive Psychology (Cherubini, 2009a)

32 The Meaningful Life The Engaged Life The Pleasant Life Positive Sport Psychology Preserves our natural zest for movement as children and adults grow older. Provides numerous opportunities for flow to occur – helping make sport participation something we want to do versus something we feel we have to do. Develops character strengths of kindness, love, social intelligence, fairness, and teamwork.

33 Barnes, J. (2005). “You could see it on their faces…” The importance of provoking smiles in schools. Health Education, 105(5), Cherubini, J. (2009a). Positive psychology and quality physical education. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 80(7), 42-47, 51. Cherubini, J. (2009b). Intentional development: A model to guide lifelong physical activity. The Physical Educator, 66(4), Cone, T.P. (2007). In the moment: Honoring the teaching and leaning lived experience. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance, 78(4), 35-37, Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy? American Psychologist, 54(10), Foster, S.L., & Lloyd, P.J. (2007). Positive Psychology principles applied to consulting psychology at the individual and group level. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 59, References

34 Fredrickson, B.L., & Losada, M.F. (2005). Positive affect and the complex dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60(7), Hunter, J.P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2003). The positive psychology of interested adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32(1), Kilpatrick, M., Hebert, E., & Jacobsen, D. (2002). Physical activity motivation: A practitioner's guide to self-determination theory. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 73(4), Lemire, D. (2007). Positive psychology and the constructive goals of human behavior. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 63(1), Maddux, J. E. (1997). Habit, health, and happiness. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 19, McKenzie, T. L. (2007). The preparation of physical educators: A public health perspective. Quest, 59, References

35 Millman, D. (1994). The inner athlete: Realizing your fullest potential. Walpole, NH: Stillpoint. Seligman, M. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York: Free Press. Seligman, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55(1), Seligman, M., Steen, T., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), Twietmeyer, G (2007). Suffering play: Can the time spent on play and games be justified in a suffering world. Quest, 59, References

36 Jeff Cherubini, Ph.D. Associate Professor Physical Education & Human Performance Manhattan College Alumni Hall 207 Manhattan College Parkway Riverdale, NY | phone | Contact


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