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Athlete Assessment and Mental Training During Real Competition: Methods and Findings American Psychological Association: Division 47 Paper Session Presentation.

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Presentation on theme: "Athlete Assessment and Mental Training During Real Competition: Methods and Findings American Psychological Association: Division 47 Paper Session Presentation."— Presentation transcript:


2 Athlete Assessment and Mental Training During Real Competition: Methods and Findings American Psychological Association: Division 47 Paper Session Presentation Annual Convention, Boston, August 2008 Roland A. Carlstedt, Ph.D. American Board of Sport Psychology, Integrative Psychological Services of New York City, Brain Resource Company

3 Research Support RESEARCH PARTNERS NEXUS-32 Telemetry EEG

4 Issues and Perspectives Prevalent approaches to athlete assessment and intervention lack ecological validity with many practitioners never or rarely leaving the office to observe, monitor, document and analyze the actual performance of their client in the context of a validated evidence-based ecological protocol. Yet, many practitioners continue to assume that their assessments are valid and interventions work. However, what evidentiary support underlies notions of assessment-validity and claims of intervention efficacy and from where does it emanate?

5 Do in-office evaluations and mental training procedures generalize to the real world of training and actual competition and if so to what extent and on the basis of what evidence? Little is known about psycho-physiological responding during actual training and real competition and whether attempts to induce supposed performance facilitative intervention responses occur when it counts and importantly; are they really associated with positive outcome?

6 The Need for Ecological Approaches to Athlete Assessment and Intervention Establishing the Criterion Referenced and Predictive Validity of in-office or laboratory-based assessment instruments or practitioner evaluations and the ecological-efficacy of interventions is critical for justifying the application of specific test instruments and interventions.

7 A repeated measures ecological and longitudinal design that attempts to link differential psycho-physiological responses during actual competition with objective sport-specific performance outcome measures is emerging as a potent strategy for determining an athletes IZOF and Athletes Profile impact, the effects of interventions and the predictive validity of assessment instruments and practitioner suppositions.

8 Components of Ecological Practice and Research Pre-intervention Phase (during training and competition): *Motor/Technical Control and Threshold Testing *Establishing Focus-Attention Threshold *Ecological Stress Testing *Critical Moments Analysis *Psychological Performance Statistics *Psycho-physiological Response Profiling: HRV and EEG

9 Intervention Phase

10 An Overview of Research: Completed and ongoing 1998-2008

11 1. 1998: Extension of research on heart rate deceleration-first longitudinal study of psychologically mediated athlete heart rate deceleration (HRD) during official tournament tennis competition. General Findings: Greater amounts and magnitude of HRD were associated with successful outcome (sets won).

12 Methods

13 Heart Rate Deceleration

14 2. 2005/2006/2008: Longitudinal study of psychologically mediated heart rate variability (HRV) in a tournament tennis player and NCAA Division I tennis team during actual competition over the course of an entire season 6,8 : General Findings: Individual Zones of Optimum Functioning (IZOF) as reflected in pre and post match HRV predicted longitudinal performance outcome measures.

15 Methods

16 3. 2006: Longitudinal study of pre- intervention psychologically mediated heart rate variability and subsequent effect of heart rate variability/breathing biofeedback in baseball players on-the- bench during official league games 6,8. General Findings: Replication of IZOF HRV tennis findings in baseball players and in the context of actual competition and real-time monitoring of psychophysiology in a pre-intervention and HRV/Respiration biofeedback intervention phase that was carried out on-the-bench prior to each at-bat for an entire official season. Team won-loss record improved from 8-5 pre-intervention to 14-0 in the intervention phase. 7 of 9 players starting players improved in all psychological performance statistics compared to pre-intervention.

17 Method

18 Baseball Findings: Team and Individual





23 Top Power Hitter Breaks Slump


25 4. 2007: Longitudinal HRV replication studies of tennis players during official tournament competition and first investigation documenting attention, motor control and HRV in the context of structured practice, critical moment analyses and psycho-physiological responding (entire summer season) responding Findings: Replication and extension of 2005/2006 studies of tennis players during actual competition; development of HRV stability index; real-time change-over HRV monitoring and biofeedback. IZOF, ATHLETES PROFILE and THEORY of CRITICAL MOMENTS models of peak performance were further tested in ecological contexts (real competition). IZOF profiles were mediated by ATHLETES PROFILE personality and behavioral interactions as a function of competitive stress (increasing level of criticality of points-critical moments). In preparation for publication


27 Tennis Findings: Select Overview









36 5. 2008: Study of brain functioning using telemetry EEG and simultaneous ECG/HRV/Respiration during a structured golf tournament with reward and punishment components; included personality, behavioral and critical moment analyses (14 highly skilled NCAA I golfers). Findings: Data Analysis phase in progress. Hypotheses: Specific pre-action EEG hemispheric activation shifts and HRV/HRD will be associated with differential quality of performance and that these mind-body measures will be mediated by golfers ATHLETES PROFILE as a function of level of criticality of each shot (critical moments). In preparation for publication



39 6. 2008: Study of heart rate variability responses in the context of every shot during a round of golf. Findings: data analysis stage (see preliminary result below)


41 Finding: Variance explained in score on hole: HRV parameters as predictor variables

42 8. 2008: Study of pre-action brain and heart rate deceleration responses in baseball and tennis players using telemetry-based EEG/ECG in the context of a structured experimental task. Findings: preliminary analysis clearly reveals HRD leading up to action; additional analyses will determine to what extent HRD manifests itself or is disrupted as a function of ATHLETES PROFILE, IZOF and competitive pressure (critical moments) and to what extent HRD is associated with differential outcome (in progress). EEG data will also be analyzed in the context of the above measures and concurrent HRD (pre-processing phase in progress). In preparation for publication


44 Methods



47 9. 2008: Investigation of the Transient Hypofrontality Hypothesis (THH) using telemetry-based EEG (participants were on a stationary bike). The THH attempts to account for zone states on the basis of differential allocation of cortical resources as a function of aerobic effort and progression of time. Findings: Total EEG amplitude decreased as a function passage of time in an aerobic effort paradigm in sites covering the pre-frontal cortex Fp1 and Fp2 (frontal lobe area) and increased over motor cortex sites C3 and C4, consistent with predictions of the THH. More extensive and advanced analyses are in the planning stage. In preparation for publication



50 11. 2008: Validation of psychological performance statistics in Major League Baseball teams using CP Critical Moments Analysis Paradigm, Psychological Proficiency Quotient and Quality of Bat Methodology (5 teams and ca. 150 games; in progress)

51 Ecological Practice and Research: Summary Crucial to more accurate athlete assessment and shaping through intervention, of neuropsychophysiological responses that are associated with so-called Zone-states. Psychological performance must be analyzed in the context of objective statistical and neuropsychophysiological outcome measures to determine to what extent an intervention impacts performance (variance explained) if at all. All practitioners should be trained in the basics of the presented methodologies. Practitioners are encouraged to also function as researchers and contribute to the further development and expansion of the ABSP- BRC athlete databases of mind-body-motor and outcome.

52 Board Certification with central focus on evidence-based ecological athlete assessment and intervention through: In-Residence Visiting Fellowships, Internship/Research Assistantships in New York City

53 References 1. Carlstedt, R.A. (1998). Psychologically mediated heart rate variability: A single case study of heart rate deceleration and a spectrum analysis of autonomic function during tournament tennis. Masters thesis, Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco. 2. Carlstedt, R.A. (2001). Line bisecting test reveals relative left brain hemispheric predominance in highly skilled athletes:Relationships among cerebral laterality, personality, and sport performance. Doctoral dissertation, Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco. 3. Carlstedt, R. A. (2002). Ambulatory psychophysiology and ecological validity in studies of sport performance: Issues and implications for intervention protocols in biofeedback. Biofeedback, 29 (4) 18-22. 4. Carlstedt, R.A. (2004a). Line bisecting performance in highly skilled athletes: Does preponderance of rightward error reflect unique cortical organization and functioning? Brain and Cognition, 54(1), 52-57. 5. Carlstedt, R.A. (2004b). Critical moments during competition: A mind-body model of sport performance when it counts the most. NY: Psychology Press. 6. Carlstedt, R.A. (2007a). Mind-body measures and sport performance. A cyber-symposium [] Journal of the American Board of Sport Psychology, I. 7. Carlstedt, R.A. (2007). Integrative evidence based tennis psychology: perspectives, practices, and findings from a ten year validation investigation of the Carlstedt Protocol. In S. Miller and J. Capel-Davies (Eds) Tennis Science and Technology III (pp.245-254). London, U.K.: International Tennis Federation. 8. Carlstedt, R.A. (under contract-in progress). Evidence-based applied sport psychology: A manual for practitioners, researchers and students. New York: Springer. REFERENCES/CITATIONS FOR HEREIN MENTIONED RESEARCH, RESEARCHERS, WORKS or CONCEPTS CAN BE FOUND IN THE ABOVE PUBLCATIONS

54 Acknowledgements and Contributors Sinclair, D. 1, Couture, J. 1,2, Holas, P. 1,3, Perlstein, I. 1,4, Prine, M. 1,5, Rodeka, P. 1,6, Guererro, A. 1,7, Szuhany, K. 1,8, Kern, S. 1,9, Keating, K. 1,10, Winters, M. 1,11, Lawton, W. 1,12, Golkin, D. 1,13, Kennedy, J. 1,14, Frable, J.1, Martin, A. 1, Massey, W. 1,15, Ferree, T. 1,16, Kruger, P. 1,17 and Gordon, E. 18 Affiliation: American Board of Sport Psychology (Fellowship, Internship, Certification Programs and Research Center) 1, Cleveland Indians 2, Warsaw Medical University 3, Merck Laboratories 4, Temple University 5,, Massey University (N.Z.) 6, Fordham University 7, University of Pennsylvania 8, University of Southern California 9, Wellesley College 10, Allegheny College 11, Amherst College 12, Williams College 13, Bournemouth University (U.K.) 14, Queens University (N.C.) 15, Southwestern Medical Center-University of Texas 16, Harlequins Professional Rugby Union Team (U.K.) 17, Brain Resource Company (Sydney) 18

55 CONTACT Roland A. Carlstedt, Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist-Board Certified Sport Psychologist; American Board of Sport Psychology, Integrative Psychological Services of New York City and Brain Resource Company (Sydney)

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