The long-term goal encouraged the players to perform on the pitch to achieve a specific target despite the prediction of relegation by the outside world. Individual goal setting can be split into Ego or task orientated. (Lemyre, Roberts and Ommundsen 2002, Gill 2000, Cox 2002 and Reilly and Williams 2003) Task orientated individuals decided whether they have achieved their goals through personal improvement (Reilly and Williams 2003).An example of this goal setting would be players such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy setting a goal of scoring more then he did in the previous season. This would increase his performance in order to achieve his goal.
Individuals who are ego orientated compete against other players in order to achieve their goal. The perfect example of this would be a goal of getting a starting position in the current Chelsea line up. Strikers such as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Hernan Crespo, Adrian Mutu and Eidur Gojohnsen are battling against each other in order to achieve this goal. The result is effective performances on the pitch from each player and lots of goals for Chelsea.Stress is defined as “a substantial imbalance between demand and response capability” (Reilly and Williams 2003 p215). The professional footballer is placed under many different demands during the season, which consequently have an effect on their performance. Each of these demands is put through a cognitive process, which determines how the player will respond (Cox 2002, Reilly and Williams 2003). The process can be put into 3 stages.
1) Stimulus- environmental or competitive situation, 2) Primary/ secondary appraisal of situation- the player decides if and how to cope with the stimulus and 3) Response- anxiety responses (Cox 2002).The anxiety response can be split into two responses, sate and trait anxiety (Hackfort and Speilberger 1989 and Cox 2002). State anxiety can is the immediate response experience by the player (Cox 2002) and it usually responsible for the effects on a player’s performance. An example of this process would be seen when a player takes a penalty. The competitive situation of taking a penalty would be the stimulus felt by the player.They would then decided if they could cope with the stimulus, if the player scores then it would be thought that they had the ability to cope, however, if the player misses then it may be determined that the player wasn’t able to cope.
If this is true then it could explain the why Gareth Southgate, Stuart Pearce and Chris Woddle all missed penalties in extremely demanding situations.This is an example of a competitive situation where a player may feel stress but there are other sources that players might feel. Gifford and Noblet (2002) found that players in team sports experience more stressors in their environment the participants in individual sports.
77 source of stress were identified and placed into six categories of A) negative aspects of organizational systems and culture, B) Worries about performance expectations and standards, C) Career development concerns, D) Negative aspects of interpersonal relationships, E) Demanding nature of work it’s self and F) Problems associated with work/ non- work interface. Although the response of players to a stressful situation could have serious consequences on their performance, it must be noted that players are individuals and react to sources of stress in different ways as Hackfort and Spielberger (1989) explain, the same stimulus may be seen as a threat by one person, a challenge by another and as largely irrelevant by a third.This is backed up by studies of stress on players in different positions (Brando and Winterstein cited in Horn 2001). The studied looked at the effects of 77 real life football situations and their effect it had on performance of goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and attackers.
The results showed that goalkeepers neutralised stress best whist strikers where most responsive. Some players may there take what is a stressful situation to someone else and use it in a positive way to arouse them in a game situation. Arousal refers to “the entire continuum of a person’s psychological activation” (Hackfort and Speilberger 1989 p96) Arousal is can increase the level of performance by a player and is explained using two theories, the Inverted U and Drive Theory (Horn 1992 and Cox 2002) (Appendix 1). The Inverted U theory gives the impression that an increase in arousal will enhance performance up until a certain point.Once this point is reach the performance of a player will begin to deteriorate (Horn 1992 and Cox 2002). The point at which performance and arousal are at there highest is called the optimal level (Cox 2002).
The drive theory shows a positive correlation between arousal and performance and is predicted using the formula Performance= Habit strength (learnt skill) x Drive (Arousal) (Horn 1992 and Cox 2002).The theory implies that arousal can only increase the performance of a player if the player has learnt all the skills necessary to carry out the task. It would therefore hamper any beginner in the game. A problem with this theory is that it doesn’t have an optimal level of arousal. An example of the drive theory hampering the performance of a developing player might be seen in Wayne Rooney. Rooney who has still got a lot to learn is expected to cope with the same arousals experience by established players.
This has appeared to have an effect on some of his recent premiership performances.In conclusion it can be seen that psychology does indeed play an important part in the world of professional football as noted by Moran (2002). Bridging the gap between theory and practice is a growing part of professional football as players and coaches strive to understand how their performances are affected and why.
Although most managers and players are opposed to the introduction of a psychologist to a club Forzoni (2003) argues that it is already there and being used, it is just that they are unaware of it.The issue of motivation is one that should be particularly discussed as Reilly and Williams (2003) pointed out. Forzoni (2003) has already demonstrated how the use of Achievement Goal Orientation has benefited many of clubs he has been employed at. Gifford and Noblet (2002) found that there are multiple stressors that a professional player can be put under and Horn (2001) found that these stressors effect players in different ways depending upon their playing position. The theory behind arousal is very generic and is not football specific but relations can be made.Through looking at the psychological key factors that have an effect on performance in football it is evident that it is an area of very limited research. The work of Forzoni and other coaches such as Steve McClaren and Sven-Goran Eriksson has helped changed some attitude towards psychology but Fronzi (2003) has found that there are still negative feelings.
In order for football to move forward it is clear that it must embrace psychology.ReferencesR. H. Cox (2002) Sport Psychology concepts and application, McGraw- Hill, New YorkA. Moran (2002) “Shrinking” or Expanding? The Role of Sport Psychology in Professional Football, “Insight”- The F.
A Coaches Association Journal, Vol 6, issue 1, pp 41- 43R. Fornzi (2001) Motivation in Football (Part 1) the components of motivation, “Insight”- The F.A Coaches Association Journal, Vol 4, issue 3 pp56-58