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Impact of Negative Mindset of an Athlete on His/Her Performance: Analysis of Placebo Effect

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The question I asked myself before doing my research:

Would having an Athlete in a specific mindset affect his/her overall performance.

What I’m trying to test:

I’m trying to see if having an athlete in a specific mindset will affect their performance either positively or negatively. I plan to do this by making my 12 athletes run 200 meters, I will then split them in half randomly, and give one group the positive feedback and the other group the negative feedback. I will record their times and compare them to the original trial.

Hypothesis:

I believe that athletes that are given a positive feedback will do better in their second trial.

Introduction

Being a good athlete requires good skills attained by training as well as a good physical and mental body. Training can help an athlete reach peak performance, in terms of physical fitness, and refine his/her technique so it’s the best it can be. However, to further enhance their performance an athlete requires a mental edge. Mind Coaches can help an athlete gain a mental edge in their sport by training the athlete to calm the mind and focus on the correct thing to do in their sport. This will ultimately help an athlete gain a mental edge thus improving their performance. To summarize an athlete’s performance, it is determined with what’s happening inside their head or something scientists like to call the placebo effect. So, what is a placebo? Well, the dictionary definition for a Placebo is medicine or procedure prescribed for the psychological benefit to the patient rather than for any physiological effect. From this project, I would like to see if having an athlete in a negative mindset by giving him/her negative feedback will have a positive effect or negative effect on his/her performance. An Athlete’s mindset is determined by self-esteem, recent events, Positive reinforcement (from family, Friends, Yourself, etc.), and the belief that you have what it takes to win.

Summary/abstract:

I chose this topic because I play a lot of sports and have also got used to getting negative and positive feedback from my couch. I carried out an experiment with 12 second-year students and made them all run 200 meters. I then gave them a 15-minute break to get there breathe back and I randomly split them in half I gave one group the positive feedback and the other group the negative feedback, I then compared their results and got my conclusion. From this project, I would like to see if couches giving us negative feedback is actually motivating us to keep going or making our self-esteem drop hence having a dramatic effect on our performance.

Background research:

How does having an athlete in a specific mindset affect his/her performance:

An Athlete’s mindset is determined by self-esteem, recent events, Positive reinforcement (from family, friends, yourself, etc.), and the belief that you have what it takes to win. I have identified two mindsets that people can have about their talents and abilities. Those with a fixed mindset believe that their talents and abilities are simply fixed. They have a certain amount and that’s that. In this mindset, athletes may become so concerned with being and looking talented that they never fulfill their potential they also might take constructive criticism too personally, compare themselves to others, etc., and hence that will have an immediate effect on their performance. The other mindset is known as a growth mindset. Individuals with this mindset think of their abilities and talents as things they’re able to grow and develop. They realize that with practice, instruction, and effort, they can realize their full potential. The growth mindset recognizes talent, but it focuses on developing and building on talent instead of displaying talent and trying to simply coast along to success.

What is negative feedback:

Negative feedback is the opposite of constructive criticism, it is when your coach is straight Forward with you and tells you exactly what you’re doing wrong.

What is positive feedback:

Positive feedback can be from teacher to student or peer to peer, it is positive and motivational feedback that pushes you farther and gives you belief to push yourself.

What is a placebo:

The dictionary definition for Placebo= is A medicine or procedure prescribed for the psychological benefit to the patient rather than for any physiological effect. The definition of the placebo in sports terms: The Placebo Effect is a measurable, observable, and felt improvement of ability and health when it comes to athletes. To simplify that, when a coach or someone close to an athlete tells them a supplement is going to enhance their performance (Ability) it generally improves their performance. So, a Placebo in sports is essentially a substance that seems to provide the athlete with maximum performance. The Placebo Effect isn’t mind-body training, it is a term for a drastic positive or negative change in an athlete’s performance. At the beginning of the section, I mentioned that an athlete requires a mental edge when it comes to sports. This can mean setting goals, teaching themselves to calm down and concentrate when their playing. All these will ultimately affect the magnitude of the Placebo Effect. In this project, the feedback I give the athletes is my Placebo, since the feedback I give them after their first trial isn’t true. But they think that it is and that will either make them try harder on their second trial or they might do worse. Nocebo is sometimes referred to as “placebo’s evil twin,” or the “negative placebo effect.” It’s also sometimes described as “the other side of placebo.” The nocebo effect can be defined as a negative effect that occurs after receiving treatment.

Why does an athlete let their nerves take over their mind before or in a game?

An athlete, like many people, gets nervous before they play a game. There’s a lot to think about, plays, what to do, what to do if they get in trouble etc… point being that they just think too much sometimes and that’s what affects their performance. The best athletes only visualize what they must do and as I mention in my second question this is a great example of the Placebo Effect. When it comes to actual game play, I believe that athletes only mess up either because the person that they’re playing against is better or they think they’re better. So, this is going back to Psychology. When an athlete thinks a team or an individual is better than they are, they generally stop trying (This is only when an athlete does not have a mental edge). An athlete with a mental edge, even though they know they’re better they keep trying and train so that one day they’ll be better. According to a British Blog, The Guardian, an athlete that doesn’t have a mental edge or think negatively before an event are not going to do as well as an athlete that is confident and focused. Sean Ingle, Reporter wrote (this was written in 2012) “Last year at the World Triathlon Championships I was chatting to an elite British athlete. ‘The swim is going to kill me,’ she said. ‘I’m not looking forward to it. I’m going to get beat up.’ Her language was very negative.’ Since this athlete wasn’t thinking positively, I’m guessing she didn’t do so well. When the brain is set on a specific mind set it’s generally hard to change your mind set. For example, if you go into an exam thinking “I’m going to fail”, your setting yourself up for failure. It’s the exact same in sports, if athletes just had confidence in their training and thought “I’ve done all I can do, let’s see if I win or lose”, then they’re going to set themselves up for success because their thinking positively. If I was to say one thing to the athletes of the world, it would be thinking positive because that means you setting yourself up for success.

Experimental methodology

Hypothesis:

I believe that athletes that are given a positive feedback will do better in their second trial.

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Place Order

Justification behind hypothesis:

I believe that the athletes that are given the positive feedback will do better in their second trial because, whenever I get negative feedback from my coach, I notice that I don’t perform as well. I also have background research to back up my theory. But I have to acknowledge the other side of the argument, and the group that get the negative feedback might perform better because they want to beat the other group or just to prove that they have what it takes to win.

Controls:

  • Same athletes (I made sure they were all the same age)
  • Same distance
  • Same track
  • Same warmup
  • Same timer in this case I used a stopwatch on my phone (same people timing)

Independent variable:

  • Positive and negative feedback (placebo)

Dependent variable:

  • How good the athlete’s running time (Performance) is

Materials:

  • 12 athletes all being the same age
  • Running track
  • Trundle wheel
  • Cones
  • Timer
  • Pen and paper for recording the results
  • Whistle

Factors i had to consider to make sure my experiment was as fair:

  • I made sure my athletes were all the same age
  • I made sure they were all wearing appropriate running gear
  • I made sure everyone’s legs were behind the cone before I blew the whistle for them to start running.

Safety considerations:

  • I had to make sure the grass wasn’t wet, and I made sure it was safe to run the experiment.
  • I made the athletes do a warm up so their muscles wouldn’t tighten while running.
  • I made sure they all wore the appropriate running gear.
  • I also reminded them to check if their laces were tied.

Procedure:

Before I conducted my Experiment, I had to make sure:

  • it was safe to do my experiment (I had to get approval from my Pe teacher)
  • I had to make sure the field wasn’t wet and was safe for running
  • I asked my athletes if they were all feeling well and if they all wanted to still do the run

After I was ensured that it was safe to conduct my experiment, I gathered all my athletes and told them the following:

  • I told them that they are going to be running 200 meters twice
  • I told them that I was testing how fast an average second year could run, and I was testing different schools in Killester. I told them this because some of the athletes questioned why I was doing this run, and I wanted them to give their full performance, so I told them that I was testing different schools, so they think they have competition.
  1. 1. After I gave them all the necessary information, I measured out 200 meters using a trundle wheel. The length being 80m and the Width being 20m, I put down cones in the four corners so the athletes would know where to run.
  2. 2. They all did a 10-minute warmup which included a slow jog and stretches.
  3. 3. When the athletes were finished their warmup, I gave them all a random number, and told them that they should give their 100% while running and they shouldn’t make any mean remarks of the other athletes running. I ensured that they all started behind the cone and nobody had their leg in front of the cone.
  4. 4. Hannah and I used my phone to get how long it took the athletes to run the 200m and wrote them down on my data sheet.
  5. 5. After all the athletes ran their 200m I gave them a 15-minute break so their breathing would go back to normal.
  6. 6. I split them up randomly and gave 6 athletes positive feedback I told them the following:
  • I told them that they were chosen to be in this group because they had the best 1st trail and they were the fastest group compared to other schools.
  • I told them that they have so much potential, and they can definitely beat there first score, and that they are doing an amazing job.
  1. 7. I made them run their second lap and recorded their times.
  2. 8. I then gave the other 6 athletes the negative feedback I told them the following:
  • I told the athletes that they were chosen to be in this group because they did the worst first trial.
  • I told them that the positive placebo group was so much better than them.
  • I finally Reminded them that I haven’t seen anyone do this bad before. I told them that I would be very disappointed if they aren’t able to beat their original score.
  1. 9. I made them run their second lap and recorded their times
  2. 10. I brought the athletes back inside and told them what my project was about, and I also apologized in case I hurt anyone’s feelings.

Results/data anaylsis:

  • From my results I can see that the group that I gave my positive feedback to did better compared to the negative feedback group. I graphed my results and I will explain them thoroughly.

Table 1 – Analysis of data

Time taken in seconds

Participants No placebo Positive Negative Difference

  1. 1 56 58 -2
  2. 2 54 53 1
  3. 3 57 53 4
  4. 4 57 49 8
  5. 5 57 58 -1
  6. 6 56 59 -2
  7. 7 54 60 -6
  8. 8 53 59 -6
  9. 9 54 59 -5
  10. 10 54 37 17
  11. 11 56 43 13
  12. 12 53 35 18

This data table shows how long it took the athletes to run their first trail, and how long it took them to run while under the influence of the placebo effect.

  • On the last column on the right-hand side, you can see I have written down the difference from the time it took them to run the first trail and their time for the second trail.
  • If there is a minus sign in front of the number that means they were slower compared to their original trial.

Mean performance analysis

Groups Mean score – Seconds

  1. No placebo 55
  2. Positive placebo 45
  3. Negative placebo 56
  • This table shows how long it took each group on average to run the first trial and the second trial.
  • The average time it took the athletes to run the first trial with no placebo was 55 seconds.
  • It took the Negative group 56 seconds on average, that might not look like a drastic increase only because the distance wasn’t as long as I wanted it to be, If the distance was longer it would level off and it would be easier to see the difference.
  • It took the positive placebo group 45 seconds on average to run their second trial. They were able to beat their original score by 10 seconds. Therefore, my hypothesis was right the group that got the positive feedback did better on their second trail.
  • I have graphed all this data on bar graphs to make it easier to understand.
  • This graph shows how the athletes performed individually
  • The blue bar represents how long it took the athletes to run their first trail
  • The grey bar represents how long it took the athletes that were given the negative feedback to run the 200 meters
  • The dark orange bar shows you how long it took the athletes who were given the positive feedback to run the 200 meters
  • The light orange bar shows you the difference between their trials individually. If the bar goes under and has a minus sign beside the number that means they ran slower than their original trail.
  • This graph shows the average times it took the athletes to run the trials.

Conclusion/ further reasearch

Based on the results of my experiment, I can comfortably say that athletic performance can be affected by having an athlete in a specific mindset. To summarize my results, all athletes are affected by the Placebo Effect either positively or negatively. The average time it took to run lap one was 55 seconds, and on average it took the negative group 56 seconds on average to run their second lap. This might not seem like a drastic increase since the distance they ran wasn’t as long. The positive placebo group was able to beat their scores by 10 seconds on AVERAGE. This experiment shows that not only that the placebo effect manipulates athletic performance, but it also shows that athletes that think they’re not good enough won’t do as good in sports as athletes that have that mental edge. So, based on this I can assume that athletes all over the globe are allowing themselves to totally be manipulated by an effect that has no power what so ever, instead of trusting their training and themselves. We can’t allow athletes to do this, so when a big competition is coming up you have to positively reinforce them, so they play better when their competition comes. The Placebo effect, for the longest time, has been used to trick people into thinking that something has special powers that can either make them better or lessen the pain of an injury. We can use this knowledge to trick athletes into reaching peak performance every single time they play a game Even if it means using a Placebo. Further research can be done to see what specific feedback can be used to help athletes reach their peak performance.

Errors with my project:

There were some errors with my experiment they are as follows:

  1. I had a small trial group.
  2. I used a small distance, we were able to see the clear difference between the no placebo and Positive placebo group, it was hard to see the difference between the negative and the no placebo groups.
  3. If I was to do this experiment again, I would use a bigger trail group and a bigger distance. I would also have more people helping me with the timer so It would be easier to get the times of which the athletes crossed the last cone.

References:

  1. This is a list of websites, research articles, and videos I used to help understand my topic in depth and helped get some information from.
  2. These websites were reliable because people aren’t allowed to edit them and put up random false information. All the information I have gotten are all from established institutions, I also stayed away from news articles because they might have been biased or have used some propaganda, In my background research I used quotes that were written in a news article but the quotes were actually said and weren’t edited.
  3. https://www.funderstanding.com/brain/brain-biology-a-negative-feedback-loop-system/
  4. https://www.iedp.com/articles/how-the-brain-responds-to-feedback/
  5. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/placebo
  6. https://www.reference.com/sports-active-lifestyle/feedback-important-sports-d4750644777b2c5a
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z03FQGlGgo0
  8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmxAIrr1LZc
  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMqe2SbQMT0
  10. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/03635465030310021901
  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtPe5lsoHXY
  12. https://fs.blog/2017/09/open-closed-minded/
  13. https://www.academia.edu/38409909/Effects_of_energy_drinks_on_economy_and_cardiovascular_measures?email_work_card=view-paper
  14. http://www.mindsetonline.com/howmindsetaffects/sports/
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udJ31KKXBKk
  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTJX1uirL9Y
  17. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcai0i2tJt0
  18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps4pRPYJWOo
  19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDYqvMuIFKg
  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG7v4y_xwzQ
  21. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TupaYScUUHM

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Impact of Negative Mindset of an Athlete on His/Her Performance: Analysis of Placebo Effect. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 5, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/impact-of-negative-mindset-of-an-athlete-on-his-her-performance-analysis-of-placebo-effect/
“Impact of Negative Mindset of an Athlete on His/Her Performance: Analysis of Placebo Effect.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/impact-of-negative-mindset-of-an-athlete-on-his-her-performance-analysis-of-placebo-effect/
Impact of Negative Mindset of an Athlete on His/Her Performance: Analysis of Placebo Effect. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/impact-of-negative-mindset-of-an-athlete-on-his-her-performance-analysis-of-placebo-effect/> [Accessed 5 Feb. 2023].
Impact of Negative Mindset of an Athlete on His/Her Performance: Analysis of Placebo Effect [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 Feb 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/impact-of-negative-mindset-of-an-athlete-on-his-her-performance-analysis-of-placebo-effect/
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