Understanding Models of Performance Enhancement from the Perspective of Emotion Regulation
Authors: Zella E. Moore and Frank L. Gardner
Abstract: Psychological skills training procedures for athletic performance enhancement, a cognitive-behaviorally based group of procedures, have traditionally been understood from the perspective of self-control theory. From the perspective of this classic theoretical model, increasing and developing mental skills promotes an athlete’s ability to control internal processes such as cognitions, images, and emotions, which in turn is thought to enhance performance via the creation of an ideal internal performance state. The evidence for the efficacy of these procedures has been previously challenged, as has the empirical evidence in support of the mechanisms by which these procedures are purported to work. Based upon the burgeoning empirical data in the broad area of emotion regulation, this article (a) presents similarities and differences between traditional PST and contemporary acceptance-based approaches to performance enhancement with an eye toward rapprochement, (b) offers an alternative explanation for the possible mechanism by which psychological skills training might be effective, and (c) suggests some possible modifications of mental skills training procedures that might enhance their efficacy.