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Self Esteem in Athletes

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Self efficacy is an identifiable and important attribute within sport

Coaches, players and psycholoigists all recognize the power-full and imperative effects that this psychological construct can have on behaviour, feelings and thoughts. It is important to understand that expectation of efficacy will by no means produce a desired performance, providing that the component cabilities are lacking.

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Despite the importance of a healthy balance in an athlete’s life, the key to elite athleticism was a total commitment to pursuing excellence. This total commitment to sport was found to be the distinguishing factor between successful and unsuccessful competitive athletes. Therefore, in order to achieve or maintain athletic success, an athlete must sacrifice this healthy balance to capitalize on their physical talents. Self esteem is an example of a sacrifice some athletes experience, to attain success. Often athletes push themselves so hard, that failure or lack of perfectionism can negatively affect their self esteem. Athletes are especially vulnerable to this problem of attaching self-esteem to one’s performances because they are judged by how well they perform. This is specifically evident in figure skating, where participants are constantly judges by their coaches in practices, judges in competitions, and themselves almost daily. However, society sends subtle signals that they must achieve in their sport to feel worthy as a person and that is the trap that many athletes fall into. In addition, if an athlete is a perfectionist, it can further affect their self-esteem because they have such high expectations and are always so critical and hard on themselves. If athletes fall into this trap, their emotions, and how they feel about themselves, are heavily influenced by the perceptions of their performance, which can naturally vary from day to day. Your self esteem may fluctuate based on performance or practices

Although previous research has investigated the psychological effects of competitive sport, few studies have examined competitive figure skaters and their self esteem. The research area studied was sport psychology, and the topics were athletes, non-athletes and self esteem. A subtopic measured was athletic identity. The global hypothesis was that competitive sport would have a negative impact on the individuals and that there would be a significant different in self esteem scores between the athletes and non-athletes. More specifically it was hypothesized that the athletes would present trends as to why their self-esteem was lower than the non-athletes.

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The Positive Coaching Alliance adheres to the ideas of exploring sports as a means for gaining a valuable life experience, for entertaining, and building a strong character (Positive Coaching Alliance n. p.). As soon as a child recognizes that the sports is a means of self-development, but not a cause of depression once the game is lost, he/she will start modeling life philosophy and strengthen his/her self-esteem. Encouragement, therefore, is the strongest incentive for children to make better in sports and in future life

The role of a coach lies in promoting children’s awareness of their advantage and uniqueness. The creative thinking and persuasion, therefore, are among the most important conditions for shaping a strong personality and identifying the winning solutions. The rights efforts made by coach can become a priority in character education. What is more important is that sports concepts should be reconsidered to make both children and parents gain practical value. Hence, a multidimensional approach should be selected for managing a sporting environment and taking an advantage of it. Indeed, character education should become a foundational principle in sports. According to the report presented by Character Education Partnership, “when educators bemoan the fact “there is no more room on my plate” for character education, the common retort is that “character education is the plate”” (Berkowitz and Bier 4).

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In either case, in all sports activities, measures are put in place to avoid injuries. However, risks involved in sports are many and even with safety measures put in place injuries happen. Poor coaching can have adverse effects on the behavior, attitudes and motivation of young people. Some coaches and instructors are aggressive, abusive or argumentative. A coach with these qualities instills them in players and they express these traits in their behaviors

Sports are important in the society because they improve the overall quality life, foster social inclusion and help to eradicate anti-social behaviors in young people. In addition, they improve the health status of individuals thus promoting their well-being.

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Berkowitz, Marvin, and Melinda Bier. Education: A Report for Policy Makers and Opinion Leaders. Character Education Partnership. PDF File. 2006. Web.

Positive Coaching Alliance. Tools for Athletes. 2013. Web.

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