Melanie Portal’s MKin Major Paper Presentation “Considerations of Action and Emotion-Focused Coping Methods for Elite Performers”

Title: “Considerations of Action and Emotion-Focused Coping Methods for Elite Performers”
Supervisor: Dr. Nicola Hodges (Kinesiology)
Second Reader: Dr. Maria Gallo (Kinesiology)

Abstract: A serious barrier to success for expert performers is the inconsistency and unpredictability of their performance in major competitions, especially due to unexpected technical difficulties. Often, poor performance levels are due to, or at least accompanied by, negative dysfunctional emotions and loss of confidence. Models and intervention plans such as the Multi-Action Plan (MAP), Task Execution Design (TED), and Five-A Model have been developed over the years to help top performers overcome these emotional and technical barriers by developing functional coping mechanisms. These models use two interrelated strategies, emotion-focused and action-focused, to trigger and initiate desired performance patterns and outcomes. Emphasis is also placed on facilitating independent learning through search, discovery and exploitation of constraints, such as environmental, task and personal factors. Action-focused coping assists individuals in identifying faulty or missing links in motor pathways by increasing awareness, breaking down the skill and then deliberately rebuilding it. Emotion-focused coping assesses individual’s subjective experiences of person-environment interactions to help promote functional emotional responses.

One of the greatest barrier for coaches and athletes is the accessibility to a clear, functional and well constructed systematic interpretation of the models’ that would allow athletes, coaches and consultants to understand the goals, mechanisms and interventions. The presentation will address the theoretical underpinnings of each coping strategy, emotion-focused and action-focused, as well their combined effects followed by suggested steps and practical interventions that could assist coaches, performers and supporting in performance error correction.