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The autonomic nervous system

The importance of a positive mental attitude

Carl Atherton looks at the effects of attitude in sport

Marcus Rashford

Attitudes is a key topic in the AQA, Edexcel and OCR A-level specifications.

In sport, attitudes are important because they influence behaviour. In the same way that responses to jokes are predictable, attitudinal responses to sport can be predictable. We tend to respond in the same way to situations or objects because our attitudes almost precondition us to do so. A coach should try to promote positive attitudes so that increased effort, enjoyment and hard work in training become the norm Attitudes could be defined as ‘the ways you think and feel about something’. They are values aimed at attitude objects. In sport attitudes are important in maintaining interest in physical activities, promoting task persistence, providing high levels of intensity at training and producing feelings of wellbeing both before and after competition. For coaches and performers in sport there is a significant benefit to promoting positive attitudes. If a sports performer can be preconditioned to maintain effort and to enjoy competition, then attitudes can have a positive effect on results.

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The autonomic nervous system

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