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Sport Psychology
Attribution Theory
Football Managers
Sir Alex Ferguson
Jose Mourinho
Steve Bruce
Arsene Wenger
Tiger Woods
Weiner later added 3rd dimension – Locus of Control
With success players tend to attribute their performance to
internal factors: - Self-serving Bias
With failure players tend to attribute their performance to
external factors
Dependant on what we attribute our success or failure to, can
have a significant effect on our future motivation.
• Internal factors (success) - increase self esteem + motivation
Coaches encourage performers to attribute the result to
unstable or controllable factors, preventing damage to self
Locus of Control
• Personal – effort, concentration, commitment
to training
• External – referee, tactics, quality of
Attribution Retraining
• Performers are encouraged to focus on attributing failure to
areas where they have control to allow for future success.
“Your ability and effort was good, but perhaps you are playing
in the wrong position.”
A coach can use strategies such as:
- Learning what players tend to attribute to (observe and listen)
- Draw their attention to progression and change
- Re focus on task / process goals instead of outcome
- Monitor progress for future
- Try and ensure initial success to avoid Learned Helplessness.
Attribution Retraining
• Lack of Ability – Incorrect Strategy
• Frustration – Disappointment
• Helplessness - Persistence
Learned Helplessness
• General/Specific
• Mental Rehearsal
• Attribution Retraining
• Performance Goals rather than Outcome
• Use of correct attributions