# Sporting moment/example to help explain the Catastrophe theory

Discussion in 'Physical education' started by cschulze, Nov 4, 2010.

1. ### cschulze

I wondered if anyone could help. I'd like to show a clip, or example a specific sporting moment which shows the catastrophe theory. I can use a generic example and make one up, but I would ideally like to name the sports person to help them relate to the theory.

Any ideas?!

2. ### cschulze

I wondered if anyone could help. I'd like to show a clip, or example a specific sporting moment which shows the catastrophe theory. I can use a generic example and make one up, but I would ideally like to name the sports person to help them relate to the theory.

Any ideas?!

3. ### stopwatchEstablished commenter

Ok, I've spent time thinking - 'what??'
Being an old timer (alzheimer?) I do not know what catastrophe theory is (or may well know what it is but not by this name).
Might also be that I am out of touch of course.
Am I on my own with this?
Anyway, give an explanation of what it is and may be able to help

4. ### bigfatgitOccasional commenter

Stopper, old boy, it's quite simple
V = x3 + ax
<img alt=" />or
V = x4 + ax2 + bx
Now do you get it?
Neither do I!! No idea how it fits in with PE
<img alt=" />

5. ### stopwatchEstablished commenter

Apparently it is related to the theory that when athletes are subjected to a small increase in stress above a critical level, they may experience a huge and sudden loss of performance.
Now I'm with the programme (I think!)
I am guessing that David Bedford (think 118 118) might be a good example (?) he was a middle distance runner in the 70's who was a phenomenal runner when breaking records/running against the clock. However when he was put into competition against others (such as Olympics) his performances went down.
Maybe?

6. ### The Pobble

But you need examples of recovery too, as that is the differentiating aspect of catstrophe and inverted U theories!!
So Philips Idowu mid competition (almost any competition)
Any jumper who gets no jumps, or really short ones, and then goes on to make a good jump, or really long one, shows recovery.
A snooker player who is losing really badly, takes the evening tea break and comes back and wins! What changed in the break? Who said what? What did he do?? What put him on the path to recovery rather than continuing to lose??

I love sport psych

7. ### stopwatchEstablished commenter

I knew you knew that Pobs!

8. ### The Pobble

Did I pass?
If only I had known I was being tested, I'd have dressed up!

9. ### njs1999New commenter

I must disagree with the poster who said that the differentiating aspect is recovery.
The Inverted U theory explains that performance levels will increase up to a point of optimal arousal or 'in the zone'. After that, if arousal levels continue to increase then performance levels will start to decline, as they have entered a period of over arousal. There is also the danger that the performer is under aroused, thus their levels of perfomance will be below par or they are simply not up for it. The inverted U describes a steady increase or decrease in performance levels, according to arousal levels.
The catastrophe theory is a sudden decline in performance, owing to a relatively large increase in arousal/stress levels. On a graph, this would look more like a straight line going down. It also brings in the factor of congnitive anxiety.
To summarise: Inverted U = steady decrease in performance, Catastrophe = sudden decrease in performance.

10. ### The Pobble

Yes, quite right, njs1999, but there is also the most important factor - recovery. Which only the catastrophe theory allows for!
That is what the fold in the performance surface is for! It denotes either continued loss of performance, as in the Invertued U, or recvoer, usually due to an external factor (coach, team mates, crowd response) or stress management techniques.

I'm not sure what you mean by this bit. Both cognitive and somatic anxiety can cause both steady and suddent decline in performance.

11. ### njs1999New commenter

The Catastrophe Theory has nothing to do with recovery. As mentioned, it is a sudden decline in performance, brought about by a high level of cognitive anxiety.
I'm sure you know what cognitive anxiety is, but this is said to be the main factor in bringing down the performance of an individual so catastrophically.
I think I know what you mean with the recovery theory, something to do with a performer regrouping and getting themselves back to the optimum state of arousal. But I'm pretty sure its a separate theory, which would lead on from this and does tie in.

12. ### Foneypharaoh

When my kids go through a phase of 'Catastrophe theory', I find 110 decibels of roaring into their ears works wonders.
Positive roaring. that is.

13. ### bigfatgitOccasional commenter

One of my kids just had a "Catastrophe practical" (not theory) in the swimming pool. I don't think that the filters will ever "recover"
I'm being serious (for once) It was like a fleet of Mars bars attacking the shallow end

14. ### The Pobble

http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/csa/vol33/jones.htm

STRESS AND COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING
Jones, J. G., & Hardy, L. (1989). Stress and cognitive functioning in sport. Journal of Sports Sciences, 7, 41-63
A possible model relating performance to stress or autonomic arousal which considers the behavior of individuals was proposed as the "catastrophe curve" by Hardy and Fazey [Hardy, L. & Fazey, J. A. (1987, June). The inverted-U hypothesis - a catastrophe for sport psychology and a statement of a new hypothesis. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. Vancouver, Canada].
<ol>
[*]Under low levels of stress and physiological arousal individuals improve in performance as these two factors increase. [*]When the performer perceives an imbalance between the task demands and his/her capability to match them, anxiety occurs and performance deteriorates rapidly and dramatically. [*]After such failure, the original level of performance can only be regained if stress levels are considerably reduced to the point where the original performance curve was highest, that is, when the task was performed and capably handled. [*]As performances deteriorates with increased stress/arousal there comes a point where the task is abandoned. </ol>It assigns to cognitive anxiety the role of a splitting function that determines exactly what the effect of physiological arousal (on the day of the event) will be. When cognitive anxiety is low the model proposes that physiological arousal has only a relatively small and possibly symmetrical effect upon performance. When cognitive anxiety is high, the effect of physiological arousal is both large and catastrophic, that is, after reaching an optimal level performance is disrupted dramatically.

My bold: a paper one of the originators of the Catastrophe Theory, writing further (2 years later) about stress and sports performance.
Steps 3 and 4 are 3 the splitting point in the performance surface, continued deterioration of performance or recovery!

16. ### The Pobble

I give in! What ever you say, hun!
I shall throw away all research, from the original authors and others extrapoloating new info over the last 25 years, and castigate myself severely for teaching my students the wrong thing!

17. ### njs1999New commenter

Just trying to help the OP out really, not to get in to a debate about what the prime theory is behind the catastrophe model.
Your students must be blessed to have such a pretentious individual guiding them!

18. ### squashballs

I remember Ivanisevis trying to serve out a match at wimbledon...semis or final im not sure....he was so tense he could barely reach the net..i think this is the sort of thing the op had in mind?

19. ### stopwatchEstablished commenter

That's a bit harsh on the Pobble - ouch!!

20. ### njs1999New commenter

May be, but all I was trying to do was help the OP - not get in to a debate about something so minor. Think the last post from him/her was pretty sarcastic in it's own.