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Emotional, psychological, social, and physical benefits of sports and exercise are well documented. The knowledge that encourages one to increases the level of physical activities and improve own health has caused the expansion of sporting and exercising activities beyond required competitive standards. It is fundamental to develop a positive attitude towards pressure during exercise in order to achieve consistency in training. In many cases, athletes spend little time performing under pressure. Consequently, they get little exposure to pressure and, when a crucial moment comes, they have to change their training and mode of exercise in order to adjust to pressure situations. Nonetheless, skills learned during non-pressure times cannot be utilized under pressure conditions. One way, in which athletes can learn to perform under pressure, is by simulating the strains of competition with the help of own imagery. In this case, the work of a trainer is to make sure that all individuals in a contest acknowledge the demands of competition by practicing consistently and managing pressure regardless of the associated strains. The instructor should strive to develop a positive attitude towards pressure with the view to improving the performance during exercise by maintaining a consistent behavioral pattern in the training schedule.
The cognitive behavioral meta-theory explains how people can adopt and maintain a particular behavioral pattern. The theory also provides the basis for interventional strategies that enable consistency in exercises. According to Plotnikoff, Costigan, Karunamuni, and Lubans (2013), the ability to manage pressure during practices is an integral part of the entire process more so in the case of elite athletes. The recent research has demonstrated that the cognitive anxiety has a powerful effect on the performance regardless of the athletes’ level of skills and experience. In line with the idea of Plotnikoff et al. (2013), evaluating behavioral change depends on people, their behavior, and the environment. The cognitive behavioral meta-theory provides a formulation for designing, executing, and assessing different programs.
Profoundly, one of the best ways of developing a positive attitude towards pressure is through setting clear goals. In this case, a trainer has the responsibility of defining both short-term and long-term goals. Thus, short-term goals are good standards for the success, and they are set to hasten the desired final goal gradually. The exercise of goal setting is not a wholesome endeavor since every person proceeds with own pace. Thus, it is crucial to consider preferences of each athlete during the exercise. Goal setting also comes with restrictions because an over ambitious mission may not develop a positive attitude towards pressure but frustrate the effort to the entire course, instead (Coulter, Mallett, Singer, & Gucciardi, 2015).
The positive attitude towards pressure can also develop from the internalization of the personal urge. In line, self-determination may result in the intrinsic motivation. It involves engaging in an exercise because of pleasure that is derived from it. A trainer may introduce an entertainment element in order to make the training bring about a sense of fun. When people are engaged in a collective mission, for example, in an aerobics session, a trainer turns on music that makes the exercise more fun; thus, people get entertained and enjoy the pressure thereof (Young, Plotnikoff, Collins, Callister, & Morgan, 2014). As elaborated by these authors, the extrinsic motivation also contributes to the positive attitude towards pressure. When people are result-oriented and work towards achieving another goal, they develop a positive attitude towards the prospect of possessing an external reward. Arguably, intrinsic and extrinsic stimulus lies on an enormous field. The intrinsic motivation results in a great exercise devotion; hence, it positively influences the cognitive response towards the practice. Therefore, it is important to comprehend where a person falls on the broad field of motivation in order to create a positive response to pressure.
The cognitive behavioral meta-theory represents a class of interventions that share the fundamental principle that cognitive factors support psychological distress. In line with ideas of Rhyner and Watts (2016), it is appropriate for a trainer to know when to break and enhance the process of exercising with motivational effort. The cognitive response to renewed stamina helps people act responsively to the directives of a trainer. The trans-theoretical model in cognitive meta-theory depicts one’s stage of readiness for the exercise. When the coach can identify the stages of preparation in the group, it becomes possible to choose and apply an appropriate process for a change and to advance the trainee to the next level of participation and while targeting the ultimate objective.
Rhyner and Watts (2016) note the stages of readiness of an athlete: (a) pre-contemplation; it is the scenario when a person does not have any thought or contemplation of getting involved in physical exercise. (b) Contemplation; at this juncture, a person intends to be active though is not yet physically involved in any form of exercise. (c) Preparation; at this stage, one accumulates a reasonable physical activity on a frequent schedule, for example, one day in a week. (d) Action; it is an increased level of activity from the preparation of people when the exercise takes place according to a regular schedule with the moderate intensity. The last state is the (d) maintenance stage that lasts for a long time and consistently. The entire process of reaching the full exercise helps in accepting and adopting a positive attitude towards pressure and improve own performance while exercising.
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The cognitive behavioral therapy is a management of behavioral and emotional problems. It aims at helping individuals identify and modify any dysfunctional thoughts and patterns of behavior. The phase of involving the cognitive behavioral meta-theory is sound while building confidence and self-efficacy. Geertsen et al. (2016) indicate that in order to maintain the satisfactory performance in terms of behavior and to reach the desired performance, it is essential to build confidence among athletes and people engaging in the physical exercise. More often, humans want to focus on an actual goal and not an abstract one. When they know the possibility of the intended result and the task ahead, they become psychologically prepared to target the achievement of the goal. However, without a clear focus on the outcome, there is a possibility to overlook the entire process and find oneself in despair and panic. In order to create a positive attitude towards pressure and improve one’s performance, it is crucial that a trainer demonstrates the trainees the possible outcome of their effort and more so let them understand the complicated process of achieving the targeted result.
The involvement of competition enhances the performance, as well. Geertsen et al. (2016) state that modeling effects improve the imitative behavior because people want to work towards a realistic result. Arguably, seeing others perform increases the desire to achieve the goal and be the role model that is shaped in the process. Having a viable example of success helps in motivating people towards working out consistently and developing a positive attitude towards pressure and improved performance. Besides, the verbal persuasion by a respected person encourages people to achieve goals that would seem hard otherwise. This voice of authority and success triggers the urge to succeed in many individuals; hence, it motivates them to develop a positive attitude.
Another cognitive behavior is the development of a self-belief. An arousal towards an ultimate goal increases self-efficacy. On the contrary, disbelief or anxiety can considerably decrease it. Arguably, achieving a target has a more significant effect on shaping a confident attitude towards pressure than anything else on boosting self-efficacy. According to Plotnikoff et al. (2013), minimizing the procrastination helps develop a positive approach towards the own weight and improve performance during the exercise. Indisputably, almost everybody acknowledges health and fitness as desirable attributes. Nonetheless, just a small percentage of the population engages in a healthy lifestyle. In this regard, the pressure that comes with the exercise is the biggest hindrance to the progressive improvement. In order to develop a positive attitude towards pressure with the view to improving the performance during exercise, one must struggle to eliminate any procrastination. In most cases, this phenomenon makes people look for possible alternatives to training. Therefore, it is the responsibility of a trainer to develop a decisive leadership image.
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The cognitive behavioral meta-theory uses quite a few techniques, including, the self-monitoring and goal setting. It relies on the conviction that all behaviors are learned and can be unlearned. The issue of how developing a positive attitude towards pressure improves the performance during exercise is a concern of any person that would like to reach consistency in training. Most individuals, who practice either for athletics competitions or for maintaining their fit, have experienced issues with strained exercises, variable work rate, and underperformance due to the pressure that comes with poor sports or exercising habits. Those individuals that endeavor to produce excellent performance have to keep in mind the saying, "No pain, no gain." Arguing from the perspective of the cognitive behavioral meta-theory, this work demonstrated how beneficial a positive attitude is to the improved performance. The work further discussed the benefits of the theory in improving sports and exercises by demonstrating how people can reprogram their mind by challenging habits related to the negative thinking. These challenges divert people's concentration from training and make them concede to the discomfort that comes with pressure in exercising.