In the case study proposed my local park and recreation department is planning their annual campaign to increase membership and as the exercise and fitness specialist I’m the main developer. It’s my job to ensure that worthwhile programs are available to families, as the departments’ main goal this year is targeting family memberships. The Families Together and Active program main goals are to improve participants’ performance and to foster positive attitudes towards physical activity, which overall will improve the health of the community.
Social influence is defined as the influence of the presence of others on performance, including audience and coactions. These factors can have both positive and negative effects on an individuals’ performance. The presence of an audience is proven to create arousal, which facilitates performance once a task is well-learned, but hinders learning. Coactors have been found to elicite better performance on simple or well-learned tasks, but worsen performance on more complex tasks. As a socially supportive leader I should make it my goal every exercise class to help the participants reach the following: greater exercise self-efficacy, more energy and enthusiasm, less post exercise fatigue, less concern about trying new things and embarrassing themselves, more enjoyment, greater confidence on the instructor’s capabilities, and stronger intentions to join future exercise classes (Gill & Williams, 2008). As the developer of the Families Together and Active Program for my community it’s my overall goal to implement all of these aspects into my fitness program.
I’d begin with each family by helping them develop their own performance goals to increase their commitment to the program. I’d encourage them to set S.M.A.R.T. goals, which can be reevaluated at any time and changed based on progress. S.M.A.R.T., which stands for smart, measurable, achievable, realistic, achievable, realistic, and timely, is an acronym for a number of ideal criteria that should be considered when setting fitness goals (Siegert, Richard, and Williams, 2004).
After I help the individuals establish their goals I’ll use observational learning as I develop my program to reach each of the aspects I identified above in the second paragraph. Observational learning is when people learn by observing others via the four component process called modeling. The first two processes of modeling include attention and retention, which relate to the acquisition of a skill. The second two processes of modeling include motor reproduction and motivational processes, which relate to the actual performance of the acquired skill.
The attentional process involves an individual paying attention to and accurately perceiving the significant features of a modeled skill. Atheltes are generally attentative because they want to improve their skill level, believe in the knowledge of their instructor, and like their instructor. To improve the effectiveness of this process I’ll use cues or techniques to direct the learner’s attention to key elements of the skill. For example, when showing individuals the proper form of a pushup I’d encourage him/her to keep their body straight like a board and to look forward, not down at the ground. This process will improve individuals exercise self-efficacy, increase enthusiasm, and decrease concern about embarrassing themselves and trying new things.
The retention process of modeling involves developing symbolic representations of a skill that serve as internal models for later action. I can use this process when introducing individuals to new exercises or activities to strengthen the image of the skill. For example, when showing individuals new exercises like the pushup I can have them count the down phase as one and the up phase as two. I can use the same idea for similar exercises. Like the attentional process, this process will improve individuals exercise self-efficacy, increase enthusiasm, and decrease concern about embarrassing themselves and trying new things.
The motor reproduction process involves performers matching actions to the internal representation of correct performance after attending to and retaining a modeled skill. During this process individuals self-correct and practice with instructors’ feedback in order to gradually match actual performance goals. For example, if an individual is having trouble performing pushups correctly he/she should remember how it was demonstrated and focus on the techniques I explain during the retention process. This process will increase energy, enthusiasm, and enjoyment, and decrease post exercise fatigue.
The motivational process involves internal and external factors which motivate an individual to imitate a particular skill. External reinforcement (reinforcement to the performer), vicarious reinforcement (reinforcement to the model), and self-reinforcement are all factors related to this process. For example, praise from an instructor for performing a skill correctly will motivate an individual to continue to perform that skill. This process will result in more enjoyment and stronger intentions to join future exercise classes.
The most important thing I can do as a leader is ensure all participants feel confident in my capabilities as their leader. If the participants feel confident in my capabilities they’ll continue to attend classes and may possibly join future exercise classes.
Social influence can have both negative and positive effects on an individuals’ performance. As a socially supportive leader I should make it my goal every exercise class to help the participants reach the following: greater exercise self-efficacy, more energy and enthusiasm, less post exercise fatigue, less concern about trying new things and embarrassing themselves, more enjoyment, greater confidence on the instructor’s capabilities, and stronger intentions to join future exercise classes. If I successfully reach these goals every exercise class I should reach the overall goals of the Families Together and Active program with no problem.
Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champain, IL: Human Kinetics
Siegert, Richard, and William Taylor. "Theoretical aspects of goal-setting and motivation in rehabilitation." Disability and Rehabilitation 26.1 (2004): 1-8. Print.