Primary scientific data for evaluating information processing ability of the central nervous system that are associated with decision making was investigated in football players, by using event-related potentials (ERP; N200, P300) and reaction times. Participants were college football players who were winners of the all Japan university championship (n=8; Elites) and 8 graduate students with no football experience (n=8; Novices). They used an oddball paradigm consisting of a simple visual stimulus (Choice Reaction Task 1: CRT1) and an oddball paradigm consisting of a complex visual stimulus (Choice Reaction Task 2: CRT2). Results indicated that Elites had a significantly shorter reaction time than Novices in the CRT2. This finding corroborated many previous studies, and indicated that reaction times of Elites were faster than Novices. In addition, ERP (N200 and P300) was observed in all participants and there were no significant differences between the two groups in N200, or P300 latencies in the CRT1. However, Elites showed latencies that were significantly shorter than Novices in the CRT2. These results indicated that the process of evaluating and classifying stimuli was faster in Elites, suggesting that information processing ability of Elites was superior to Novices. In conclusion, this study identified basic scientific data on reaction times and ERP associated with evaluating information that are indicative of central nervous system processing ability associated with decision making by football players.
The psychological growth process in becoming an independent athlete, and how others influence this process through psychological counseling was investigated. Counseling was conducted for an athlete that had difficulties in enhancing her performance and complained, “I’m not sure what I am.” The counseling continued for three years through 101 interviews. During counseling, she discussed issues related to her performance and how she reconsidered herself. As a result, she became able to take initiatives during competitions and with other people, and grew up to become an independent athlete. Moreover, her performance was enhanced. Analyzing the process of counseling indicated the following. (1) An athlete progresses and becomes independent in the process of attempting to solve performance issues. (2) An athlete that is dependent on the instructions of significant others become a separate individual during the counseling process and grow up to be an independent athlete: namely, the athlete experiences an internal death is reborn as an independent person by overcoming difficulties through trial and error. (3) Listening and understanding an athlete’s mind-body experiences can support efforts, lead to new discoveries and to new insights. Ultimately, the athlete accomplishes changes in performance, as well as in personal relationships. These findings suggest that dialogues during counseling are significant for the psychological development and performance enhancements of athletes. These perspectives would help us to understand the process of psychological development in athletes and would be useful for providing future psychological support for athletes.