Professional basketball player personality: psychology profiling study

Dr. Sc. Psych., Associate Professor N. Pidbutska1
PhD, Associate Professor J.G. Chebakova1
1National Technical University “Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute”, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Keywords: professional basketball, key mental qualities, motivations, individual psychological profile.

Background. Modern sport science gives a special attention to the competitive performance improvement issues in the team sports including basketball. We appreciate studies of the role of psychological support in modern sports [2], individual psychological profiling in sports [5], some practical and experimentally tested aspects of an athletic psychology [7], and the psychological factors of influence on the individual progress in sports [8]. These studies show the growing interest of the research community in psychological aspects for progress in the modern professional basketball [1, 3] and differences of the professional and amateur sports in these aspects in particular [4, 6]. None of the studies, however, has explored the whole integrity of the dominant psychological personality qualities for success in modern professional basketball, and this was the core idea of the present study.

Objective of the study was to profile the key individual mental performance factors in the professional basketball and analyze the professional versus amateur basketball players’ psychological profiles.

Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for the study were the professional male basketball players competing in the Basketball Federation’s Super League (n =22, aged 23.2 years on average, with the average sport record of 15.2 years) and amateur basketball players (n=32, aged 19.4 years with the sport records of 2.7 years on average). We used the following research methods: analysis of the study reports on the subject; anonymous psychological tests; and mathematical statistics tools for the survey data processing. The sample was tested by the following tests: (1) Volitional Self-regulation Test (by A. V. Zverkov and E. V. Eidman) with 30 statements scored by the perseverance, self-restraint and general volitional self-regulation scales; (2) Sport Motivations Survey by E.A. Kalinin with 50 questions and the achievement, struggle, self-improvement, communication and encouragement scoring scales; and (3) five-factor (big five) Personality Inventory by R. McCrae and P. Costa including 75 paired statements and the extraversion-introversion, attachment-isolation, self-control-impulsivity, emotional stability-instability, and expressiveness-practicality scoring scales. The test data were processed by a statistical analysis and factor analysis (principal components exploration method with varimax rotation) to cut down dimensions of the test data arrays.

Results and discussion. Having analyzed the dominant psychological personality qualities in the professional basketball sample using the factor analysis, we found the three key components that account for 66.7% of the variance altogether.

Bipolar Factor 1 (with the contribution of 32.7%) was found correlated with the emotional balance (, 956), emotional lability (, 872), tension (-, 844), curiosity (, 824), self-criticism (-, 801), insistence (, 764), volitional control (, 749), perseverance (, 741), depression (-, 729), self-restraint (, 696), thirst for impressions (, 617), anxiety (-, 594), encouragement (-, 512) and sensitivity (, 532). Factor 1 generally characterizes the emotional domain of the professional basketball player’s psychological profile – that ideally should score high on the emotional maturity, confidence, endurance and behavioral control scales.

Bipolar Factor 2 (with the contribution of 18.3%) was found to cover the depression (, 596), self-restraint (, 576), cooperation (, 893), self-perfection (-, 868), attachment (, 835), dominance (, 830 ), struggle (-, 772), warmth/ compassion (, 769), accuracy (, 755), achievements (-, 739), communication (-, 635), credulity (, 632), sensitivity (, 631), expressivity (, 609), self-control (, 607) and artistry (, 568). The factor is generally indicative of the external behavioral control aspects in the individual interactions with the others – that ideally should score high on the cooperation, relationship harmony and compassion scales.

And unipolar Factor 3 (with the contribution of 15.7%) covers communication (, 553), expressivity (, 551), self-control (, 507), artistry (, 523), extraversion (, 926), communicativeness (, 852), feel of guilt (, 823), curiosity (, 770), responsibility (, 595) and behavioral self-control (, 545). The factor generally characterizes attention to the others, need for communication, openness to contacts, and thirst for new emotions and impressions in communication.

The dominant psychological personality quality of an amateur basketball player was found basically covered by the following factors (with total variance of 68.98%).

Unipolar Factor 1 (with the contribution of 38.5%) was found indicative of expressiveness (, 960), extraversion (, 954), curiosity (, 903), accuracy (, 879), dominance (, 861), artistry (, 858), prudence (, 857), responsibility (, 838), communication (, 817), understanding (, 814), interest (, 801), affection (, 789), feel of guilt (, 797), activity (, 793), respect for others (, 742), warmth (, 695), sensitivity (, 680), perseverance (, 676), thirst for impressions (, 673), plasticity (, 648), cooperation (, 582), struggle (, 563), credulity ( , 479) and self-control (, 413). This factor is quite diverse and does not cover the dominant specific psychological personality qualities as it refers to the basic personality qualities including neurotism, extroversion, openness to experience, cooperation and diligence.

Bipolar Factor 2 (with the contribution of 19.4%) covers warmth (, 440), emotional balance (-, 962), anxiety (-940), depression (-, 826), perseverance (, 808), tension (-, 733), emotional lability (-, 733), self-control (, 729), volitional control (, 692) and self-expression (, 593). The factor generally characterizes the individual psychological power and self-control qualities.

And Factor 3 was found to correlate with communication (, 948), self-improvement (, 874), achievement (, 854) and encouragement (, 825). The factor characterizes the motivational component of the amateur basketball player’s psychological personality qualities on the whole and the need for communication, appreciation and achievements in particular, i.e. refers to the external domain of an amateur sporting personality.

Conclusion. Generally a perfect basketball professional demonstrates emotional maturity, confidence, endurance, high mental controls, teamwork skills, sensitivity to the teammates, open mindedness, good communication, openness to positive emotions and impressions. On the whole, the dominant psychological qualities in the psychological personality profiles of the amateur basketball players were found less expressed. Therefore, the professional basketball players were tested with a clear hierarchy of dominant sport-specific mental qualities versus the amateur players. The study found the mental qualities, motivations and personal priorities critical for competitive success in modern basketball. Generally we found the following dominant psychological qualities critical for success in the modern professional basketball: emotional balance, positive attitudes to the teammates, cooperation, communication, emotional maturity, confidence, tolerance and behavioral self-control.

References

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Corresponding author: podbutskaya_nina@ukr.net

Abstract

Modern team sports give a special priority to the factors of influence on the competitive performance. The study analyzes benefits of the mental conditioning service in the team sports; practical and experimental aspects of the athletes mental control; and the individual progress securing psychological factors.

Objective of the study was to profile the key individual mental performance factors in the professional basketball and analyze the professional versus amateur basketball players’ psychological profiles.

Sampled for the study were the professional male basketball players competing in the Basketball Federation’s Super League (n =22, aged 23.2 years on average, with the average record of 15.2 years) and amateur basketball players (n=32, aged 19.4 years with the sport records of 2.7 years on average). We used a factorial analysis to prioritize the dominating personality mental qualities of professional basketball players including the emotional factor (factor 1); external regulation factor for teamwork (factor 2); and attention to the teammates (factor 3). Generally a perfect basketball professional demonstrates emotional maturity, confidence, endurance, high mental controls, teamwork skills, sensitivity to the teammates, open mindedness, good communication, openness to positive emotions and impressions. On the whole, the dominant psychological qualities in the psychological personality profiles of the amateur basketball players were found less expressed. Therefore, the professional basketball players were tested with a clear hierarchy of dominant sport-specific mental qualities versus the amateur players. The study found the mental qualities, motivations and personal priorities critical for competitive success in modern basketball.