Limiting Factors of Psychomotor Organization of Qualified Athletes

Limiting Factors of Psychomotor Organization of Qualified Athletes


B.P. Yakovlev, professor, Dr. Sc.Psych.
V.V. Apokin, associate professor, Ph.D.
Surgut state university of KhMAR-Yugra, Surgut

Key words: psychomotor organization, limiting factors, motivation, functional mobility, qualified athletes.

The estimation of psychomotor organization of an athlete is an important phase of the psychological support of sports training. The psychomotor organization is a complex of interconnected personal psychological and typological characteristics that are needed for self-regulation of a particular activity and demands imposed by it [2, 9]. The peculiarities of subject’s functional readiness, efficiency, psychological manifestations (processes, conditions, properties) are reflected in his or her psychomotor organization to a greater or lesser degree.

An athlete is able to reliably fulfill the structure of particular motions only under conditions of sufficient ability to regulate the intensity of action parameters, such as rate, rhythm, speed, amplitude, etc. Ability to regulate the parameters of psychomotor organization, considering changing mental manifestations, is one of the main psychological features of a qualified athlete [6, 7].

The efficiency of regulation of motor actions mainly depends on the level of development and formation of athlete's skills of psychomotor functions, which gives reason to use psychomotor methods in the psychological monitoring system as indicators of ability to self-regulation of motor actions during emotional stress and muscle tension.

The psychological support of sports activity at all its stages, carried out as a control and correction of psychomotor peculiarities, contributes to the increase in reliability, quality and efficiency of athlete’s training before major competitions.

The present empirical experience on the role of psychomotor organization in sports, depending on external factors such as kinds of sport, athletes’ skill levels and training stages, has been accumulated [6-8]. However, the revelation of internal limiting factors of psychomotor activity does not promote the conclusion about the psychomotor organization of an athlete as a whole. As a rule, in practice it is restricted by a fixation of discrete measured results or by their comparative analysis by several psychomotor parameters. The importance of the focus on the concept of “limiting factors” in the training of qualified athletes is caused primarily by the discrepancies and the limitations in the separation of psychological factors that determine psychomotor organization of an athlete.

We consider the factors which restrict optimal voluntary operations during trainings and competitions as the psychological factors limiting psychomotor organization by quality and efficiency of self-regulation of an athlete’s motor activity. We include to those factors achievement motivation and the value of functional agility of neural processes. It should be mentioned that the functional agility; being a personal typological characteristic, corresponds to a certain level of work performance that influences the rate of information perception and processing with differentiation of excitation and inhibition reactions, as well as a swift exchange of an excitation process by an inhibition process [3, 9]. The intensity of success motivation determines the athlete’s need to be successful in a certain discipline. The first time this dependence was claimed in the Murrey’s system, where it was defined as a steady need for result achievement, and as “to make something fast and good, and to achieve a grade” [10]. This need is of a general kind, and it is manifested in any situation regardless of its particular nature. The achievement motivation consists of two kinds of reasons, anxiety for success, and avoiding a failure.

The anxiety for success is considered as a tendency to satisfaction and pride on a result achievement. The wish to avoid a failure is a trend to respond to a failure with feelings of shame and indignity.

Success motivated persons prefer tasks of an intermediate or somewhat higher difficulty. They are sure of success, and they search for any information considering their success, they are resolute in uncertain situations, prone to reasonable risks, ready for responsibility, persistent in the pursuit of goals, and they have an adequate average level of pretensions, that either heightens after a success or lowers after a failure. Accomplishment of too easy tasks does not bring them satisfaction and success feeling, whereas too complicated tasks mean a great hazard of fail, so they do not choose both of them. With the tasks of a medium complication, the success or failure are equally probable, so the result is most dependent on the efforts of a person.

The persons that are inclined to avoid failure search for information on the risk of failure during result achievement. They proceed in solving both too easy tasks (where they are 100% successful), and rather complicated ones (where a failure is not a personal fault).

In our empirical and experimental investigations, three techniques were applied: estimation of a psychomotor organization by M.P. Moroz’s method [4, 5], estimation of functional mobility by N.V. Makarenko [3], and estimation of the achievement motivation by N.M. Peysakhov [8].

As a measure of the athlete’s psychomotor organization we used the elementary visual-motor reaction (EVMR) which is based on a statistic analysis of the latent periods of elementary sensorimotor reaction. We have applied the “Express diagnostics of functional conditions and efficiency of a person” method developed by IMATON Company (Saint Petersburg) [4, 5].

Currently it is the most common and objective technique for the determination of functional conditions of the central nervous system (CNS) in the investigations of educational, sports and professional activities, when the variation chrono-reflexometric analysis is applied, which is based on the statistic analysis of latent periods of an elementary sensorimotor reaction (B.D. Asafov, T.D. Loskutova, 1975; L.P. Pavlova, 1988; M.P. Moroz, I.V. Chubarov, 2001). Thanks to the relative simplicity of this technique and the convenience of its application in natural conditions, as well as neglecting the training factor effects, it can be used as an express method for practical investigations on the estimation of man’s functional conditions.

It has been shown that the duration of separate reactions significantly increased as the functional conditions of an organism declined. It is considered that the variation characteristics of the temporal indices of motor reaction reflect the probabilistic and statistical brain functioning (A.V. Karpenko, 1988).

The distribution of sequential periods of an elementary visual-motor reaction (EVMR) and the position of variational curve in the coordinate system depend on the CNS. This correlation allows three quantitative parameters that variously characterize the different theoretical aspects of the CNS functional status, and the efficiency level as well [5]. The first parameter is a functional level of system (FLS). Its value is determined mainly by absolute values of the EVMR, i.e. by the position of variational curve relative to the abscissa. The second parameter is reaction stability (RS). The lower variability of the EVMR, the higher values of this parameter are observed, i.e. it is oriented at the ordinate axis, since the variability of EVMR values is caused by continuous fluctuations of the CNS states. The third parameter is a level of functional abilities (LFA). It is the most thorough characteristics of a CNS state, and it is used to estimate the CNS ability to form and to store long enough appropriate functional system (N.N. Bragina and T.A. Dobrokhotova, 1988; L.P. Pavlova, 1988).

Athletes have been inspected in a separate laboratory, the persons not directly participated in the inspection were absent. An athlete inspected has been located directly in front of a monitor. He followed the instructions of the investigator. All functions of right and left hands have been determined, then their average values were calculated (Tab. 1).

The technique for estimation of a personal typological parameter of functional agility is based on the theoretical and methodological developments of the Kiev psychophysiological school of A.E. Khilchenko, A.V. Troshikhin, N.V. Makarenko, and Yu.L. Maydikov. This technique determines the rate of information perception and processing, and the rate of making decision on a problem solution [3]. For a given age sample, two groups of athletes with average and high level of functional agility of nervous processes (LFA NP) were formed by estimation of functional agility of nervous processes:

  • group 1 –average LFA NP, 80-90 signals per 30 s;
  • group 2 – high LFA NP, over 90 signals per 30 s (Tab. 1).

Extreme activity in sport is characterized by special and temporal limits, certain competition rules, referee style, fans’ activity, contention intensity in competitive conditions, all these factors limit perception quality, the capacity for information processing, and the decision making for an efficient motor performance.

The value of information stimuli impact, produced in the competition conditions, on the organism and mind of an athlete depends also on a problematic situation (caused by the falsity and the disguise of a competitor’s actions, uncertainty in the action start and so on), on the extreme motor modes (the highest rate of actions and operations, coordination complexity of the actions, endurance, permanence, etc.), on the level of a stress effect caused by a social superiority of the competitions, and on the result. Therefore, the level of functional agility is an important factor in the quality and the efficiency of self-regulation of athlete’s psychomotor organization.

The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of factors limiting quality and effectiveness of self-regulation of psychomotor functions of athletes from different sports.

Organization and methods. Qualified athletes (1st category and candidate masters of sports), 17-20 years old men of various specialties (single combat, wrestling, swimming, skiing, biathlon) have been examined (Tab. 1).

Results and discussion. After the examination of latent periods of the EVMR we selected four groups of tested qualified athletes: (i) the first one comprised 17-20 year olds with the motivation for avoiding failure and an average level of functional agility of nervous processes; (ii) the second group consisted of 17-20 year olds with the success achievement motivation and an average level of functional agility of nervous processes; (iii) the third group involved 17-20 year olds with the success achievement motivation and the high level of functional agility of nervous processes; and (iv) the fourth group comprised 17-20 years old athletes with the motivation for avoiding failure and a high level of functional agility of nervous processes (Table).

Table. Average rates of latent periods of elementary visual-motor reaction of 17-20 years old qualified athletes, М±m.


FANP, ms

FLS, c.u.

RS, c.u.

LFA, c.u.

1st group, athletes with average values of FANP and MFA, n=21

Average value





Right hand





Left hand





2nd group, athletes with average values of FANP and SAM, n=20

Average value





Right hand





Left hand





3rd group, athletes with high values of FANP and SAM, n=15

Average value





Right hand





Left hand





4th group, athletes with high values of FANP and MAF, n=17

Average value





Right hand





Left hand





Note. MAF – motivation for avoiding failure, SAM – success achievement motivation; FANP – functional agility of nervous processes (inhibition and excitation).

Proceeding from the results of investigations on the psychomotor organization, reliable differences (p<0.05) between the 1st and 2nd groups and the 3rd and 4th groups of the athletes tested by Moroz’s method in the average values of latent period of the EVMR and quantitative parameters of the CNS functional conditions were observed.

The investigations revealed multidirectional and different manifestations of the parameters of functional agility of the athletes’ nervous processes and their motivation for success.

For example, the analysis of the parameters of athletes with a high success achievement motivation and a high value of FANP has revealed that the quality and efficiency of psychomotor organization are most efficient for three main functional parameters (FLS, RS, and LFA), that was not observed for the athletes with average values of FANP and motivation for avoiding failure.

The above mentioned dependence is explained by the fact that the absence of a sufficient result motivation and rate of information perception and processing limits the ability to form and to preserve for a long time certain functional system which functions depend on its consistency, synchronization, and special parameters, and on coincidence of the rhythms of excitation-inhibition transitions of nervous processes.

As a whole, the obtained parameters reflected the highest effect of the limiting factors on the psychomotor reactions of the athletes. Proceeding from the results, one can conclude the following:

– the psychomotor organization of qualified athletes is determined by the personal typological peculiarities of psychomotor reaction manifestations that are revealed in the FANP values and personal motivation;

– the requirements imposed on athletes during training for competitions oblige application of a complex estimation of quality and efficiency of psychomotor organization, taking into account the main limiting systems and grades of an athlete’s psychological readiness.

Conclusions. Proceeding from the findings of the studies of psychomotor organization of qualified athletes, the psychological limiting factors are achievement motivation and the lability level of nervous processes.

Herewith, one is to take into account that psychomotor functions are systemized depending on specifics of sports activity and inner features of the subject of activity [2, 8].

The regulatory functions, providing for motion control by the parameters determining efficiency of activity, are the key units of psychomotor organization.

Therefore, objective appraisal and analysis of psychomotor functions of athletes demonstrating high variability and changeability under specific conditions of competitive activity are very important. Psychomotor indices are informative indicators of functional fitness and physical working capacity of athletes regarding speed and accuracy.

Every sports specialization has sets of individual typological characteristics or single dominant features stipulating for efficiency of motor actions in achievement of sports results. Qualitative and quantitative indicators of the process of information reception and processing in view of mobilization of body's functional reserves are among such internal competitive actions, predetermining efficiency of competitive actions.

It is evident that personal psychological parameters of athletes’ conditions develop in a process of improving the technique of control of motor actions, considering the raise of sports skills and professional qualification. However, athletes’ voluntary intention for self-perfection, self-development and success are necessary for a more efficient and successful development of their professional skills. When that intention is absent, at the stage of high skill level and social demands any training technique is hardly to be efficient.

Thus, the cultivation of a permanent motivation, active inspiration for high achievements under extreme competition conditions, and high personal demands for the functional readiness and performance should be the foundation of psychological and pedagogical measures aimed at the development of the athlete’s professional skills and individual features.


  1. Il'in, E.P. Motivation and motives / E.P. Il'in. – St.Petersburg: Piter, 2003. – 508 P. (In Russian)
  2. Il'in, E.P. Human psychomotor organization: textbook for universities / E.P. Il'in. – St.Petersburg: Piter, 1st ed., 2003. – 384 P. (In Russian)
  3. Makarenko, N.V. Human psychophysiological functions and camera work / N.V. Makarenko.– Kiev: Naukova Dumka, 1991. – 216 P. (In Russian)
  4. Moroz, M.P. The methodology of evaluation and forecasting of physical working capacity of a cameraman / M.P. Moroz, I.V. Chubarov – St.Petersburg: Petrotsentr, 2001. – 80 P. (In Russian)
  5. Moroz, M.P. Instant diagnosis of human functional state and physical working capacity / M.P. Moroz. – St.Petersburg: IMATON, 2003. – 38 P. (In Russian)
  6. Sports psychology in the works of foreign specialists: reader / comp. by I.P. Volkov, N.S. Tsikunova. – Moscow: Sovetsky sport, 2005. – 268 P. (In Russian)
  7. Sports psychology in the works of Soviet experts / comp. and ed. by I.P. Volkov. – St.Petersburg: Piter, 2002. – 380 P. (In Russian)
  8. Yakovlev, B.P. Emotional tension in sports activity: monograph / V.P. Yakovlev. – Surgut: RIE SurSPI, 2003. – 182 P. (In Russian)
  9. Yakovlev, B.P. Mental load in elite sport / V.P. Yakovlev. – Surgut: RIE SurSPI, 2007. – 201 P. (In Russian)
  10. Murrey, H.A. Exploration in Personality / H.A. Murrey.  – N.Y., 1938


Author’s contacts: