Methodological Aspects of Study of Factors of Adaptation of Athletes to Competitions


M.A. Kuz'min, associate professor, Ph.D.
National Mineral Resources University “Mining”, St.Petersburg

Key words: adaptation, objective and subjective factors of adaptation, signs of deadaptation, successful activity, motivation, personality traits, adjustment specifics.

Introduction. The study of the applicability of the differentiated approach with the use of means of acceleration of athletes’ adaptation to competitive conditions is impossible excluding sports specialization. Athletes' adaptation and its mediating factors are specific in different sports. So far, trainers do not have enough knowledge about who of athletes and in what cases needs assistance in speeding up the process of adaptation to adverse and frequently unforeseen competitive conditions. Further improvement of the system and methods of special psychological training of athletes for competitions is required in view of modern methods of sports psychology and pedagogics.

The stipulated above circumstances make relevant the structural-functional modeling of adaptation, allocation of its factors and role in the success in competitive activity, as well as chances to speed up this process using the differentiated approach.

The purpose of the study was to make a theoretical analysis of the factors of athletes' adaptation to competitive conditions.

Results and discussion. It was noted by B.G. Anan'ev (1967) that factors affecting the success of adaptation processes could be seen as falling into one of two groups: subjective and objective (environmental) factors. The subjective factors include man’s age and sex as well as the physiological and psychological characteristics. The objective factors include working conditions as well as typical regimen and the nature of a person’s activity. Subjective factors could be more important than objective ones, since external causation often exerts its effects through internal mechanisms. This two-group view of the factors has become customary with the passage of time. Objective and subjective factors exist in a dialectical relation with one another.

According to A.P. Olyunin (2000), difficulties in competitive activity are determined, on the one hand, by the specifics of sport, and on the other, by the peculiarities of athlete’s personality.

There is currently no generalized classification scheme for the factors that affect athlete’s psychological condition. One possible explanation is that the specific nature of each sport determines which factors come into play and to what degree they affect an athlete. The scientific literature contains the data revealing the specifics of the factors relevant to martial arts, mountaineering, game-oriented sport games, weightlifting, swimming and cross-country skiing.

It should be taken into consideration that the intensity of impact of any factor (or numerous factors) is determined by personal reaction depending not only on the parameters of this factor, but also on the person’s individual adaptabilities and on the initial functional status.

The conditions of sports activity belong to objective factors affecting the quality of athletes’ adaptation to competitions. Nowadays there is no conventional classification of the objective conditions of competitive activity, since they vary significantly in different sports. V.L. Marishchuk (1983) believes that there are two types of “external effects”, predominantly physical (physical loads, weather changes and so on), and psychogenic ones caused by relations and social environment (team, audience, etc.). However, D.V. Popov (2002) argues this approach, as all the factors affecting human emotions and behavior can be considered as psychogenic ones.

Objective conditions influence man’s adaptation in two ways, direct and indirect (via their subjective perception). While objective conditions are difficult to investigate, due to the lack of developed criteria for their objective assessment, the athlete’s attitude to them is easily determined through his/her subjective estimates. Athletes’ assessment of competition conditions can be considered to be more important than the conditions themselves.

An analysis of the scientific literature on competitive activity in various sports enables to distinguish two groups of objective factors: activity conditions and competition conditions (these two are the most frequently mentioned ones).

The competition conditions include: accommodation, relations in a team, knowing contestants, leisure organization, equipment quality, catering and food quality, presence (absence) of relatives and friends.

The conditions of specific competition activity in a contest include: competition organization, venue state, difficulty, danger presence or absence, weather and climatic conditions, possible effects of casual, unpredictable factors on the outcome of competition.

The problems of studying athletes’ adaptation and their attitude to competition objective conditions are still relevant and need further investigations.

Subjective or psychological factors of adaptation to sports activity are, first of all, adaptively important qualities and characteristics of the activity motivation. This agrees with the L.V. Kulikov’s opinion (2000) who marks that both needs and potentials of a person are the factors of mental state.

Personal characteristics play a key role in the regulation of adaptation (S.T. Posokhova, 2003). According to their level, the quality of adaptation to activity can be predicted. Psychological adaptation is also determined by the structure of their interrelation.

A special place in the structure of personality factors of mental adaptation is usually assigned to motivation as a person’s and activity characteristic. The predominance of achievement motivation over the motivation to avoid failure promotes an effective mental adaptation (F.B. Berezin, 1988).

Conclusions. The data obtained both in the theory of sport and sports psychology do not give the full picture, as specific relations between personality traits and characteristics of athletes' adaptation take place in every sport.

The role of personality traits for adaptation to competitions is hardly studied in the comparative aspect with other sports. Thus, the issue of the content of adaptively important personal qualities of athletes of different specializations remains "open".

Furthermore, there is little research on relating objective and subjective factors of athletes’ adaptability.

Hence, there is very little information on both the specificity of objective factors of athletes' adaptation to competitive conditions, depending on sport and specifics of subjective factors in sports psychology. There is a mismatch of great practical importance of speeding up athletes' adaptation to competitive conditions and little research of its factors, which condition the design of the speeding up technology.


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