Definition Rewrite- Shepardspy

Self Control In Basketball Players’

You’re at the line, a 7th of a second left, down by 2, hearts racing, crowds booing, and the game’s outcome lies in your hands. You could either attempt to make both shots, pushing the game into overtime. Or attempt to make the first, then purposefully miss the second, allowing for a potential 3pt opportunity through an offensive rebound, possibly putting your team ahead. This was the exact situation for the well-known professional basketball player, Andre Iguodala. With him in this position, he was able to exert great levels of self control thus resulting in an overtime quarter that would lead to his team’s victory. Though he was able to operate optimally, individuals in an ego-depleted state may not produce such a cheerful outcome. Moreover, The ego-depletion effect is a phenomenon in which early self-control (e.g. emotion regulation, persistence) exertion reduces subsequent self-control performance. This circumstance can be portrayed within a situation like Iguodala’s. Furthermore, due to the existence of the pressure in the intensified situation, the player may shift their focus to the emotions they are feeling rather than their shooting form, leading to a missed shot. With that being said, the stage is set for the conversation of self control within athletes and whether it serves a significant role in one’s performance.

The Oxford Languages refers to self control as “the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult situations.” In a basketball player, it could be expressed as focusing on the flick of the wrist during a shot. Or the pounding of the ball while dribbling. No matter what the task at hand is, the presence of complete focus and self- control is needed to perform exceptionally, thus making it a vital component in any athletic success.

An experiment was run, which proved that an individual’s self control is crucial to their overall success in the completion of specific tasks. The study incorporated female basketball players that performed numerous assignments. Launching the evaluation, each participant filled out a questionnaire assessing their ideal focus conditions when performing free throw shots. From there each participant executed a series of free-throw shots under the conditions of (skill-internal/familiar, skill-internal/unfamiliar, environmental-external/familiar, and environmental-external/unfamiliar). The internal conditions focused on the actual shooting technique, while the external conditions focused more on the basket. It was discovered that participants performed better in both the skill-internal/familiar and external/familiar conditions than in both of the unfamiliar settings. When comparing internal and external conditions, players performed better when focusing on their shooting craft, thus supporting the vital role that self control plays in the making of a shot. 

Another study was conducted proving that one’s ability to maintain composure is a big factor when it comes to their competence during demanding situations. It examined athletes choking under pressure and the appearance of self-awareness within it. To do this subjects were to play the “roll-up” game, a game involving two rods connected to a vertical board with a ball resting on top of the rods. Players are prompted to move the ball from the starting point to holes on the bottom platform through the horizontal movement of the rods. To establish rigorous results, each subject was given a 5-minute practice of the task. Beginning the experiment,  half of the subjects were told to be mindful of their hands, while the other half were told to be mindful of the ball. It was predicted that increased attention to hand condition would lead to a poorer performance than an increased attention to the ball condition, which was supported by the findings. Moreover, it was concluded that skill performance is disrupted with the presence of heightened awareness of an individual’s movements and efforts. 

 Additionally, an exercise was performed to analyze individuals’ ability to focus their attention on particular assignments. From the examination, it was determined that a person in an ego-depletion state is unable to perform to their highest capability. To start the experiment, participants were required to take various tests to ensure accurate results. The evaluations assessed players’ sports anxiety, self-control, strength, and level of depletion. From there, 31 experienced basketball players were randomly split into two groups: Depletion or Non-Depletion. Each participant took 30 free-throw shots while listening to audio that imposed worrisome thoughts. Though participants were instructed to neglect the audio and focus on the task at hand, it was found that the depleted group had paid more attention to the thoughts. Leading to a worse shooting in the depleted group. 

 In addition, another study that was carried out supports the notion that one’s ability to make accurate decisions is reliant on their availability of self-control. Similar to the experiment mentioned above, 40 seasoned basketball players were split into depletion and non-depletion groups. From there each participant went through a computer-based decision-making task involving stills from televised basketball games. Moreover, each picture included a player holding the ball faced with various decisional options like shoot, cut/dribble, or pass. It was the participants’ job to quickly choose the most appropriate action by pressing the corresponding keys. During this, participants were presented with distracting audio through headphones. Upon completion, it was found that those of the depletion group performed worse than those of the non-depletion group.

One’s self control is inevitably a deciding factor in determining the completion of a certain task. Take me for example. While writing this paper numerous outside elements could cause a shift in my attention: notifications on my phone, my roommate snoring, the temperature of the room. The difference between me and an athlete in a similar situation is that I can alter these things. I can turn off my phone, move to a study room, grab a blanket. An athlete cannot, which is why  self control must be researched within athletes so that solutions can be found.


Baumeister, Roy F.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 46, Iss. 3,  (Mar 1984): 610-620. DOI:10.1037/0022-3514.46.3.610

Maurer, H., & Munzert, J. (2013). Influence of attentional focus on skilled motor performance: Performance decrement under unfamiliar focus conditions. Human Movement Science, 32(4), 730-740.

Furley, P., Bertrams, A., Englert, C., & Delphia, A. (2013). Ego depletion, attentional control, and decision making in sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(6), 900-904.

Englert, C., Bertrams, A., Furley, P., & Oudejans, R. R. D. (2015). Is ego depletion associated with increased distractibility? Results from a basketball free throw task. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 18, 26-31.

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7 Responses to Definition Rewrite- Shepardspy

  1. davidbdale says:

    As discussed in conference, you don’t “wield your statistics” well. Tell us what the evidence proves BEFORE you share it with us. We’re much more likely to see it your way. After 1000 words, I’m still unsure how to define the terms you’re defining.

    • shepardspy says:

      I added some information to hopefully clarify what is meant by ego depletion. Also, I adjusted the placement in which where I wield my statistics.

  2. davidbdale says:

    The focus of your introduction wanders, Shep. It’s essential that you maintain tight control for at least the first 200 words so your readers know who’s in charge.
    You start by placing someone named YOU at the line.
    Then you substitute Andre Iguodala for YOU.
    Then you swap out Iguodala for INDIVIDUALS, then ATHLETES, and finally, ONE.
    We don’t know who the story is about.


    When Andre Iguodala toed the foul line with less than a second on the clock and his team down by two points, his heart was racing, the home crowd was booing, the noodles were waving behind the backboard, and the game was in his hands. Should he sink two shots and send the game to overtime? Or doink the second one so a teammate could rebound and put in the game-winner? This is a case where an ego-depleted athlete cannot succeed. Lucky for his team, Iguodala had sufficient attentional focus to sink both shots and win in overtime. Not every player can focus through the internal and external distractions to maintain ego presence, as countless studies have shown, but those who can will thrive when others collapse.

    Notice we’ve got ego-depletion in the middle of the paragraph here, Shep, followed very shortly by attentional focus. Then focus again, and ego presence (the opposite, I imagine, of ego depletion), and NO rhetorical questions. We don’t suggest that we’re going to entertain some evidence and discuss whether “attentional focus within athletes . . . serves a significant role in one’s performance.” No! We’re going to say that some athletes have focus and others don’t, and ONLY those that do can perform under pressure.

    If you REALLY want to capitalize on this anecdote, consider this. Iggie could either sink two shots, depending only on himself, OR, he could trust a TEAMMATE to have the same ego presence and attentional focus HE HAD at that moment. In a pressure situation, the ego-present athlete trusts his own focus more than anyone else’s. If he had doinked the second shot and his teammate had failed to focus, the gambit would have failed because he gave the ball up to someone suffering ego-depletion. Yeah?

    You’re doing a good job of keeping this conversation going, Shep. Keep it up.

  3. shepardspy says:

    Hello, Professor May, I receive a regrade.

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