Psychology -
Cognitive and Behaviorist Studies

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The Ripple Effect

The Ripple Effect
       When you throw a pebble into a pond at an angle to the surface the pebble will skip multiple times prior to sinking into the water. You might notice concentric circles emanating from the point of where the pebble hit the water. The pebble can also have other effects. It might frighten a duck causing it to take flight or a school of fish may suddenly change direction as the pebble sinks into the pond. The one action -  throwing the pebble into the water and causes the duck and the fish to react. The secondary reactions were caused through a single and simple act and is known as a ripple effect.

        Jacob Kounin, a class work management theorist, used the term "ripple effect" in 1970 to describe the positive effect teachers may exert on students. According to Kounin, the ripple effect occurs when a teacher asks a student to stop a distracting or destructive behavior. Kounin observed that when a teacher asked a student to stop a behavior in front of the rest of the class, this had a ripple effect on all other students in the class. This interaction, between the teacher and student, made an impression on other students, who also were not paying attention, to also stop their distracting behavior resulting in an improved control of the classroom.

       Behavior is considered by most physiologists to be the result of our environment as opposed to being a result of our genetic background.

      Our behavior and acquisition of physical skills is frequently derived by observing how other people act and then imitate the that behavior.

        Ideally children should be exposed to expected behavior at home through positive reinforcement and instruction. Parents can be important role models of what is acceptable behavior in a variety of situations at play, school, church, shopping, eating in a sit down restaurant, and a wide variety of other social situations.

Basic causes of behavioral habits originate in our
conscious and subconscious mind
       The nervous system is comprised two distinct parts -
  • The Somatic Nervous System is comprised of sensory components which convey data   from the eyes, the nose, and other sensory organs to the cerebral cortex where the impulses are processed with the transmitting impulses to muscles in the limbs and trunk to control voluntary movements.
  • The Autonomic Nervous System conveys data from a variety of our body's responses to different external and internal stimulus's. The designation of these responses may be parts of our brains that are either under subconscious or conscious control. Our autonomic nervous system controls our body's 24/7/52 life support systems that include breathing, digesting food, and blood circulation, plus functions involving breathing and the circulation of blood.
       In yoga, practitioners study meditation and practice a combination of focused breathing, moderate physical effort and slowing the heart rate to enhance our autonomic nervous system. This is described as the "willpower" state". The functioning of the brain is said to increase and become more efficient. The allows us to temporarily take conscious control of our body to achieve a calm state in stressful conditions or to facilitate our ability to improve our ability to perform physically by holding our breath longer, slowing our heart rate, and lowering our blood pressure.

       Stressful situations naturally triggers our mind to respond in a  “fight-or-flight” mode, that frequently result in responding impulsively to challenges. With practice, participating in yoga practices — such as mediation — can actually train the brain achieve better focus and self control.  Over an extended period of practice,  it should become easier to make better decisions that can be applied in all areas of our lives — sports, school, careers, family, and social associations.

      In some circles this process is referred to as the "power of positive thinking". Twelve step programs to help individuals stop smoking, drinking, over eating, etc. also use similar concepts that are based on the concept of a "higher power" that is the core of religious beliefs.

Yoga-style stretching can benefit any athlete, but it is most valuable for preventing injuries
in sports that require explosive activity, These include racket sports, power lifting, sprinting, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and any activity where a great deal of force is suddenly
exerted by the muscles. Yoga and stretching is less essential prior to endurance activities
like swimming, cycling or running, since athletes can begin these sports slowly, giving their
muscles a chance to warm up before they really begin to push. Mahon adds, "stretching after
a long workout can speed recovery and help get the athlete ready for the next session."
Source - Tony Mahon, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at
Ball State Human Performance Lab, in Muncie, Indiana    

      Even the smallest actions cause a radiating circle of effects on strangers and people we know.  In an athletic situation at an ice rink can be seen in skaters mimicking positive and negative behavior. Coaches and management may need to bar from the rink because an individual kicks holes in the ice or takes slap shots with hockey pucks at the walls. Such poor examples must be made an example of to send a strong message to other skaters that they will receive the same punishment plus a bill to repair the damages.

      Coaches have seen the noticeable improvement of beginning skaters when they can see who more advanced skaters practice and train. Jump and spin techniques improve, more complicated step sequences are attempted by lower test skaters. This is sometimes referred to as "Rising tides lifts all boats!"

Recommended Reading:
  • The Ripple Effect by Mike Boyd Sept. 24, 2009  Other people can see what we are doing and can follow our example. This is called The Ripple Effect.
  • The Ripple Effect uses real people, real experiences, and real consequences to demonstrate how one decision, the kind we are faced with on a regular basis.
  • The Ripple Effect | VoiceAmerica™ The Ripple Effect is talk radio that makes waves and inspires change. Is your belief system the sum total of what other people have told you to believe?
  • The Importance of Yoga for Sports Persons   Feb. 5, 2011 Yoga is a holistic system - teaching skills which many sports persons seek, such as control over the mind, control over the body, good breathing, etc.
  • Autonomic Nervous System - NDRF   The autonomic nervous system conveys sensory impulses from the blood vessels , the heart and all of the organs in the chest, abdomen and pelvis, etc.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder  All kids have worries and doubts. But some have obsessive- compulsive disorder (OCD) in which their worries compel them to behave in certain ways.

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Converting Bad Habits

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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