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56. OPTIMAL Model in Sports: Empowering Athletes and Learning Environments, w/ Wulf G. & Lewthwaite R.

A Multifold Scientific Theory that can Enhance Performance Overtime: Expectancies; Autonomy; Locus of Control w/ PhDs Leading Researchers

Season 2, episode 56
1 hr 26 min / Published

 Introducing the OPTIMAL Model (for E-W-S?) 🙌 with leading Researchers Gabriele Wulf & Rebecca Lewthwaite. 👩‍🔬 Tune in to get to know the 3 elements that constitute this solid scientific model which can assist athletes or any other person in their performance and learning processes.

 On this extended conversation we dive into some motivational variables for you to get to know what might impair your training moments, and which ones can you tweak so that you get more “in the zone”.

 All the topics covered touch on psychological and physiological aspects that relate to actual focus and movement while performing.

 Overall, we talk about scientific creative experiences that showed specific conditions for better performance results; we talk about the important role of one’s expectancies prior to a sporting competition event; The degrees of autonomy and control one senses while performing a task; And still during tasks, we talk about where our focus should be, how, and why.

 For me, I would go for one more hour with these guests hearing their stories and scientific experiments, so you can count with that and some other cool facts, as these women combine +200 scientific papers published!

 NOTE: I’m sorry by the audio quality on my part - the original microphone recording wasn’t saved, unfortunately. I made my best to edit and improve it in post-production; and I’ll make sure it won’t happen again.


“When people are early on the learning of a skill, like ‘what am I supposed to do here? - I need to do a form like this and my elbow be like that..’ - that’s a ‘Description issue’. Once you’ve figure out the sequence of events that should happen, and you shut that other part off, you might be closer to a better external focus to achieve.”

“We don’t think there is a place where Internal Focus is beneficial (in performance or learning moments). (...) When you get your mind cleared, where is just one thought, not multiple points in space.”



  •  Resume and Intro > (01:17)
  •  The Path and Interests of our Guests > (06:45)
  •  Importance of the Fundamentals in OPTIMAL > (13:30)
  •  3 Main Elements of OPTIMAL > (18:20)
  •  On Sensations and Focus on Intended Movement > (26:20)
  •  A Time for Every-thing - “Clean it off and go for the next one move” > (30:03)
  •  External Focus Goodies > (34:10)
  •  Relating to Flow Experiences > (42:10)
  •  What About Expectancies and How can be Measured > (45:55)
  •  About Autonomy Correlates - Self Determination Theory > (55:13)
  •  Giving Incidental Choices and Asking for Opinions is Good > (01:01:10)
  •  An Extra for Learning Environments > (01:12:25)
  •  #1 Characteristic of a Great Athlete & Final Considerations > (01:17:00) & (01:22:23)

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This episode is part of the EWS Interviews series
Conversations with Experts
EWS - Efficiently Work Sport
A podcast by Gonçalo Marques @EWS
Building Psychology for Optimization in Sports and Mental Health
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