ABA Sports Psychology Case Study

The Case of Brenda

Brenda is 17 years old and plays competitive tennis. In fact, she hopes to get a scholarship to play in college. Brenda’s coach asked her to go see a sports psychologist who specializes in ABA because she is having difficulty with her serve. She does not have enough speed and accuracy to win matches. Her coach has tried every strategy he knows with no success. Based on her interview with Brenda and her review of videotapes of his serve, the behaviorist decides to use chaining to help. The behaviorist willbreak down Brenda’s serve into individual units of behavior such as the starting position; ball toss; swing of the racket back; acceleration of the racket, contact with the ball; and follow-through.

1. Provide the rationale for the behaviorist’s selection of behavior chaining to help Brenda.
2. Discuss the concepts of primary and secondary reinforcement and how these work in behavior chaining.
3. Suppose that Brenda was having difficulty mastering an aspect of the behavior chain. What would the behaviorist do to help with the mastery of this component of the chain? 4. Discuss the two ways that mastery of a unit of behavior may be assessed.


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