The role of social interaction during pre-performance routines: An Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) perspective

Thierry R. F. Middleton *, Michelle Seanor *, Robert J. Schinke **, Ismael Pedraza ***, Montse C. Ruiz **** and Claudio Robazza *****

(*) Human Studies Program, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada
(**) School ofHuman Kinetics, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada
(***) Institute of Psychology, Department of Performance Psychology, Germany Sport University, Cologne, Germany
(****) Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
(*****) BIND – Behavioural Imaging and Neural Dynamics Center, Department of Medicine and Aging Sciences “G. d’Annunzio”, University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy

The purpose of the current study was to provide an exploratory account of swimmers’ pre-performance routines prior to a successful performance and the influential role that social interaction plays during this time. Eight swimmers’ descriptions of their pre-performance routines were analyzed using an interpretive thematic analysis to identify salient storylines. Two overarching themes were identified: (a) athletes’ interactions with the social environment; and (b) connection between the social modality and other modalities of a psychobiosocial state. The authors conclude by promoting a move towards more contextualized understandings of pre-performance routines and an acknowledgement of the social state as an integral component of an interactive psychobiosocial state. We propose that the dynamic nature of person-environment relationships, and how these may impact athletes’ feeling states, should be considered during the development of pre-performance routines.

Keywords: Context-driven, Pre-performance routines, Psychobiosocial state, Swimming