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P.E.Contemporary – Nash’s functional/dysfunctional model

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    Nash’s functional/dysfunctional model represents the idea that each performer behaves differently whilst playing their sport, due to their personality. It ranges between +3 and -2 but the average player will be around a 0 and +2.

    However, a person may have an experience or have a reaction which could be classified as a -2 reaction even if they are normally a type 0 or type +1. At the highest most functional end of Nash’s scale, is the type +3 person. These people play their sport in the true spirit of the game and so respects the rules and appropriate codes of conduct and shows great sportsmanship.In other words they are honest enough to not need a referee.

    They also often show creative flair, as their sport is their passion and they are good captain material, being inventive and helping to coach their fellow team mates. The best sporting example of a type +3 is Gary Lineker when he played professional football. He rarely lost his temper and was a superb character, who played because he loved football. As we move down the scale we have a range between +2 and 0.

    This is where the majority of sports performers will be placed.These people are usually those who have a certain amount of gamesmanship, they will obey the rules set but will push them to their limit in order to gain an advantage. They may even show reluctance to observe the referee’s ruling. Some are in the game purely for entertainment values, to relieve boredom or to play the clown.

    At the dysfunctional end of the scale, we have the people who fall into either a -1 or a -2 type. Those in the -1 category often argue with the referee and are devious in order to get their own way.They often push themselves so far in order to win either fairly or unfairly that they injure themselves and consequently become even more agitated and frustrated at themselves. They are unable to cope with the stress of sport.

    Indeed, some say the whole idea behind sport is to test oneself to the absolute limit. They are also often associated with excesses. both in and outside their sporting careers, such as drink and drugs. An example of this sort of person may be Robbie Fowler in football or perhaps Mike Tyson in boxing.

    The most dysfunctional type of sportsperson is a -2 person. These people always argue with a referee’s decision if it is not in their favour, retaliate if they feel they have been treated unfairly and disrespect the rules and spirit of the game. They are often violent towards the other players and may even perform a criminal offence. As soon as they appear on the court/pitch/track you know that they will cause trouble.

    There are very, very rarely people who fit solely into this category in professional sport simply because they cannot afford to, economically or career-wise.However, many dysfunctional player in the 0 or -1 category can have moments where for a brief moment they become a -2 player. A good sporting example of this is when Mike Tyson bit his opponents ear off during a boxing match. I have decided to look at the career of David Beckham to show how he has progressed through Nash’s model in his career.

    When David Beckham first appeared regularly on Manchester United’s first eleven squad, he could have been classed as a type 0 personality.He obviously had talent and flair but he was also playing with little regard to the referee and showed a huge amount of gamesmanship, pushing every rule to its limit. He was also flamboyant in his falls when he was fouled and often showed great anger when his appeal was turned down. He was a crowd pleaser however, he entertained them with his flair and accuracy and when his anger did show through it was often all part of the act of being David Beckham.

    As his career progressed he appeared to calm down, and his attitude towards his opponents and the referee got a lot better.The media adored him because of the success he achieved and he here he could be classed as a +1 player. He could now see how good other players were and improved his game by studying his opponents as well as analysing his own weaknesses. He was a force not to be reckoned with and he was incredibly emotionally charged no matter what sort of game he was playing.

    In the world cup of 1998 however all that changed because of his reaction to a foul performed on him by an Argentinean defender.Here, the test of sport became too great for David Beckham and he retaliated by giving a childish kick at the back of the Argentinean’s calf. This caused him to be sent off and controversially may have cost England the World Cup Title. This offence could be classified as a -2 reaction because the only though that was running through his head at the time was one of retaliation, he was no longer thinking about the game or the spirit in which it should be played and his reaction, however small it was, was one of violence and should not have been done.

    Unfortunately for David Beckham, after this incident, the media coverage he received was appalling and it looked as though that one mistake could have cost him his career. However, Beckham kept a low profile, and slowly worked his way back into the nation’s hearts. Today, I would class David Beckham as a type +2. As the captain of England’s football team, he has discovered a new rôle and as a captain he has to support his team mates and actively participate.

    He is far calmer in his style of play and shows a lot of flair in his performance.To analyse myself with regard to Nash’s model I am going to look at myself as a badminton and a netball player. As a badminton player I feel I am far calmer than when I am a netball player, perhaps because there is less direct competition and because as a game it is slower and less aggressive than netball. I do not have much experience playing badminton in a competition which may also explain why I behave in this way.

    I respect the rules and I would hope that I would be able to play as a sportswoman and not a games-woman if it came down to it.As a sportswoman, I respect the referee/umpire’s decision even if I do not necessarily agree with it but I will always moan a bit to myself, which probably makes me a +1 player. I certainly have great emotional participation when I play, the only problem with that is that sometimes I may show my emotions when I should not, for example if someone miss-hits a drop shot to me and it does not make it over the net I may smile to myself, which is morally wrong.However I am quick to admit when my opponent is good and if they do execute a particularly good shot then I will be the first to congratulate them.

    I will also encourage my partner if I have one, and try to coach without appearing patronising. This may move me up the scale to a +2 player. As a netball player I am far more competitive. I will always respect the rules however, and I have been taught that if the referee makes a wrong judgement in my view, to not speak up and to control my feelings.

    I have learnt to an extent, to harness my anger into energy which I can use efficiently i. e. , when I am playing badly or my team is losing I will strive to improve my performance and usually play better as a result. Unfortunately this has an ulterior effect which is that when we are winning I tend to become lazy and do not put as much effort into the game and consequently, let goals in.

    I thoroughly enjoy coaching and try to encourage my team verbally whilst we are playing and then tell them how good they are at half time or at the end of a match.However there have been moments where I have turned into a type 0 player. For example, if my opponent keeps contacting me and it appears to go unnoticed to the referee, I will either do the same to her orand I am ashamed to admit this I have even resorted to “diving” in an attempt to gain the referee’s attention. These reactions would lower me to a -1 position.

    It should also be noted however that there have been times where I have been patient with opponents who abuse the ruling and have outwitted them by rising above it and performing better than them.This has then resulted in them becoming increasingly more agitated and eventually making a mistake which has been noticed by the umpire, or them injuring themselves. Overall I would say that I was a between a +1 and a +2 player depending on the game or my mood on that particular day. It is important to remember that different people have different personalities and at that will reflect their way of performing either as part of a team or as an individual.

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    P.E.Contemporary – Nash’s functional/dysfunctional model. (2018, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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