Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 407–411 | Cite as

Using a Behavioral Intervention to Improve Performance of a Women’s College Lacrosse Team

  • Jesse DePaolo
  • Nicole E. GravinaEmail author
  • Celeste Harvey
Brief Practice


This study examined the use of prompting and an interdependent group negative reinforcement contingency to improve performance of 12 collegiate women’s lacrosse players. The team coaches wanted players to “name passes,” defined as saying the name of a player who should catch the ball at least 1 s before the catch. The intervention was evaluated using an A-B-A-B design, and results indicated that prompting and negative reinforcement (removing sprints at the end of practice for desired performance) were successful for improving names on passes. Players rated the intervention as acceptable, but only 7 out of 12 thought it should continue to be used in future practices.


Sports Negative reinforcement Lacrosse College athletes Performance diagnostic checklist PDC 



There was no funding for this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The first author was a player on the team at the time of the study. She played defense and the participants played offense. The second and third authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Site approval was obtained from the coaches. The IRB did not require individual informed consent because the behaviors and procedures included were common in everyday lacrosse practice and data and the intervention were at the group level.


  1. Austin, J. (2000). Performance analysis and performance diagnostics. In J. Austin & J. E. Carr (Eds.), Handbook of applied behavior analysis (pp. 321–349). Reno, NV: Context Press.Google Scholar
  2. Boyer, E., Miltenberger, R. G., Batsche, C., & Fogel, V. (2009). Video modeling by experts with video feedback to enhance gymnastics skills. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42, 855–860. Scholar
  3. Hume, K., & Crossman, J. (1992). Musical reinforcement of practice behaviors among competitive swimmers. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 25(3), 665–670. Scholar
  4. Koop, S., & Martin, G. L. (1983). Evaluation of a coaching strategy to reduce swimming stroke errors with beginning age-group swimmers. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 16, 447–460. Scholar
  5. Lavay, B. W., French, R., & Henderson, H. L. (2016). Positive behavior management in physical activity settings (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  6. Luiselli, J. K., Woods, K. E., & Reed, D. D. (2011). Review of sports performance research with youth, collegiate, and elite athletes. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44, 999–1002. Scholar
  7. Osborne, K., Rudrud, E., & Zezoney, F. (1990). Improved curveball hitting through enhancement of visual cues. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 23, 321–377. Scholar
  8. Reed, D. D., Critchfield, T. S., & Martens, B. K. (2006). The generalized matching law in elite sports competition: football play calling as operant choice. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 39, 281–297. Scholar
  9. Sidman, M. (2000). Coercion and its fallout (Rev. ed.). Boston, MA: Authors Cooperative.Google Scholar
  10. Smith, S. L., & Ward, P. (2006). Behavioral interventions to improve performance in collegiate football. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 39, 385–391. Scholar
  11. Stokes, J., Luiselli, J., & Reed, D. (2010). A behavioral intervention for teaching tackling skills to high school football athletes. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44, 509–512. Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Behavior AnalysisFlorida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA

Personalised recommendations