Defence Health Sciences Symposium
Translating Cognitive Fitness Framework for Dual-use Application:
A Performance-Focused Intervention for Athletes Affected by COVID-19 Disruption
Bond J.1, Crampton J.1, Winter G.1, Gordon A.1, Moyle G.1,2, Stewart D.1, Aidman E.1,3
1College of Sport & Exercise Psychologists, Australian Psychological Society
2Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology
3Land Division, Defence Science and Technology Group
As a new paradigm in the management of the Mental Health - Performer Wellbeing - Performance Support operating environment, CF2 (Aidman 2017, 2020) requires tools for its implementation. Its key building blocks are training protocols (modules) connected by a periodised training plan under the Cognitive Gym construct (Temby et al., 2015). Several stakeholder groups have adopted CF2 including corporate trainers, mainstream psychological practice operators, as well as members of specialist groups such as the College of Sport & Exercise Psychologists (CoSEP) of the Australian Psychological Society (APS). CoSEP identified a pressing requirement to assist athletes and their support teams severely impacted by the COVID19 disruption to the sports industry. Multiple delays compounded by quarantine and self-isolation restrictions have been observed to cause severe disruption to the heavily regimented training cycles and mental well-being of all involved. Mental Health support through the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and other service avenues including Telehealth, is essential. However it does not address key aspects of the performance focus that is critical for this audience.
Re-setting and adjusting training rhythms and focus on maintaining and improving mental fitness is one of CoSEP’s recognised areas of expertise. The COVID-19 disruption to the entire sports industry is driving CoSEP’s interest in fast-tracking the development of CF2 training modules – especially those that are relevant to the current pressures facing the industry.
CoSEP experts have commenced a practitioner-led modular program development for an app-enhanced implementation. The modules cover Composure, Mindset and Self-belief, Recovery and Resilience, and Mission-Ready. Module development is ongoing. Evaluation of training efficacy and user experience is to follow.
This project can deliver immediate value to a high-profile user group severely challenged in the current, highly unusual operating environment. It is also generating prototype Cognitive Gym modules for multiple applications and industries, and even for broader consumer application (e.g., school students challenged by remote learning). It represents a practitioner-led collaborative response to a high-profile crisis-affected industry that will potentially benefit and ease the burden on many other groups now and into the future.
Aidman, E. (2020). Cognitive Fitness Framework: Towards Assessing, Training and Augmenting Individual-Difference Factors Underpinning High-Performance Cognition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 13, 466
Aidman, E. (2017). The cognitive fitness framework: a roadmap for systematic, evidence-based mental skills training and performance enhancement. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 20, S50
Temby, P., Fidock, J., Oostergo, M., & Shillabeer, C. (2015). Enhancing cognitive fitness in the Australian Army—building the cognitive gym. Paper Presented at Defence Human Sciences Symposium, Adelaide, Australia.