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[中]與盧綽蘅對話III:早期專項化的風險

文字整理:余曉彤


大多數學生視舞蹈為業餘興趣,亦有家長和子女選擇付出大量的時間和精力,從小便投入專業的舞蹈訓練,朝著成為職業舞者的目標奮鬥,日常除了讀書,其餘時間都花在舞蹈課堂和排練。除了技巧提升外,過早和過量的專項訓練對心理和生理發展亦有機會產生一定的影響。


HKAPA Gifted Young Dancer Programme (GYDP)/ 攝Photo:Megan Kwan Man Ki (照片由余曉彤提供 Photo provided by Heidi Yu)


余:請問你從表現心理學的角度,對早期專項化(early specialisation)有甚麽看法呢?


盧:現代人常言道「贏在起跑線」,這個思維模式和文化當然有可取之處。因為小朋友的學習能力強,吸收得很快,如果很早就專研像舞蹈這樣的專項,便會在技能上有所收穫。但同時亦會對他們的生理和心理發展帶來不良的風險,視乎家長和老師如何看待和面對這些風險。例如,如果太早便專注於某一個舞種,過度訓練很容易會帶來生理上的傷患;其次,小朋友的社交圈子會變得很窄。從心理學的角度看,你每天都跟同一群同學和老師相處,假設十三歲時已經習舞十年,便可能會出現一些burnout(過勞)的情況,萌生放棄跳舞的念頭。其實人愈大,愈難建立和尋找新的興趣,這種情況並不健康。我曾經接觸過一位運動員,他從小到大的生活中只有游泳訓練,然後在十五歲的時候才發現游泳其實不太適合自己。他說:「如果我要重新學習另一項運動,我會感到尷尬,因為其他人已經學會玩球類運動很久了,若果我現在才加入,程度只有初階,無法跟其他人一起玩。所以我還是不學了。」這樣看來,當他想建立一個新技能時,難處便在於他需要跨過心魔。所以如果太早投入專項訓練,可能會在社交上經歷一個尷尬的階段。


另外便要提到「自我認同」這個概念,很多時候如果我們只鑽研一個專長,我們的自我價值,和評價自己的標準,往往會與這個專項的表現掛鈎。若我的跳舞表現好,就代表我是一個有價值的人,或者跳舞就是我唯一的優點。從心理學的角度看,這種想法有一定的風險。如果小朋友甚麽活動都可以學,甚麽都可以玩,即使舞蹈是他最愛,家長亦可以讓舞蹈佔的比例多一些,但務必保持多樣化。譬如跳完舞後,我們就會到操場玩,或者學樂器、做其他運動、畫畫等,必須要保持一種平衡。我希望老師們也鼓勵這種平衡。其實即使學生很早便開始習舞,有天賦亦很喜愛跳舞,也不能讓他們的生活只有舞蹈。作為老師和家長的需要明白,他們的責任是要確保小朋友在生活上取得平衡,否則當他們踏入青春期的時候,便會有危險。


余:剛才提到的burnout甚麽時候會出現呢?為甚麽在年紀尚小的舞者身上都有可能發生呢?


盧:Burnout會在生理和心理層面出現。從心理的角度看,burnout的特徵可能是在頗長的一段時間失去動力,即使休息和飲食充足,仍然提不起勁跳舞。當你發現自己好像有這些情況時,很大機會已經太晚了。文獻指出,導致burnout的其中一個主要誘因,是overtraining(過度訓練)。當訓練過量而恢復的時間太少,恢復不單是指生理上的恢復,如果心理上也令你感到overwhelm(不堪重負)的時候,便容易導致burnout。所以當你過早專注一項訓練,投入的時間和精力都過多,其中一個風險便是burnout。


余:總括來說,如果我們想幫助小朋友和青少年的生理和心理正面發展,你建議即使某一個舞種是小朋友的專長,亦把它視為往後事業的發展方向,也需要首先平衡其他興趣;第二就是設立合理的訓練量和有足夠的恢復時間,不能長期地進行過量訓練。


盧:是的,第三,我想提醒老師和家長需要注意的一點。小朋友的表現結果無論好壞,你對他的疼愛都不應因此而增減,不能因為他今日跳舞發揮不夠好,你對他的愛或者態度便有所不同。表現好壞與他的自我價值無關,兩者不可掛鈎。有時候可能社會比較流行賞罰分明,如果你跳得好,便會備受呵護,若跳得不好,就不會受到疼愛,但這種做法不利於小朋友的心理發展。家長往往都明白這些道理,但有時他們的行為可能與他們所想的不符,如果在旁觀看小朋友表演時,比小朋友更緊張他們的表現,便已經是一個警示。如果小朋友的跳舞表現有待改善,則是家長和老師的責任,去引導他們探索自己的潛能。言語和行為上家長和老師都應該對小朋友抱有無條件的包容和愛,這與他們的表現無關,需要分開衡量。


余:感謝你專業的意見和分享。我們在這三期的訪談中先了解了何謂表現心理學,心理技能訓練對舞者的幫助;受傷的心理歷程和重返訓練需要的輔助;以及探討早期專項化的風險。希望未來能繼續與你一起為讀者帶來更多實用的知識。




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盧綽蘅

香港運動及表現心理學家,分別於香港大學和美國波士頓大學取得社會科學學士(心理學)及運動心理學碩士學位。她的主要興趣為表現優化、學生運動員身份認同的顯著性、動機、心理抗逆力和教練心理學。




[ENG] Conversation with Karen Lo Part III: Risks of Early Specialisation

Text: Heidi Yu

Translator: Laura Chan


While most children view dancing as a hobby, some parents and children choose to invest a significant amount of time and energy in professional dance training from a young age with the hope of the student becoming a professional dancer. These children spend all their time after school on dance training and rehearsals. However, all this drilling as well as excessive and premature specialisation in dance can have an impact on their psychological and physical development.



2015-16 School of Dance performance Out of Tradition./ 攝Photo:Keith Sin(照片由余曉彤提供 Photo provided by Heidi Yu)



Yu: From the perspective of performance psychology, what is your opinion on early specialisation?

Lo: People nowadays often mention "winning at the starting line". This is true to some extent, as children have stronger learning abilities and absorb knowledge quickly, and they can achieve a lot if they specialise in a skill like dance from an early age. However, this can also bring risks to their physical and psychological development, depending on how parents and teachers perceive and address them. For example, if they focus too early on a particular dance genre, excessive training can easily lead to physical injuries, and their social circle may become narrow. From a psychological perspective, if they interact with the same group of classmates and teachers every day for 10 years, by the age of 13 burnout may occur and they may give up dancing. In fact, as people get older, it becomes more difficult to find new hobbies, something which can be unhealthy. I once met an athlete who trained for swimming for all his life and discovered at the age of 15 that swimming was not for him. He said, "If I learn another sport, I will feel embarrassed as others have been playing ball sports for a long time. I will be a beginner among the others so I am not going to learn." He had a psychological barrier to overcome if he wanted to develop a new skill. This shows that early specialisation may create an awkward phase in social interaction.


In addition, we should also look at the concept of "self-identity". Often if we focus on a single area of expertise, our self-worth and standards will be tied to our performance in that particular area. For example, I will only value myself if I perform well in dance, or agree that dance is my only strength. Psychologically this is a risky mindset. Even if a child favours dancing, parents should maintain a certain diversity in their activities while allowing them to spend more time on dance. For example, after dancing, they can go to the playground, learn musical instruments, play other sports, draw, etc. to maintain a balance. I hope that teachers will also encourage this kind of balance. Even if students start learning dance at an early age and have talent and passion for dancing, their lives cannot be limited to dance alone. Teachers and parents need to understand that their responsibility is to ensure that children live a balanced life. Otherwise, there will be potential risks when they enter adolescence.


Yu: When will the burnout you mentioned occur? Why is it possible for young dancers to experience burnout?

Lo: Burnout can occur at both physiological and psychological levels. From a psychological perspective, the characteristics of burnout include losing motivation for a long period of time, and not wanting to dance even if you have enough food and rest. By the time you find yourself with these symptoms it is often too late. Research suggests that one of the main causes of burnout is overtraining. When recovery time is too short after excessive training, both physically and mentally, it can easily lead to burnout. Therefore, when you specialise too early and invest too much time and energy, burnout becomes one of the risks.


Yu: To summarise, if we want children and adolescents to develop positively both physically and psychologically, it is suggested for them to have a balanced range of hobbies even if they excel in a certain dance form and may be aiming at a professional career. Second is to establish a reasonable amount of training and allow sufficient recovery time instead of engaging in excessive training for a long time.


Lo: Yes. Thirdly, I would like to remind teachers and parents that, regardless of a child's performance, your love for them should not change. You should not be different in your attitude or love towards them just because they did not dance well. Performance has nothing to do with their self-worth and the two should not be tied together. Sometimes there is a carrot-and-stick culture in our society, where if you perform well, you will be well taken care of, and if you do not perform well, you will not be loved. However, this approach is not conducive to a child's psychological development. Parents often understand this idea but sometimes their behaviour may not match what they think. If parents are more conscious about their child's performance than children themselves, it is a warning sign. If a child's dance skills need improvement, it is up to parents and teachers to guide them and explore their potential. They should, however, have unconditional love and acceptance for children, expressed through words and actions, regardless of the child’s performance.


Yu: Thank you for your professional advice and sharing your thoughts. In these three interviews we have learned about performance psychology, how psychological training helps dancers, the psychological impact after injury and its solutions, as well as the risks of early specialisation. I hope we can continue to bring this kind of practical knowledge to our readers in the future.


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Karen Lo

Lo is a Hong Kong-based sport and performance psychologist, with a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) from the University of Hong Kong and a Master's degree in Sport Psychology from Boston University. Her primary research interests include performance optimisation, significance of student athlete identity, motivation, mental resilience, and coaching psychology.

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