Sports psychology is the research of people and also their behaviours in sport. For both the athlete and also coach this area is as necessary as physics training and performance analysis. Success is being attributed to motivation, focus and also being in the zone, as well as team cohesion.


This is a stimulus leading to a confident or an adverse response come a certain situation. It produces both physiological and psychological symptoms.

“a pattern of an adverse physiological states and also psychological responses occurring in cases where people perceive risks to your well being, which they may be unable to meet” Lazarus (1984)

Stress can because of this be defined as 2 forms:

Eustress – this is positive and also gives a feeling of fulfilment and arousal. It can increase focus, attention and skill level. Part athletes proactively seek and also need stressful situations.Distress - this is a negative form of stress and also in extreme cases causes anxiety and apprehension. It often tends to be detrimental to sporting performance. results of anxiety on power

Depending ~ above the athlete’s level of ability, level of compete or personality stress deserve to have a large impact on performance. If the athlete awareness the need as a difficulty (Eustress) or together a danger (Distress) the result will be an increase in an ideas and performance compared with rise in worry and a reduction in power respectively.

reasons of anxiety

Athletes will respond in different ways in the exact same situation, right here are few of the main reasons of stress:

internal – illness, sleep, form A personality exterior – environment, other people, work


This is a an unfavorable emotional state associated with stress, feeling of worry, nervousness and apprehension. The reasons of stress are largely the same as those linked with stress. There space two main types of anxiety:

Trait stress – this is the personality core, and consistent worry/behaviour nevertheless of situationState stress and anxiety – this is changeable and varies depending on the situation. The is a short-lived mood state and also it comprises of two types:Cognitive state tension – lot of worrySomatic state tension – is the physiological changes due come perception results of anxiety on sporting power

When an athlete experiences concern and negative thoughts (cognitive state anxiety) it reasons decision making to come to be poor and concentration levels to drop, enhancing the number of errors. This have the right to be monitored through the increase in somatic state tension responses, i beg your pardon include boost in love rate, sweating and also blood pressure. Several of these symptom of stress are helpful to sporting performance, but if the athlete perceives them as happening since they are unable to accomplish the demands of the task they additional increase cognitive state anxiety.

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Arousal is referred to as a emotional state the alertness and also anticipation the prepares the body for action. Separation, personal, instance athletes have various levels the arousal and it is either an adverse or positive but neutral.

Theories that Arousal

Sporting performance and its relationship with arousal deserve to be demonstrated by numerous theories:

drive TheoryInverted U hypothesisCatastrophe TheoryZone that Optimal functioning (ZOF) concept Drive concept

This is a linear relationship between arousal and performance, as arousal increases sot ot walk performance.


However evidence says that this theory is just relevant up to a point, after which an athlete can more than aroused and performance decreases.

reverse U theory

This theory claims that over there is an optimal level of arousal (which will certainly differ from sport to sport and athlete come athlete). Power levels will certainly be in ~ their greatest at the optimal allude of arousal. If arousal is as well low or also high performance will certainly be lower.


Catastrophe theory

This theory differs indigenous the inverted U hypothesis by linking arousal and anxiety. If the athlete is suffering high levels of cognitive state stress as arousal rises in the direction of the athletes threshold, the athlete experiences a dramatic fall in performance. This theory does also rely on the require for both arousal and cognitive anxiety to accomplish optimal performance.


Zone that Optimal to work (ZOF) (Hanin)

The relationship of stress, anxiety and also arousal all influence upon an ideas and the improvement of performance up to a point. However optimal power has plenty of other variables that affect upon arousal and also the individual:

Task Simple/Gross performed much better in high arousal levels Complex/fine Performed far better in low arousal levels

Stage the learning Autonomous phase perform far better in high arousal levels Cognitive and associative step perform far better in low arousal levels

Unlike the reverse U hypothesis ZOF claims that individuals perform optimally at various arousal levels depending upon the over factors, as such not all athletes optimal power is in ~ the top of the reverse U.


PersonalityTask typeStages that Learning
Athlete ALow Zone of Functioning(low arousal)IntrovertSimple/Gross skills, e.g. Shotputcognative/associative phase
Athlete CHigh Zone the Functioning(high arousal)extrovertComplex/Fine skills, e.g. Rotate bowlingAutonomous

Effects the arousal ~ above sporting performance

If the performer perceives arousal levels to be optimistic it will have actually a positive impact on performance (getting in the zone). However if the alters are viewed as negative it will boost both somatic and cognitive state anxiety. Choking occurs in high-pressure situations and this heightened state cause extreme nervous and also performance catastrophe.

Controlling stress, arousal and anxiety

Progressive muscular relaxation is a method used to remove tension in the muscles. This technique allows the athlete come contract relaxation and also tension in ~ the muscles. It likewise combines the manage of breathing helping v the symptom of somatic state anxiety. Over there are many different species of this biofeedback control.

Imagery permits athletes to increase/decrease arousal/ tension levels by visualising elements of previous confident performances. If psyching increase is compelled the athlete concentrates on performances that compelled high levels of energy and also feelings the heightened arousal. If anxiety and also stress should be diminished the athlete focuses on the feel of well-being and also positivity.

Self-talk focuses on the performer convincing themselves the they are good enough to perform and play well, most sportspersons will have used the e.g. ‘Come on you deserve to do it!’.

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Sports psychologists, coaches and also athletes work hard to develop up trust in the sportsperson. The techniques currently discussed with aid and assistance the athlete’s self-confidence. That is important to construct of feeling of worth and success and also focus on effective performances.

Quick Check

Stress is a stimulus leading to a positive or an unfavorable response to a specific situation. That produces both physiological and also psychological symptoms. Stress has actually two forms: Eustress – this is positive and gives a feeling of fulfilment and also arousal. Distress - this is a negative kind of stress and also in extreme situations causes anxiety and apprehension. depending on the athlete’s level that ability, level of compete or personality stress have the right to have a large impact top top performance. Anxiety is a an adverse emotional state linked with stress, feel of worry, nervousness and also apprehension. There room two main varieties of anxiety: Trait anxiety – this is the personality core, State tension – this is changeable and varies depending on the situation. There space two varieties of state anxiety: Cognitive state anxiety – lot of worry, Somatic state stress – is the physiological changes due come perception Arousal is referred to as a psychological state of alertness and also anticipation the prepares the body because that action. Sporting performance and its partnership with arousal deserve to be demonstrated by number of theories: journey Theory, turning back U hypothesis, disastrous Theory, Zone the Optimal functioning (ZOF) concept