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


This is a stimulus bring about a positive or an adverse response come a details situation. It produces both physiological and psychological symptoms.

“a sample of negative physiological states and also psychological responses arising in cases where civilization perceive threats to your well being, i m sorry they might be can not to meet” Lazarus (1984)

Stress can because of this be explained as 2 forms:

Eustress – this is positive and gives a feeling of fulfilment and arousal. It deserve to increase focus, attention and also skill level. Some athletes actively seek and also need stressful situations.Distress - this is a negative kind of stress and also in extreme cases causes anxiety and also apprehension. It often tends to it is in detrimental to sporting performance. impacts of stress on performance

Depending upon the athlete’s level of ability, level of vain or personality stress have the right to have a large impact on performance. If the athlete perceives the need as a challenge (Eustress) or as a risk (Distress) the an outcome will be an increase in an inspiration and performance contrasted with rise in worry and also a reduction in power respectively.

causes of stress and anxiety

Athletes will certainly respond differently in the same situation, right here are several of the main causes of stress:

interior – illness, sleep, kind A personality exterior – environment, various other people, occupational


This is a an unfavorable emotional state linked with stress, feelings of worry, nervousness and apprehension. The causes of tension are mainly the very same as those connected with stress. There room two main varieties of anxiety:

Trait stress – this is the personality core, and consistent worry/behaviour regardless of situationState stress – this is changeable and also varies depending upon the situation. It is a temporary mood state and also it comprises of 2 types:Cognitive state anxiety – quantity of worrySomatic state stress and anxiety – is the physiological changes due to perception effects of tension on sporting performance

When one athlete experiences problem and an unfavorable thoughts (cognitive state anxiety) it causes decision making to end up being poor and also concentration levels to drop, boosting the number of errors. This deserve to be monitored by the rise in somatic state stress and anxiety responses, i beg your pardon include rise in love rate, sweating and also blood pressure. Some of these symptom of tension are useful to sporting performance, however if the athlete awareness them together happening due to the fact that they space unable to satisfy the demands of the activity they more increase cognitive state anxiety.

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Arousal is referred to as a emotional state the alertness and anticipation that prepares the body for action. Individual athletes have various levels that arousal and it is either an unfavorable or positive yet neutral.

Theories that Arousal

Sporting performance and its connection with arousal have the right to be prove by numerous theories:

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

This is a straight relationship in between arousal and also performance, together arousal increases sot ot walk performance.


However evidence suggests that this theory is just relevant approximately a point, after which an athlete can be over aroused and performance decreases.

reverse U hypothesis

This theory claims that there is one optimal level of arousal (which will differ from sport to sport and also athlete to athlete). Performance levels will certainly be in ~ their highest at the optimal suggest of arousal. If arousal is as well low or also high performance will be lower.


Catastrophe concept

This concept differs indigenous the reverse U theory by linking arousal and anxiety. If the athlete is enduring high levels of cognitive state stress as arousal rises towards the athletes threshold, the athlete experiences a dramatic autumn in performance. This concept does likewise rely on the need for both arousal and cognitive anxiety to accomplish optimal performance.


Zone of Optimal to work (ZOF) (Hanin)

The connection of stress, anxiety and also arousal all affect upon an inspiration and the innovation of performance up to a point. However optimal power has countless other variables that influence upon arousal and also the individual:

Task Simple/Gross performed better in high arousal level Complex/fine Performed much better in short arousal levels

Stage of learning Autonomous phase perform much better in high arousal levels Cognitive and also associative stages perform much better in short arousal levels

Unlike the turning back U hypothesis ZOF claims that individuals perform optimally at different arousal levels relying on the over factors, therefore not all athletes optimal performance is at the optimal of the inverted U.


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

Effects of arousal on sporting performance

If the performer perceives arousal levels to be confident it will have a positive impact on power (getting in the zone). Yet if the alters are viewed as an unfavorable 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 also anxiety

Progressive muscular relaxation is a technique used to eliminate tension in the muscles. This technique allows the athlete come contract relaxation and also tension within the muscles. It also combines the manage of breath helping v the symptom of somatic state anxiety. Over there are countless different types of this biofeedback control.

Imagery allows athletes come increase/decrease arousal/ stress and anxiety levels through visualising aspects of previous positive performances. If psyching increase is compelled the athlete concentrates on performances that required high level of energy and also feelings of heightened arousal. If anxiety and stress must be decreased the athlete focuses on the feel of well-being and also positivity.

Self-talk concentrates on the performer convincing themselves the they are great enough come perform and also play well, most sportspersons will have used it e.g. ‘Come ~ above you have the right to do it!’.

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Sports psychologists, coaches and athletes work hard to build up trust in the sportsperson. The techniques already discussed with help and assistance the athlete’s self-confidence. That is necessary to build of emotion of worth and also success and also focus on effective performances.

Quick Check

Stress is a stimulus leading to a hopeful or negative response to a details situation. That produces both physiological and psychological symptoms. Stress has actually two forms: Eustress – this is positive and also gives a feeling of fulfilment and arousal. Distress - this is a negative kind of stress and in extreme instances causes anxiety and apprehension. depending upon the athlete’s level the ability, level of compete or personality stress can have a large impact ~ above performance. Anxiety is a an unfavorable emotional state connected with stress, feel of worry, nervousness and apprehension. There space two main species of anxiety: Trait anxiety – this is the personality core, State stress and anxiety – this is changeable and also varies depending on the situation. There are two species of state anxiety: Cognitive state anxiety – amount of worry, Somatic state stress and anxiety – is the physiological transforms due come perception Arousal is referred to as a emotional state the alertness and also anticipation the prepares the body because that action. Sporting performance and its partnership with arousal deserve to be prove by several theories: drive Theory, reverse U hypothesis, disastrous Theory, Zone that Optimal to work (ZOF) concept