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Stress, Competitive Anxiety and Arousal and their effects on Sport Performance
Transcript of Stress, Competitive Anxiety and Arousal and their effects on Sport Performance
'A pattern of negative physiological states and psychological responses occurring in situations where people perceive threats to their well-being, which they may be unable to meet'. Lazarus & Folkman (1984)
Psychology in Action
and their effects on Sport Performance
Dr Claire-Marie Roberts
Lesson Aim and Objectives
Aim - To provide an introduction to stress, arousal and anxiety and their implications on sport performance.
LO1 - All students will be able to provide one description of stress, arousal and anxiety.
LO2 - All students will be able to provide one example of how stress, arousal and anxiety effect performance
LO3 - All students will be able to provide one way in which athletes can minimize the effects of stress and anxiety
Eustress is a good form of stress that can give you a feeling of fulfillment. Some athletes actively seek out stressful situations as they like the challenge of pushing themselves to the limit.
Distress is a bad form of stress and is normally what people think about when they think of stress. It is an extreme form of anxiety, nervousness, apprehension or worry as a result of a perceived inability to meet demands.
Stage 1 - The situational Demand
E.g. Last penalty in a shoot out
Stage 2 - The perception to the demand of the athlete
Stage 3 - Increased arousal levels, increased cognitive and somatic anxiety levels, changes in attention and concentration
(Increased motivation and energy)
Stage 4 - Outcome
Activity 1 - Stress and the athlete
In pairs, think of as many possible causes of stress for an athlete of your choice in any sport.
Remember, consider the athlete as a person first and an athlete second.
Causes of Stress in athletes
Psychological factors (expectations / evaluation)
Negative social interactions
Major life events
Day-to-day hassles e.g. travel
People in the athletes life
Lifestyle e.g. addictions
Sporting situation (s)
Importance of the event
Uncertainty of event
Symptoms of stress
Sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight)
Increased heart rate
Increased breathing rate
Increased heat production
Increased muscle tension
When you are in a situation you find threatening, your stress response is activated. The way you respond depends on how seriously you view the threat
Parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation)
Decreases body temp
Decreases heart rate
Decreases breathing rate
Increase in saliva
Constricts the pupils
' Anxiety is a state of worry, apprehension or tension that often occurs in the absence of real or obvious danger. Typically the tension felt by anxious individuals is accompanied by a heightened state of physiological arousal'
(Buckworth & Dishman 2002)
Trait anxiety is an aspect of personality and part of an individuals pattern of behavior. Athletes who have a high level of trait anxiety will become worried in a variety of situations.
State anxiety is temporary and ever changing mood state that is an emotional response to any situation considered threatening. It is a situation-specific feeling of fear and worry.
Competitive State Anxiety
' Competitive state-anxiety usually follows a pattern of subjective feelings of tension and inadequacy, combined with heightened arousal of the autonomic nervous system ' (Hackfort & Schwenkmezger, 1989)
The cognitive component has been defined as the negative expectations and concerns about one's ability to perform and the possible consequences of failure. Concentration is also impaired which in turn effects performance (McNally, 2002).
The somatic component is the physiological effects, such as an increase in autonomic arousal with negative physiological effects, like palpitations, tense muscles, shortness of breath, clammy hands and even nausea (Morris, Davis & Hutchings, 1981)
Activity 2 - Anxiety, Stress and Performance
In pairs, think about the effect (s) anxiety and stress may have upon sport performance? Include both positive and negative effects if you can
(interpretation of physiological responses)
Fine motor skills
Gross motor skills
Effects of stress and anxiety on sport performance
Write down what you think anxiety is?
Reduced attentional levels
Negative mental state
Over analysis of actions
Athletes perception of the physiological anxiety symptoms
Write down what you think stress is?
Coping strategies to alleviate the negative effects of stress and anxiety
Self-talk (specific demands)
Education on anxiety
Think of ways in which athletes can cope with stress and anxiety?
Write down what you think arousal is?
' Arousal is a general physiological (increased heart rate/Sweating rate) and psychological (Increased attention) activation varying on a continuum from deep sleep to intense excitement ' (Gould & Krane, 1992)
Positive and Negative
Readiness to perform
Sport Psychologist's use four theories to explain the arousal-performance relationship
Drive Theory (Hull, 1943)
Arousal and performance = linear relationship
Performance = arousal x skill
Applicable mainly with well learned skills
Inverted U Theory/Hypothesis
(Yerkes and Dodson, 1908)
Arousal increase = Performance increase
Optimal arousal = moderate arousal = Optimal performance
Over-arousal = decrease in performance
High cognitive anxiety + High arousal = Catastrophe
High cognitive anxiety + Low arousal = Performance stable
Low cognitive anxiety = Inverted U theory
Assesses how well performers deal with stress
Individual zones of optimal functioning
Theory is based upon pre-competitive anxiety scores (rowing studies)
Athletes have preferred anxiety states
Above or below preferred anxiety level = decreased performance
Which model do you think explains the relationship between arousal and performance well?
Effects of arousal on sport performance
'Psych up' or 'Psych out'
Heightened arousal=narrowed and irrelevant information
Optimal states =desirable
Increased anxiety levels
Well done, now to harness the power of......
FIRST, SOME RULES.......
1. No swearing or profanities
2. No insults
3. Relevant comments only
4. Constructive content
Release of catecholamines
MEASURES OF AROUSAL
Only intermittent recordings available
Activated by alerting stimuli
Galvanic Skin Response
Increased sweating decreases skin resistance
SERUM CORTISOL (BLOOD)
HORMONE - INC BLOOD SUGAR, SUPPRESS IMMUNE SYSTEM, AID IN METABOLISM OF FATS, PROTEIN, CHOs
Record the frequency of arousal behaviours
Difficult in real world environment and can increase arousal levels
Can be difficult to interpret
State-Trait Anxiety Inventoty (STAI) developed by Speilberger in 1970 measures the state and trait anxiety of the performer.
People who have high trait anxiety (high A-trait) will see competitive situations as threatening, resulting in severe state anxiety (high A-state) and possibly inhibited performance.
Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT)
Devised by Martens in 1977 to test competitive trait anxiety during sports performance.
Martens said because of the links between trait and state anxiety, this would be an effective measure for trait anxiety and a useful predictor of state anxiety.
In 1990 Martens developed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory 2 (CSAI2) which had separate measures for both somatic and cognitive state anxiety.
This is most commonly used in Sports Psychology and measures baseline and pre-competition anxiety.
Cognitive anxiety increases in the days before the event, remaining high, but does not increase prior to competition. During the competition it fluctuates, due to the performers perceived success or failure.
Somatic anxiety remains low until rising dramatically a few hours before the event and decreasing during competition.