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Arousal, Stress and Anxiety

Sport and Exercise Psychology. BTEC Sport and Exercise Science
by

Alice Tocknell

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Arousal, Stress and Anxiety

P3: Describe stress and anxiety, their causes, symptoms and effect on sports performance
Task 1
Task 2
Assignment 3:

Stress, Anxiety and Arousal.
P3: Describe stress and anxiety, their causes, symptoms and effect on sports performance
Stress
Anxiety
Drive Theory
Task 1 -
Stress and Anxiety

Task 2 -
Arousal

Inverted U Theory
Catastrophe Theory
Stress, Anxiety and Arousal in Sport
What is Stress?
Stress
A stimulus in the form of demands placed upon the individual by the environment.
Q1 + Q2
Eustress
'benefical' stress that helps an athlete to perform
Q3 + Q4
Distress
extreme anxiety related to performance
Q5
Causes of Stress
Internal
External
Occupational
Causes of stress are unique to each athlete. It is common to have a number of athletes in similar situations yet for them to have entirely different responses to those situations
- mental
- environment
Illnesses

Psychological factors - worrying about something

Not having enough sleep

Being overly self-critical, perfectionist
Environment - too noisy

Negative social interaction with other people - somebody being rude to you

Major life event - death in family

Day-to-day hassles - travel, training schedules, Finance
Lack of job satisfaction

Unemployment

In sport....

Disagreement with coach

Selection issues
Q6
The Stress Process
Stage 1: Demand
Stage 2: Perception of demand by athlete
Stage 3: Increased arousal levels
Stage 4: Outcome
e.g. last penalty shoot out
Positive perception
Negative perception
Challenge
Threat
Eustress
Distress
Increased energy and motivation
Increased worry
Increased performance
Reduced Performance
Q8
Q7
Symptoms of Stress
Sympathetic Nervous System
Parasympathetic Nervous System
'Fight or Flight' response - it gives you the energy you need to confront the threat or to run away from it
This helps you to relax after the stress has passed
increased HR
increased breathing rate
increased heat production
increased metabolism
increased muscle tension
increased adrenaline production
makes muscles relax
slows metabolism
decreases body temp.
decreases breathing rate
Top 10 Life Stressors
1. Death of spouse
2. Divorce
3. Marital separation
4. Jail term
5. Death of a close family member
6. Personal injury or illness
7. Marriage
8. Fired at work
9. Marital reconciliation
10. Retirement
Seen as being a negative emotional state usually associated with feelings of apprehension and worry, caused by over arousal due to a person being stressed.
There are two types of anxiety...
Trait Anxiety
State Anxiety
Causes of anxiety are similar to those of stress, however, anxiety is a negative perception of those situations.
What is it?
"a behavioral tendency to feel threatened even in situations that are not threatening, and then respond to this with high levels of state anxiety"
What is it?
“an emotional response to particular situations, characterised by feelings of nervousness and apprehension”
Example
At the start of a show jumping event the rider may have high levels of state anxiety
Once the event begins the levels of state anxiety may decrease
State anxiety levels may increase again when coming up to a particularly high jump, and then state anxiety will be at their highest when approaching the final jump
There are two types of state anxiety...
Cognitive State Anxiety
negative thoughts, nervousness and worry in certain situations
Symptoms include concentration problems, fear and bad decision making
Somatic State Anxiety
Somatic State Anxiety relates to the
perception
or interpretation of physiological changes when you perform.
Symptoms include increased HR, increased respiratory rate, and sweating.

Extreme levels of somatic anxiety can also be complete muscle tension that prevents athlete from moving - "freezing"
Mind
Body
Anxiety in a certain situation
Which symptoms of somatic anxiety can be beneficial for performers?
“a general physiological and psychological activation varying on a continuum from deep sleep to intense excitement”
(Weinberg and Gould, 1999; p. 72)
"I can't do it" "I'm not good enough"
"I'm too tense" "I'm sweating too much"
Effects of anxiety on Performance
Cognitive Anxiety
Performance
Somatic Anxiety
Performance
Confidence
Performance
What might happen in the lead up to a competition?
Natural level of anxiety
Arousal
Performance
low
high
moderate
low
high
moderate
(Hull, 1943)
As arousal increases, performance increases linearly (at the same rate)
However, research says that athletic performance is benefited by arousal up to a certain point, after which the athlete becomes too aroused and their performance can decrease
Arousal
Performance
low
high
moderate
low
high
moderate
Performance increases as arousal increases
Optimal point of arousal for best performance
over arousal = poor performance
Some dispute over the curve - does it give an optimal point, or do some athletes experience optimal arousal for a longer period of time?
Arousal
Performance
low
high
moderate
low
high
moderate
Agrees with Inverted U Theory when
cognitive anxiety is
low
However, when cognitive anxiety is high, and arousal levels increase over the athletes threshold, the player will experience a catastrophic drop in performance levels
Arousal
Performance
low
high
moderate
low
high
moderate
Catastrophe
Key Differences
Key differences between Inverted U Theory and Catastrophe Theory
Catastrophe theory says a drop in performance doesn't does not have to be a steady decline when arousal levels become too high

Catastrophe theory agrees that you will perform at higher level when cognitive anxiety is heightened because your attention and concentration levels increase.

However, when high cognitive anxiety is mixed with high arousal, a dramatic drop in performance will occur
Arousal
low
high
moderate
low
high
moderate
Catastrophe
Performance
Arousal
Performance
low
high
moderate
low
high
moderate
Inverted U Theory
Catastrophe Theory
Optimal Level
Arousal and Performance
Perception of Anxiety and Arousal -
Jones, Swann & Hardy (1990) found that if a coach can get an athlete to view symptoms of anxiety and arousal as excitement, rather than fear, performance will generally be facilitated

Psychological tools that can help are imagery (mental rehearsal), effective goal-setting and the correct type of self-talk (inner voice) as well as how they deal with mistakes. The player themselves can also be made aware of where there best levels of arousal lie and attempt to manipulate them using psyching up technqiues:

•Use arousing imagery of previous good performance
•Use arousing music (calm mind – aroused body)
•Positive Self-talk
•Physical contact (huddle)

or psyching down techniques:

•Breathing exercises (lowers heart rate)
•Stretching (elongates muscles and causes relaxation)
•Biofeedback (taking pulse or blood pressure and consciously trying to reduce)
•Relaxing self-talk


1. …………………………….. is beneficial stress that helps an athlete to perform.

2. ……………………………… is extreme anxiety related to performance

3. Name 5 causes of stress

4. Within the ‘Stress Process’ does a positive perception (challenge) of a demand lead to increase, or decreased performance?

5. Sympathetic Nervous system is your ‘fight or flight’ response to stress, which nervous system calms you down after the stress has passed?
Recap - Stress
P4: Describe arousal and its effect on sports performance.


M3: Explain arousal and its effect on sports performance.

D2: Analyse arousal and its effect on sports performance.

P4: Describe arousal and its effect on sports performance.
M3: Explain arousal and its effect on sports performance.
D2: Analyse arousal and its effect on sports performance.


Extra Videos
Steve Harmison after epic '05 ashes win
Callum Mcmanaman Red Card
Jim Telfer '97 Lions tour to SA
1st Match Forwards meeting
Wales v New Zealand Haka
Arousal in Sport
Full transcript