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Unit 17 - Psychology of Sports Performance, Stress and Anxiety, and their Effects on Sport Performance

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Jonathon Hoare

on 12 May 2014

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Transcript of Unit 17 - Psychology of Sports Performance, Stress and Anxiety, and their Effects on Sport Performance

Types of Stress
What do you think stress is? Definition, causes, effects?
5 mins in pairs.

Textbook Definition
‘A pattern of negative physiological state and psychological responses occurring in situations where people perceive threats to their well-being, which they may be unable to meet.’ (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984).
Distress - Ever heard of this?
Bad form of stress.
Extreme form of anxiety, nervousness, or apprehension.
Caused by a perceived inability to meet demands.
Effects decision making.
E.G. our poor golfer Jean Van De Velde at the 1999 British Open

Eustress - Heard of this?
Good form of stress – can give you feelings of fulfillment.
Some athletes actively pursue/replicate stressful situations
Leads to increased intrinsic motivation.
Stress and Performance Process
Unit 17 -Psychology for Sports Performance

Stress and Anxiety, and their Effects on Sport Performance

Think about the definition.
"I like living with pressure"
What do you think of stress now?
Eg last minute penalty, 100m olympic final,
match point in Wimbledon final

Increased performance (eg scored penalty)

Distress (increased worry)


Positive Perception (challenge)

Eustress (increased motivation and energy)

Decreased performance (eg double faulted)

Negative perception (threat)

Situational demand

Perception of demand by athlete

Increased arousal levels, increased cognitive
and somatic anxiety levels, changes in
attention and concentration

Task: Create a Stress and Performance Process.

Effects on Performance

Stage 1 - Situational demand
Stage 4 - Outcome
Positive Perception (challenge)
Distress (increased worry)

Negative perception (threat)

E.G. last minute penalty, 100m, Olympic Final, Match point in Wimbledon Final
Increased performance
(e.g. scored penalty)

Decreased performance
(e.g. double faulted)
Stage 2 - Perception of demand by athlete
Stage 3 - Increased arousal levels
increased cognitive and somatic
anxiety levels, changes in attention
and concentration.
Eustress (increased
motivation and energy)
Causes of Stress on an Athlete
External: Sporting environment, negative social experiences, major life events, day-to-day hassles
Occupational: Job satisfaction, out of contract, manager conflicts, role understanding.
Sporting situations: Importance of the event, uncertainty of the event.
Personal: People in the athlete’s life, finances, lifestyle (e.g. addictions).
Internal: Illnesses, psychological factors, sleep deprivation, being a perfectionist (type A personality)
Stress and the Athlete
In pairs, think of as many possible causes of stress for an athlete of your choice.
Hint – consider the athlete is a person as well as an athlete.
5 mins.
Symptoms of Stress
Think of an important event in your life (past/future) and produce a list of words that describe how you felt. What type of responses did your body produce?
Harris and Harris (1984) created a concentration exercise.
They suggested that their concentration grid was “
an exercise proposed to enhance concentration in typical performance situations
” (harris and harris,1984).
Log onto a computer and type in this web address http://www.salticid.com/concentration.htm
Complete the questionnaire with a little help from Galatasary's fans.

How long did you take?
How did the exercise make you feel?
Refer back to your previous list.
Any similarities?
Symptoms of Stress
When you are in a situation you find threatening, your stress response is activated.
The way in which you respond is determined by how seriously you view the threat.
Fight or Flight!!!
Sympathetic Nervous System: Creates your fight or flight response. Gives you the energy you need to fight or run from a threat.
Increased heart rate
Increased breathing rate
Increased heat production
Increased adrenaline
Muscle tension
Hairs stand up
Increased metabolism
Dry mouth
Pupil dilation
Relax, have a lilt!!!
Once the stress has passed, the Parasympathetic Nervous System helps you to relax.
Muscles relax
Metabolism slowed
Drop in body temp
Heart rate slows down
Breathing rate decreases
Saliva production
Pupils constrict

“Stress has a profound impact on an athlete’s sports experience. It can impair their performance and deprive them of the satisfaction of demonstrating the skills they’ve mastered through hours of countless practice” (Burton and Raedeke, 2008).
Stress Recap:
Can anyone give me a definition of stress?
What are the two types of stress?
How do they effect you?
Causes of stress on an athlete?
Name the two nervous systems resposible for the symptoms of stress.
Explain their differences.
Final thoughts on stress?
What do you think anxiety is?

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 arousa
l’ (Buckwork and Dishman, 2002)
Two main types of anxiety
State Anxiety (mood state)
Temporary and ever changing mood state
Emotional response to situations considered threatening
Situation specific feeling of fear and worry

Trait Anxiety (personality characteristics)
Response to situations that are part of an individual’s pattern of behaviour
Linked to your personality
Athletes with high levels of trait anxiety will worry in a variety of situations

Two Types of 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 and Schwenkmezger, 1989).
Cognitive State-Anxiety (thoughts, worry)

“the negative expectations and concerns about one’s ability to perform and the possible consequences of failure” (McNally, 2002).
Worrying thoughts.
Negative thoughts.
Can impair Concentration, and subsequently effect performance.

Somatic State-Anxiety (physiological responses)

Relates to how you perceive physiological changes during particular situations.
Physiological symptoms.

In Pairs come up with as many symptoms for both Cognitive and Somatic state anxiety as you can.
Then think about the effects anxiety can have on performance.
Try and come up with positive and negative effects.
Effects of Stress on Sport Performance
Impaired concentration
Reduced attentional levels
Co-ordination problems
Decreased autonomy in technique
Negative Mental State
Decreased performance
Athlete's perception of Physiological responses
Improved performance

Martens, Vealey, and Burton (1990) developed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) in order to measure both trait and state anxiety, and also cognitive and somatic anxiety pre-performance.
Complete the CSAI-2 questionnaire.
Ignore the instructions on the questionnaire. Think back to your important event, and answer the questions as if you were answering them just before that event.
What was your score? 9 indicates low anxiety, 36 indicates high.
CSAI-2 Questionnaire
Today we have covered the P3 criteria of Assignment 2.
Next week we will look at arousal and arousal theories (P4 and M2).
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