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Sports Psychology: P4 Arousal Theories

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Dylan O'Grady

on 26 January 2015

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Transcript of Sports Psychology: P4 Arousal Theories

Sports Psychology: P4 Arousal Theories
Drive theory of arousal
A beginner making a mistake e.g.
An Expert playing well e.g.
Shaun Johnson scoring a TRY vs. Brisbane Broncos.
This is an example of the drive arousal theorsy because the athlete's arousal is at the correct level increasing his performance. As an expert performer his arousal needs to be higher for a better perormance. This perfomers dominant response is different as he is an expert performer, as a result of his high arousal is is able to perform better.
Someone playing perfectly, the game of their lives e.g.
LeBron James 45 points vs. Boston Game 6 Eastern conference finals 2012.
This is an example of the Inverted 'U' theory because the athlete is at "optimum level", leading to a very high level of performance. This is LeBron James in at the "optimum level" of performance as he is arousal is at the perfect level leading to him socring 45 points and having a great overall game.
The Inverted 'U' theory
The Catastrophe theory
Someone making a mistake, due to being tired/uninterssted e.g.
Ballotelli backheel vs. LA Galaxy
This is an example of the Inverted 'U' theory because he is not interested in the game as it is only a friendly which means he is under aroused, this leads to a decrease in level of peformance.
Someone making a mistake due to trying too hard e.g.
Manny Pacquiao getting KO'd vs. Jaun Manuel Marquez.
This is an example of the Inverted 'U' theory because the athlete is over aroused which decreases his level of performance. Pacquiao was over aroused as he was looking for the knock out and because of this his perormance levels dropped resulting in him getting kocked out.
Someone having a 'catastrophe' moment e.g.
Rob Green mistake vs. USA 2010 World Cup.
This is an example of the Catastrophe theory because Rob Green has a catatrophic moment when he makes a mistake leading to a goal but cannot recover in order to save his performance.
Someone saving their performance after a nightmare moment e.g.
Floyd Mayweather being rocked by Shane Mossley, coming back to win every round after it and win the fight.
This is an example of a Catastrophe theory because Mayweather has a catostraphic monemt when he gets caught with a great punch and nearly go's down. However, he lowers his anxiety level and his performance recvovers and he goes on to have a great performance and win the fight.
College Basketball, missed free throw.
This is an example of the drive arousal theory because the beginner's is over aroused as he may not be used to the situation and therefore you see a decrease in his performance. As a result of his arousal being to high and him being a beginner, his dominant response shows that and he starts to make mistakes.
The drive theory of arousal is the link between performance levels and arousal levels. This means that an increased/decreased arousal is exactly proportional to the increase/decrease in the level of the athletes overall performance. Dominant response is dependant on how good you are e.g. beginner or expert and is triggered by your level of arousal.
The Inverted 'U' Theory sugessts that performance levels are all down to having the correct arousal level. Performance levles will increase up until midway along the arousal axis. This is the Optinmum point and if arousal is below or beyond that mark performance will decrease. When the arousal of the performer is too low, the oerception field widens and an exessive number of enviromental cues enter into the information processing system. Selective attention is now not in operation and concentrating on the relevant information now becomes difficult. As a result of this information overload occurs and it inpairs the decision-making process resulting in mistakes in the athlete's performace.
As the performers arousal increases, his perceptual field narrows and becomes ideal which allows ther perofoermer to focus on the relevnat information. Selective attention is now fully operational and it becomes a lot easier for the athlete to concentrate.
Beyond the optimal threshold, the perceptual focus reduces massively and the relevant cue can be missed. At this stage the performer could become agitated and could panic in the effort to succed. This is known as hyper-vigilance or panic.

The Catastrophe theory examines the relationship between somatic arousal and cognitive anxiety.
It states that performance will reach a maximum potential at optimum level if the cognitive anxiety is kept low. If both arousals are too high the athlete will go over the aoptimum level of anxiety leading to a dramitic drop in performance

Anxiety is a feeling of worryu that can occur when there is an imbalnce between their ability/ their perception of the demands and importance of the situation and the athlete's opinion of their own ability. Anxiety can happen if an indviual doesn't believe in themselves, has a past experience where things have gone wrong in a similar siuation or how difficult/important the athlete thinks the situation is. Anxiety is not always a bad thing as if they have a good balaance between their perception and situation.

Trait & State
The Trait theory of anxiety is that a certain type of person will look anxious at all times in everything they do which is gentically inherited by parents. It is a characteristics of their own personailty and appears to be permanet and relatively stable.

The State theory of anxiety is that an indivuals arousal will change in response to the situation which is a learned behioural response. As this is an unstable condition and not part of the person's personailtity, it can be controlled and changed to achieve optimal performance.
Cognitive & Somatic Anxiety
Cognitive anxiety is all down to how mentally prepared you are. The cognitive elements that will effect performance in negative way are concerns bout the game, how big the game is and the consequences of loosing that game.

Somatic anxiety is different as this is how you are prepared physiccally for the task at hand. The somatic elements that will have a negative impact on your performance are previous anxiety experiences, indications of automatic arousal and unpleasant feelings such as nervousness and tension.

Symtoms of Cognitive & Somatic Anxiety
Conitive Anxiety:
Thinking about the task too much
Constantly repeating yourself
Rushing yourself
Somatic Anxiety:
Throwing up
Heavy breathing
Pale face
Jumping around
Indivual Zone of Optimum Functioning
IZOF is the effect that anxiety has on the performance of an athlete. The theory is that some athletes perform better when they have a high level of anxeity compared with others who can only perform well when their anxiety levels are low. This means that each athlete has their own preffered level of anxiety where they can perform at their best. They must experience this level of anxiety in order for them to reach optimum level of performance.
Athlete A: Charlie Adam (Low ZOF)
Charlie Adam is a very good example when descriving low ZOF. This is because he perform well at a low anxiety level when he was at Blackpool becoming the top goal scorer in the championship. This was due to him knowing that he was the best player at his club and he knew that he was better than the majority of players in the Championship. However, when he then signed for Liverpool at the end of that season, his anxiety levels increased as he knew he was no longer on of the best players in his league and at his club. This lead to some dissapointing performances against the bigger clubs as his anxiety levels were too high.
Athlete B: Andy Murray (Moderate ZOF)
Andy Murray is a good example for the moderate level of anxiety because he performs at his best when he is at a moderate level of arousal. He doesn't perform to his optimum level in the early stages of competion because he under aroused as he feels he can easily bet his opponnent. However, when he is in a final or a semi-final he becomes over aroused as he is worried about the consequences of loosing as he is Britain's biggest tennis player. His optimum level of arousal is in the quater-finals stage where he doesn't have as much pressure on him and the opponents are tougher.
Athlete C: Usain Bolt
(High ZOF)
Usain Bolt is the perfect example of someone who performs to the best of his ability when there is the highest level of arousal. He will not perform to his optimum level of performance until for example a final as he already knows that he is fast enough to get to the final without really pushing himself. He will gradually increase in performance the higher his arousal level is, so his performances will get btter the further into a competion he is. Finally, when he is in the final, you will get to see him at his optimum level of performance e.g. winning gold medals and breaking world and olympic records.
Stress is the bodies reaction to a high pressure situation or an enviromental demand. Having stress in sport can seriously effect your overall performance as you will do things that you would not normally do due to you being over aroused. Stress is mainly caused by "stressors" for example, pressure, lack of time in certain situations and the importance and consquences of the situation.
Stressors are the main reasons why stress occurs. These are factors that contrbute to persons stress levels and the main stressors in sports would be the importance of the game, the pressur of the game, the time left in the game in certain situations. All these factors can have a negative impact on an athletes performance as they will be overthinking different situations throughout the game which will distract them from the actual game itself.
Selye's "Stress & Eustress"
Selye's "stress and eustess" theory is the idea that stress can have very different effects on a performer depending on how the stressors are percived, Eustress being a good perception and Stressed as a bad perception.

Eustress will lead to a good performance as the gap between what we have and what we want to achieve is achievable and realsitic leading to an increased motivation.
Stress ill lead to a bad performance as we realised the gap between what we have and what we want to achieve is much larger than expected which leads to distress.
Arousal is the the readiness, physically and mentally of an athlete to perform. If a performer is over aroused or under aroused this could lead to a bad sporting performance, however, if they are at the optimum level of arousal they will achieve an optimum level of performance.
Pratical Example of Eustress
A practical example of Eustress is Andy Murray becoming the Wimbledon singles champion in 2013. This is a good example as he realsied that the gap between size of the task of winning Wimbledon and his ability level wasn't as big as he first realsied and the prize was indeed realistic. This proved to be Eustress working in a good way as Murray went on to win the competition.
Pratical example of
A pratical example of Stress would be the England football teams performance in the 2014 World Cup Finals. The players realised that the gap between their goal and their ability was too wide resulting in the players becoming stressed, which lead to bad performances on the pitch. This was the bad aspect of stress a England went out in the group stages without winning a single game.
Emotional Control- Distinction
The first method of emotional control I will be using is positive self talk and I will be using this method on my college athlete who missed his free thow. I would use this method and teach him to constantly be thinking positive thoughts about his next free throw so he is able to convince him self that he is going to make that free throw.

The second method of emotional control I will be using is progessive muscular relaxtion and this would be used on Manny Pacquioa to prevent him from making the same mistake he may when he was tired when he got knocked out. I would show him how he can relax and rest his muscles in the best possible ways when he is not fighting but also in between rounds to prevent tired mistakes happening again.

The third method of emotional control I will be using is thought stopping and this would ne used on Mario Balotelli. I would get him to think about his actions before he does them, for example, I would get him to think about the consquences of backheeling the ball instead of shooting at goal. e.g. getting substituted and not playing in the next game.

The fourth method of emtional control I using is rational thinking and I would explain this to Floyd Mayweather. I would teach him to think rationally e.g. keeping his hands up instead of dropping them as dropping his hands and not protecting his chin could lead to him getting hit a good shot.
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