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Sports psychology: P4 arousal theories

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Jacob MacCormack

on 14 October 2014

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Transcript of Sports psychology: P4 arousal theories

Drive theory of arousal
The drive theory of arousal shows the correlation between arousal and performance and can be explained in different situations, with different ability levels such as a novice and an expert. First of all for an expert it is clear that an increase in arousal will cause an increase in the quality of performance, this is because the expert has the ability to use there arousal levels to keep them determined and focused. However this is not the case with a novice because with then the more aroused the worse there performance will be as they will become t excited and out of control causing a loss of concentration. This links to the video about a beginner making a mistake, there high arousal levels in the game cause a loss of concentration causing them to make a mistake. This also links to the video about the expert playing well as there increased arousal makes them more determined and motivated to play well.
The Catastrophe theory
A beginner making mistakes
Sports psychology: P4 arousal theories
The inverted 'U' theory
Someone playing perfectly the game of their lives
Making mistakes due to being tired/uninterested
Making mistakes due to trying too hard
An expert playing well
Someone having a catastrophe moment
Someone saving their performance after a nightmare moment
Arousal can be defined as the physical and mental readiness of a person performance or actions during a particular situation
This shows a novice making a mistake, this can be explained through the drive theory of arousal. Here the novice gets a good opportunity taking a penalty, he gets excited and his arousal levels increase, this causes a loss of concentration concluding him to make a mistake and miss the penalty.
This video shows Neymar an expert playing well and can be explained through the drive theory of arousal. In this situation the experts arousal levels increase which causes an increase in the quality of their performance, this is because he has the ability to use his arousal levels to make him much more determined and focused therefore making him do better in the game.
The catastrophe theory is a theory of arousal which shows a rapid decline in performance due to high cognitive anxiety. This could show someone playing well in a particular game but a situation or a moment in a game causes them their performance levels to decrease really fast. However some athletes at a high level are able to recover from this rapid decline and get back on track with their performance.
In this video it shows Floyd Mayweather having a nightmare moment which relates to the catastrophe theory. This is because Floyd Mayweather makes a big mistake in the fight and Moseley is getting the better of him. However Floyd is a good pro an elite athlete and is able to recover from this moment and better his performance in the end winning the fight.
In this video it shows Manny Pacqiou having a nightmare moment which relates to the catastrophe theory. This nightmare moment is huge in the fight as he was performing well up until this point and the mistake results in him being knocked out and losing the fight. This is a huge catastrophe moment and is something that Manny Pacqiou is not able to recover from
The inverted U theory suggests that levels of performance are effected my how low or high arousal levels are. It suggests the performance levels will increase when moving along the axis to the middle in whats known as optimum arousal. Any arousal below or higher than this level will cause performance levels to lower and decrease
This video of Lionel Messi playing perfectly in a game relates to the inverted U theory. This is because his very high performance levels are due to him being in the optimum zone of arousal. His arousal being here allows him to maintain such a good performance
This video of Mario Balotelli playing very badly in a game and making mistakes relates to the inverted U theory. This is because his very low level of performance is due to him being outside the optimum zone of arousal, here his arousal levels are low which causes him to make mistakes. His arousal being too low causes him to continually make mistakes and make bad decisions.
This video of Manny Pacquiao making mistakes during his performance relates to the inverted U theory. This is because his arousal levels are outside the optimum zone, he is over aroused and it causes his performance levels to decrease & this is the reason why he makes mistakes.
Definition: Anxiety is the feeling of worry someone gets when uncertain on the outcome of something. This usually occurs when there is a large imbalance or difference between an individuals perception of their ability and their perception of the demands and importance of the situation.

Sources of anxiety
There are two different sources of anxiety which where identified by Spielberger. The first is called trait which is explained as genetically inherited and is where people are anxious a lot of the time in all situations that they are in. The second is state which is a behavioral response that is learned and this varies in response to different situations and is linked with arousal.
Cognitive & Somatic anxiety
Cognitive anxiety is simply the cognitive elements of anxiety, so these are the psychological elements such as having lots of negative thoughts and expectations, feeling nervous or scared. Some symptoms of cognitive anxiety are nervous laughter and stuttering. Somatic anxiety unlike this is the physical symptoms of anxiety, so this is the unpleasant feelings caused by anxiety such as tension. Some symptoms of somatic anxiety are breathing heavy, shaking and vomiting.
Relating to both of these there is a variety of changes that anxiety causes, these are both physiological and psychological changes. For example high levels of anxiety can cause impaired movement due to things such as muscular tension and increased HR. Although there is a negetive effect of anxiety this isnt always the case, there is something called IZOF which is used to explain the idea that every individual has a different optimum level of anxiety for functioning. Like this Hanin looked at the effect anxiety has on performance, he suggested that each individual is different in their response to anxiety, everyone's optimum levels of anxiety are different so some succeed with low levels and some with high levels. If the athete is out of their optimum anxiety zone so experiencing too much or too little anxiety this can have huge negative effects on performance.
Definition: Stress is a state of mental & emotional strain, pressure or tension due to demanding or difficult situations. So this usualy occurs when in scenarios that are not easy and put someone under pressure and not at ease. Stress is basically causes someone to become nervous or worried and can be linked with anxiety. In order for stress to occur there has to be a stressor involved this is basically the cause of stress for example if you had a deadline to hand in work and you was behind this would therefore cause you to worry and be stressed.
Stress and Eustress
Stress is caused by things known as stressors these can be a variety of different thigs such as pressure or how difficult a situation is. Selye suggested that depending on the way in which we perceive the stressors can cause stress to have different effects on us. If its good its known as Eustress and bad is known as distress. Stress is usally seen as being negative and this is distress, this is usually experienced in difficult situations where there is a big difference between what we have and what we want. Therefore the distress is experienced in this situation because we think that the goal we set is unachievable and too difficult or far away. Stress is mostly known for being bad and causing people problems, therefore peole miss use the word and mean distress. Unlike this Eustress is the positive aspect of stress, here again the task in hand or situation may be difficult but it is still realistic and achievable. meaning that the individual will be more motivated to achieve the goal as it is within reach. Although there is a big difference between the two it is only our perception of how effective we can work in order achieve or not in a situation which actually separates them, so this is how good we think we are ourselves and therefore links to anxiety, so the more confident and outgoing the individual the more likely they will interpret the stressor as an Eustress than distress.
Hanin's Individual Zone of Optimum Functioning
Athlete 1
This type of athlete performs best when they are at low levels of anxiety. This is their optimum zone, the below video shows two archers in the London 2012 olympics, its important that they keep there anxiety levels low in order to keep focused and raise their performance levels
Athlete 2
This type of athlete is in the middle of both athlete 1 and 3. here for the athlete to be at the top of their performance there anxiety levels need to be in the middle so not too high or too low. The below video shows Andy Murray in the Wimbledon, he wins because he manages to keep his anxiety levels in his optimum zone and not be too anxious or not be anxious enough.
Athlete 3
This type of athlete needs a high level of anxiety in order for them to perform at their best. This video shows Usain Bolt running in one of the biggest athletics competitions and breaking his previous worlds record, this is a big event so his anxiety levels are high and this causes his performance levels to rise.
Emotional control - distinction
There are a variety of different methods of emotional control, the first method i am going to be looking at is positive self talk. This simply involves an athlete talking to themselves endorsing their own ability so that they believe in themselves. It helps to raise the athletes confidence, this could be used in the video where the beginner makes a mistake missing a penalty in a football game. This would help to convince him that he is going to score the penalty.
The second method of emotional control i will be looking at is rational thinking. This involves reasoning with negative thoughts and thinking about doing the correct thing. I would use this method with the video of Mario Balotelli where he makes the mistake backhanding the ball wide when he had an opportunity to score, i would get him to think about the consequences of what he did and make him think rationally and make the better choice.
The third method of emotional control is progressive muscular relaxation. I would use this method on the video with Manny Pacqiou in order to stop him from making a mistake and consequently being knocked out in the fight. This method would help him to relax his muscles and keep calm in the best possible way, this should help him to relax and stop him from making mistakes.
The fourth and final method i will be taking into consideration is thought stopping and i would use this with Floyd Mayweather, I would use this in order to stop him having rational thoughts and making mistakes. He wanted to try and knock out moseley in the fight and thought stopping would of been helpful to get him back on track.
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