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Sports Psychology Essay

1369 words - 6 pages

In Psychology there are sever key relationships with the mentality of a performer a sporting performance. One important factor is anxiety.

Anxiety according to Weinberg and Gould is “a negative emotional state characterized by nervousness, worry, apprehension and associated w/ activation or arousal of the body” There are two parts to anxiety that cover both the thinking, known as cognitive anxiety and the physical effects known as somatic anxiety. Examples of cognitive anxiety include negative self-talk such as telling yourself that you aren’t good enough, an inability to concentrate on the task at hand and constantly performing well in training but are struggling to translate that ...view middle of the document...

Highly trait anxious people have more state anxiety in competition compared to others with low trait anxiety. This helps identifying people in competition. The sports anxiety scale (SAS) measures trait anxiety in the field. It is self-assessing and measures how the person feels typically. It gets completed away from competition. The SAS breaks down trait anxiety into 3 sections: Somatic, how much one sees their physical symptoms, the level of worry or self-doubt in the cognitive stage and the concentration disruption in how they can continue to concentrate during competition. Situational stress can be a factor in anxiety and there are 2 common sources: The importance of the event and the unknown surrounding the outcome of the event. A regular season game in basketball will not compare to the level of importance in a playoff game so more stress will be seen in the playoff game. Uncertainty in higher quantities will have more stress than more known outcomes. A final game with 2 even teams is harder to predict than a top team playing that of a lower league as the outcome can be better predicted. People can put stress on themselves by characterising a situation. This can bring out high trait anxiety or low self-esteem. High trait anxious players see competition as more threatening. Self-esteem can then be lowered and this brings down self-confidence.

The next factor to look at is confidence. Self-confidence can be defined as The belief that you can achieve or perform a desired behavior. Confidence can be constantly in an individual one minute and gone the next. It can be state driven or trait driven. Athletes commonly find that confidence varies during different performances. Confidence is elusive because the brain is designed to be. Neuroscience has found that we remember negative more deeply that positive ones. We pay more attention to criticism than praise. This is because we are designed to evolve to anticipate and defeat dangers. This protects us. This shows that dangers, pain and problems are what capture our attention. Confidence can be attacked by worry, fear, the unknown, anxiety and nerves. Failing can damage your sporting mentality also. Expectations of failing lead to it and lower self-image. Many sporting challenges are mentally prohibited until seen completed. In 1954 if was believed that no one could complete a mile in less than 4 minutes. A year after it was accomplished 12 others passed the under 4 minute mile. Once they believed it was possible they could do it. Amazing athletes like Michael Jordan take a shot, miss and say to themselves “I’ll hit the next one” This kind of thinking has led greatly to his success. Characteristics of good self-confidence include good body language, smiling and enjoyment, no worries and not blaming others for mistakes, staying calm, encouraging others, concentrating well and accepting ability. Threats to confidence can be problems at home, media attention,...

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