Professor Stewart Downing
August 12, 2013
Athletes are under a lot of pressure to excel and become perfectionists and invincible at the sports they play, however sometimes during competition elite athletes react physically and somatically which can adversely affect their performance. G. Jones definition of stress and anxiety. “Stress is a state that results from the demands that are places on the individual which require that person to engage in some coping behavior. Anxiety results when the individual doubts her or her ability to cope with the situation that causes him or her stress.” Abel Gemeda a high school quarter back football player at Saint John A, in Halifax Nova Scotia feels like everyone is watching his every move, he feels the sweat running down his whole body and he hasn’t even started running yet. His body tenses up, he starts thinking ahead on his actions but his body is failing him, everything he did so easily in practice is now looking and feeling like such a challenge, he jumps to catch the ball but it slips right off his hand, he tries harder but the game is lost. Abel has been playing football ever since he could hold a ball, and he was a natural his throws were precise, strong and accurate. Recently knowing that he is a senior and that scouts were coming to seek him from elite universities his nerves started getting the best of him. To any sports person, the debilitative effects of high anxiety are only too familiar, and can range in severity from butterflies to a full-blown panic attack (Jan Graydon, 2002). Anxiety, stress and performance tend to be interrelated, when athletes are nervous they start stressing on why they are nervous, causing them to lose control over their nerves thus inhibiting their performance. According to the work of Yerkes and Dodson(1908), performance is enhanced with increase in arousal until a peak is reached, after which further arousal causes a dramatic deterioration in performance, and this can be seen when athletes don’t understand how to deal with stress and anxiety, as athletes usually interpret this feeling as negative and hence deal with it negatively. The Yerkes and Dodson hypothesis also related with the drive theory, in this theory performance is equal to a drive x habit strength, where “x” is a correlated to positive arousal, hence as arousal increases so does performance, but only if you have the necessary skills in the sport. The Yerkens and Dodson theory and the Drive x habit do explain how arousal and performances are interrelated, however it is hard to assess athletes on these bases as athletes react to arousal differently. Athletes can react to anxiety physically and cognitively, Davidson and Schwartz (1976) proposed and developed Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2: Martens et al., 1990), which measures psychometric properties which asses competitive state anxiety The multi-dimensional theory investigates cognitive, somatic and self-confidence , the theory defines cognitive anxiety as a mental component of anxiety which is caused by negative expectations about success or negative self-evaluation, where it was seen that there is a negative linear relationship between cognitive anxiety and performance, depending on how the athletes preview the demands of the competition. Somatic anxiety is previewed as the physiological and affective elements of anxiety that is generated from self-developed arousal. Somatic anxiety affects performance where a lower and higher level of somatic anxiety has an important effect on performance, thus a U inverted relationship between Somatic anxiety and performance. Self-confidence is the last component and it looks at the athletes’ perception of self-confidence, where there is a clear positive linear relationship between self-confidence and performance. The work of Martens was further developed by Hardy and Fazey(1987) who looked at a new model that further explains the...
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