Being at your peak physically does not guarantee success. Top athletes have to be able to cope with the psychological demands of their sport. This involves winning, losing, drawing on positives after a bad performance, dealing with the media, expectations of fans etc. This section will help you understand the psychological side of sports performance.

P6 – Describe the effects of psychological factors on sports training and performance.
M3 – Explain the effects of psychological factors on sports training and performance.
D2 – Analyse the effects of psychological factors on sports training and performance.

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Motivation

Motivation is what gives the performer the energy to compete. Motivation can come from either intrinsic or extrinsic sources. Internal (intrinsic) motivation comes from within the sports performer. Extrinsic (extrinsic) motivation comes in the form of more obvious rewards. The table below highlights examples from both:


Whatever your motivation, be it intrinsic or extrinsic, it will be related to achieving success, and the greater the level of motivation the greater the success…or is it???


Arousal

Arousal is a term used to describe a persons state of mind and covers a continuum stretching from deep sleep to extreme excitement.  It is closely linked to motivation, and controlling arousal and motivation levels is often the key to success.

The inverted U hypothesis is a good basic way of trying to understand the principle of the effect of arousal/motivation on a sports performer.


Yerkes-Dodson’s inverted U hypothesis

Sport specific model

Athlete specific model

Anxiety

Anxiety describes a feeling of worry or concern. A persons level of anxiety fluctuates all the time depending on what they are doing, what they have done or what they are going to do.

Anxiety usually exists because the performer feels unable to cope with a situation. This is most often because they feel that their opponent is better than they are but can be because of the size of the crowd, the importance of the event etc.

There are techniques used by some performers to help overcome or deal with their anxiety. They include:

IMAGERY -The player closes their eyes and imagines doing well in the event. Golfers often try to visualise each shot before they hit it.

THOUGHT STOPPING -The coach will stop the performer from verbalising any negative thoughts

POSITIVE TALKING -A player will try to repeat phrases such as ‘i am the best’, ‘ i can do it’ over and over again before the event.

MUSCULAR RELAXATION – A player is given a relaxing massage before the event or 100m runners shake the tension out of their legs just before they get into the blocks.

Small amounts of anxiety can be good as they help the performer focus on the task ahead of them. However, too much leads to over arousal.
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Personality

There are many different personality types this is because everyone is unique, but everybody falls into one of two categories to some extent.

INTROVERT – are characterised by being shy, timid, quiet etc

EXTROVERT – are characterised by being outspoken, very confident, sociable, adventurous.

These two categories are suited to very different sports.

Introverts tend to be better activities that require patience, concentration, and fine motor skills, such as snooker, fishing and golf etc.

Extroverts tend to be better at sports that require passion, physical contact, Eg Rugby, wrestling and boxing.

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Name three sports that would be best suited to extroverts. Make sure you justify your choices using the information provided.

Explain the inverted U hypothesis using  a well known incident from a sporting event.