Monday, July 30, 2012

Psychological factors of healthy sportsmen

Psychological factors of healthy sportsmen

There are 5 different types of psychological factors that can affect performance in sport. The 5 different types are anxiety, motivation, personality, concentration and arousal.


Anxiety is a state of uneasiness and apprehension. Anxiety in sports is when athletes believe that they may not be able to perform at their best ability. Anxiety is something that makes an athlete worried before a match, making them think that they cannot perform to the best of their abilities. There are many different ways in which to cope with anxiety. Coaches may use verbal reassurance to help players calm down before a sporting activity. For example a football manager may have a team talk before a final to get them pumped up for the match. They may also take an athlete to have a one on one session to make that player feel motivated. The coaches may also ensure success by telling the athlete that they are going to win to get them in the right frame of mind. Athlete may also need to be relaxed before going out to perform in a sport. Physiotherapists may help to calm down muscles in the athletes body to make sure they don’t start shaking. All athletes need to think positive to perform well. If they are in the wrong frame of mind then they will think they won’t perform well. Most athletes may feel anxious before they perform. This will put them in the wrong frame of mind. This is why coaches need to calm and talk to their players to make sure they perform to their best of the ability. Athletes will imagine the end product of their performance. For example, football players will imagine themselves scoring a goal. This will make them perform better so that they can imagine themselves playing better. A football player would also have a mental rehearsal. For example before Cristiano Ronaldo takes a free kick, he would go through his mind each step before he kicks the ball. Firstly he would work out which position he would get himself into. At this moment the whole crowd will be cheering, making himself motivated. He will then finally run and kick the ball in the right place to score the goal. All players may become anxious before they perform. To make them feel better about themselves they may get their coach or manager to give them a before game talk. I feel that the most effective would be when the coach talks to their players to calm them down. This is important because it will make players feel calm and make them want to perform to the best of their ability. The best time to get rid of a player’s anxiety would be before a game/ contest. All coaches will need to give motivational speeches or one on one talks. In all sporting situations, players will feel motivated to work hard when their coach gives them motivational speeches. An example of this would be when a manager is talking to all of their players. Like José Mourinho, he always uses psychological factors to build up his players abilities.


A definition of motivation is when you push yourself or get pushed to do something. Motivation is the driving force in sport, this can leaded to addiction to a sport; also this can give drive and desire to win. Intrinsic motivation satisfaction is when you love to play the sport and you always and think about the sport. On the other hand extrinsic motivation is where you gain money, prises and trophies which this drives you do it more because you win and do well in the sport. Extrinsic don’t always work because you may be at the bottom of the leader board at golf and you think what’s the point in trying because, their no chance in getting to the top. Tangible links with Extrinsic because it s to do with holding something that’s given to you buy someone else for example trophies. Non-tangible rewards including positive comment, recognition, glory & status. The more motivated you are, the more chance you have of succeeding. The less motivated you are, the less chance you have of winning. Motivation will always help athletes because it will make them feel that they can win. I feel that intrinsic motivation is the more effective because it gives you motivation just to play in the sport. Extrinsic is less effective because it makes you just want to win the trophy/ prises. An example of this may be in football because many footballers just think about winning trophies whereas players such as Lionel Messi want to play just because they love the game of football.


The effect on sport is that your arousal levels different depending on what outcome you are willing to achieve. If your arousal levels are high, then you will be more motivated to win and if you win it will increase the meaning of that win. If your arousal levels are low then it means that you are more likely to not perform as you normally can.Arousal is when you become excited or alert at the beginning of the sport. Many athletes will become aroused just before they enter a stadium, pitch etc. The signs of arousal are sweaty palms, nervousness, shaky, your heartbeat and heartbeat may increase may speed up, your mouth may get dry and you may even start to feel ill. Your level of arousal will affect your performance. For example, a tennis player may get sweaty palms before they start playing because they will be aroused by everyone in the stadium watching them.

This graph shows the optimum arousal level in sporting athletes. This graph will go up just before a match/event and will eventually go down will playing in your sport. This graph is also known as the inverted ‘U’ hypothesis.
The graph below shows the drive theory. As arousal increases, so does the performance levels. However, the performance levels will only go up to moderate levels. The drive theory is different with other athletes because it may not work with more unknown athletes. The drive theory is if a player becomes aroused then they would perform better. The characteristics of high arousal would be fans chanting in a stadium for example football. A coach would treat their team with the inverted U because they need to make their players feel that they can win the game/event. An example of low arousal to some players would be if fans were booing you in the stadium. However in some sports such as boxing, competitors sometimes take the booing and this would make them more psyched up. All players will have different types of personality. For example with Liverpool football club was playing poorly at the beginning of the season. Once Kenny Dalglish came in he raised the arousal levels of players, making them want to play better. This example is good because this proves that not all performers follow these arousal levels.


Personality is an individual’s personal behaviour to certain sports. Researchers have created a scale to find out what levels of personality each performer has. This scale is extroversion- introversion. Extroversion means that they seek social situations and enjoys excitement, but they lack concentration. Introversion is the opposite and they are very good at concentrating. Another scale is stable- neurotic. Stable means that they don’t swing form one emotion to another. Neurotic means that they are anxious and they may have unpredictable emotions. An example of different personalities would be that an athletics runner would be introversion whereas a football player would be extroversion. The personality of a performer is important because it will depend on how they perform in a game or match. Some performers change their personalities during sports when the crowd cheer for them. It makes them act out and makes them excited to be performing. Like arousal, the personality can change in a player. For example Tiger Woods was the world number 1 golfer. After his divorce, his personality has changed and he hasn’t been performing to the best of his ability. However all of his fans are waiting for him to once again become a better player. Personality is a major factor in sports because it can change in certain players. All players have different personalities and they perform to their abilities. Personalities do change in sport when a performer wins something.


Concentration is the mental quality to focus on the task in hand. If the athlete lacks concentration then their athletic abilities will not be effectively or efficient. Many sporting athletes need to be concentrated during sports to be better in sports. A performer’s ability depends on their experience, either in performance or training. When performing, you need to make sense of what your about to do and decide on the best action to take. All irrelevant information has to be discarded, leaving all relevant information in. if you don’t make sense of something, then you may hinder your decision and maybe do something wrong. In concentration you have a limited capacity which means that you can only handle one thing. Too much information will hinder the sports performer and make them become anxious. To have better concentration, athletes will have a certain training to improve on their efficiency. With more practise, their skill will become like second nature. Experienced players perform skills automatically. This means that they will be able to attend to other information. A good example of high concentration in a performer would be Lionel Messi. He always knows which skill he needs to perform next to create a goal scoring chance or pass. Concentration is important because it can make or break a performer. Selective attention is when a performer is waiting for a stimulus. For example a gun going off to start a race. Something that can affect this would be the fans cheering in the crowds because performers may not be able to hear the gun going off.