Anxiety and Athletic Perfomance

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Anxiety and Athletic Performance


Athletes today need to be able to cope with the anxiety and pressure that is placed on them in the competitive world of sports. A large deal of research has been done on examining the relationship between anxiety and performance within the field of athletics. This paper is going to show that the mind in an athlete has a lot to do with the result of the particular event. In order to show that anxiety in athletes is a significant problem this paper is going to be set up in three different areas in order to explain exactly how anxiety affects the athlete. The first section of the paper is going to explain the history and terminology on the study of anxiety in athletes. Next, this paper will show the results of numerous testing that has gone on in order to see the effects of anxiety in athletes. And the third and final section of this paper is going to explain what treatments that can help the athlete cope with the anxiety issues.

History and Terminology

The reasons that previous research on this subject has been hard to synthesize is because of numerous reasons, those including ‘methodological flaws’ such as lack of clear definitions and also lack of clear ‘theoretical construct.’ In the following section terms will be established for words that will be throughout this paper. Also, this section will provide an overview of theories that have been used to clarify the relationship between anxiety and performance in athletes.

In Edward’s and Hardy’s opinion the main problem that research on the relationship between anxiety and performance has encountered is that researchers have not defined all the specific terminology that is required to understand with this subject. The following operational definitions will be used for the terms anxiety and stress. “Stress is a state that results from the demands that are placed on the individual which require that person to engage in some coping behavior.” Arousal is going to be considered to be a signal to the athlete that he/ she has entered into a stressful situation and is characterized buy physiological signs. Anxiety results from the athlete’s perception that he/ she is not good enough for the particular situation, which will cause stress (Edward and Hardy).

An early model that attempted to explain the relationship between arousal and performan...

... middle of paper ...

...athletes. And because of the obvious problems with anxiety there have been a few key ways that show how treatment helps athletes out. So in final, after years of research on the effects of anxiety and treatment it is imperative that athletes get help from a professional in order to obtain maximum performance.


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Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 12.3 (Sept 1990): 217-222

Edwards, Tara and Hardy, Lew. “The Interactive Effects of Intensity and Direction of

Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety and Self- Confidence Upon Performance.”

Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology18.4 (Sept 1996): 296-312

Ferraro, Tom. A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Anxiety in Athletes. April 2002. Athletic

Insight: Online Journal of Sports Psychology. 29 May 2002

Stress Management: Behavioral Psychotherapy for Performance Enhancement. (no

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