Essay Anxiety in Sports

Decent Essays

Many athletes would agree that they have felt butterflies in their stomach or a sudden rush of adrenaline before an important game. This feeling can either translate into legendary performances or monumental failures. According to Sharon D. Hoar (2007), to fully comprehend anxiety’s effect on performance, one must understand the discrimination between two unique sets of sources: trait and state anxiety, and cognitive and somatic anxiety. Anxiety symptoms are numerous and unique to every athlete. Hoar suggests that athletes might report cognitive symptoms (eg. Inability to focus), somatic symptoms (eg. Sweaty palms), or both. The author discusses a variety of sources of anxiety and argues that it can have both positive and negative effects …show more content…

Hoar cites Graham Jones (1991) as proposing the direction dimension of perceived anxiety, which relates to the translation of perceived anxiety to either debilitative or facilitative behaviour. Simply, athletes differ in the way they handle anxiety, some athletes perceive anxiety as a sign of readiness, and others perceive it as a reason to believe they are unable to perform at a high level. Jones’ proposal is highlighted in an article by Martinant and Ferrant (2007) which aims to find meaning groups of athletes based on intensity, direction, and frequency of anxiety. Martinant and Ferrant (2007) aim to comprise clusters of athletes based on their anxiety and to compare them on their levels of perfectionism and self confidence. The authors used the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory - 2 and Sport-multidimensional perfectionism scale to gather results. The results determined five different clusters of athletes based on anxiety criteria. The subgroups not only separated by anxiety intensity and frequency, but also by direction of anxiety. For example, the anxious debilitators contained athletes with high somatic and cognitive anxiety levels with low anxiety direction, which resulted in a debilitating effect. Interestingly, the anxious facilitator group endured the same level of intensity and frequency, but directed their

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