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Sports Physiology

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jodiechurch
Words 1893
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Understanding the different concepts and theories relating to Sports Psychology and performance, it can be evaluated that there are many possible psychological responses to implement a plan to ensure a student achieves there absolute best in the sport European Handball. European handball is team of 7 passes a ball to throw it in the goal. The game is quite fast and includes a lot of body contact, as the defenders try to stop the attackers from approaching the ball. (About Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2007) With a game like European handball, a game plan will be needed as well as many strategies and a scheme to win the game will need to be set in place. There are strategies’ that not only improve my endurance and my fitness, but certain psychology strategies that improve my performance physically and mentally. If I want to take my game to the next level I have to be willing to take my training far beyond where most handball players stop. By over coming performance fears, injuries, stress and reaching certain goals there are many strategies that can be done to do so. (Quinn, 2013) Motivation, Anxiety and Arousal are the three main strategies that I used to improve in my performance.

Getting good in a sport requires both physical and mental. You have to work hard on your conditioning and physical game to make it happening. A game strategy such as motivation is the best way to get you on top. Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment of the particular sport itself. And exists within the individual rather than relying on external pressures or a desire reward. Students who are intrinsically motivated are more likely to engage in the task willingly as well as work to improve their skills, which will in crease their capabilities. (Schater, 2011) Extrinsic motivation refers to the performance of an activity in order to attain an outcome, whether or not that activity is also intrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation comes from out side of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards (such as money, or a grade, with incentives such as cheering from the crowd or a trophy) for showing the desired behavior and the threat of punishment following misbehavior. (Schater, 2011) Competition is an extrinsic motivator because it encourages the performer to win and to beat others, not simply to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. Being motivated by others is one thing, but self-motivation is one step closer to success. (Huitt, 2011) I set realistic and achievable goals for myself, by doing this I am setting myself up for a little bit of challenge but then can change that challenge into an achievement. When I’m playing a game, I set goals for myself, challenging me to do the best I can in different situations, as well as help my team members out when it is needed. Being placed in set teams, with people that are at the same skill level as me makes the game more enjoyable. Enjoying the game puts me in a better mood, which then motivates me to do the best I can. Winning is a motivator, it gives the confidence and motivation to strive better, which then affects performance. (Goldberg, 2012) As well as self-motivation, peer motivation is also a helpful strategy. Getting helpful criticism or constructive feedback, gives me a chance to work on what needs to be improved, which improves my performance in the long run, and will hopefully show in my games. When I’m motivated, I then become focused, which helps me concentrated. These three aspects are comparable to a completed puzzle piece; you can’t have one and be completed. To be focused on the game, I have to concentrate and be motivated to be focused, and visa versa. Motivation also connects with arousal levels, and being in the zone of optimal functioning. (Arousal, Stress & Anxiety, 2004)

Arousal is a psychological state of being awake, or reactive to stimuli. It involves the activation of the reticular activating system in the brain stem, the nervous system and the endocrine system, leading to increase heart rate and blood pressure, and a condition of sensory alertness, mobility and readiness to respond. (Larsen & Buss, 2008) Arousal can be alerted by emotion, where the physical and emotional states occur at the same time in response to an event. Arousal is involved in the detection, retention and retrieval of information in the memory process. And a person’s level of arousal when introduced to stimuli can be indicated of his or her preferences. (Gerrig & Zimbardo., 2013) Being suggested that the exposure to unfamiliar stimuli was correlated to avoidance. Certain things trigger yourself; they set you off, and get you to the optimal arousal level. Arousal relates to the Inverted U Hypothesis, which is a theory that suggests that as the arousal increases there will be an increase in performance up to a point where further increases in arousal lead to decreases in performance. (Kirk, 2004) The Inverted U Hypothesis relates a lot to a players arousal level and how they got there. For an example, a suitable and energetic warm up that I do before a game, will put me in the zone, such as the zone of optimal functioning. Being ready to compete and fired up means that my arousal level will be high. (Williams, Landers, & Boutcher, 1993) A coach will be able to tell when I’m up to my certain standard of optimal arousal level by signs such as a light sweat, a high heart rate, I’m enthusiastic about the moves I make as well as my team mates, and my brain activity is on. Being emotionally psyched because some else angers me also raises my optimal arousal level, meaning someone else has upset or frustrated me, which triggers my optimal arousal level. (Lerner, 1989) This is one situation where I can either be under the optimal arousal level, or have been angry to the extent where I’m over the optimal arousal level. In my opinion, I play better when the team is mixed between sexes and we are versing a mixed team. For assessment this term in exam block, this isn’t the situation. I am worried about me playing differently when in an all girls team. I have played and practiced all term in a mixed team, so it makes me wonder how I will play in a girl’s only team. This affects me physically as it upsets as well as annoys me. Which could possibly affect my game play, because I’m not in the mood to play the game properly. Music is strategy that I benefit from, as it gets me psyched up for the game situation, and gets me in an energetic mood. Listening to music during the game keeps my arousal level balanced, as I am focused, and in the right mind space. Listening to music before my assessment could be a strategy to get me in the mood for the game play, listening to music gets me in the mood where all I want to do is move around.

Anxiety before or during athletic competitions can hinder your performance as an athlete. The term “choked” is normally used during a important event where a nervous feeling in the stomach appears, and it gets in the way of your athletic performance. (Beilock & Carr, 2001) There are many things that a team player can do to over come a certain fear or many fears. Breathing techniques as well as preparation techniques can help the player to become focused with the game play as well as focus on yourself, to work on things you can improve. (Dealing with anxiety , 2011) Anxiety can be either a short term ‘state’ or a long term ‘trait’. Trait anxiety reflects a stable tendency to respond with state anxiety in the anticipation of threatening situations. It is closely related to the personality trait of neuroticism. Such anxiety may be conscious or unconscious. (Langs, 1997)Be anxious can also effect the Inverted U Hypothesis, to a point where it becomes difficult making decisions, and you doubt yourself. There are many signs and symptoms of stress, and everyone is different, so signs and symptoms can be different per athlete. Anxiety can include, anger, guilt, depression, shame and feeling sorry for oneself. Each category has its own signs and symptoms. Cognitive signs and symptoms are frustration, worries, distortion, exaggeration, unrealistic performance expectations, self-defecting statements and self-handicapping. The interpersonal signs and symptoms include withdrawal, manipulation and argumentation. As well as tension, nausea, cold sweat, clammy hands, pain and butterflies in the stomach. (Singh, 2012)

The increased stress of competitions can cause athletes to react both physically and mentally in a manner that can negatively affect their performance abilities. They become tense, heart rate races, break into a cold hard sweat, and then worry about the outcome of the competition, finding it hard to concentrate on the task. This has led coaches to take an increasing interest in the field of sport psychology and in the particular in the area of competitive anxiety. That interest has focused on techniques that athletes can us in competitive situation to maintain control and optimize their performance. Once learned, these techniques allow the athlete to relax and to focus his/her attention in a positive manner on task of preparing for and participating in competition. Psychology is another weapon in the athlete’s armoury in gaining the winning edge (Mckenzie, 1997).

References: (2002) Glossary of Psychological Terms. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013]. (1989) AASP - About Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013].
Competitive Advantage: Sports Psychology and Mental Toughness (2012) Competitive Advantage Sports Quote. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013]. (2012) Choke (sports) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013]. (2012) Motivation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013]. (1997) Death Anxiety, Unconscious Morality, and Extremes of Violence. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013]. (n.d.) Inverted-U Hypothesis. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013].
Mackenzie, B. (n.d.) Sports Psychology. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013]. (n.d.) Emotional Distancing in Counseling. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013]. (2004) Arousal, Stress and Anxiety - Factors That Influence Performance. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013].
Quinn, E. (2013) Overcoming Performance Anxiety with Sports Psychology. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013]. (2013) International Multidisciplinary e-Journal. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013].
Unknown (2007) Motivation. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 Jun 2013].

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