13. Emotional control

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  • Emotional control
    • The optimal point of arousal is never the same for any 2 individuals
    • 3 variables interact to cause individual variations in the optimal point of arousal:
      • 1. Personality: extroverts=high arousal, introverts=low arousal
        • Introverts  have a very sensitive Reticular Activation System which increases their tendency towards anxiety
        • Extroverts tend to seek the stimulation of the RAS when more highly aroused
      • 2. Complexity of task: simple tasks= habitual with wide margin for error, complex tasks= more perceptual with less room for error
        • Simple skills are best when performed at high arousal and complex skills are best  when performed at low arousal
      • 3. Level of ability: autonomous= best performers at high arousal, cognitive= best performers at low arousal
    • Anxiety and performance
      • Anxiety is a negative emotional state associated with feelings of worry and nervousness relating to activation or arousal
      • Anxiety is considered to be an unpleasant state of high arousal
      • There are 2 forms of anxiety:
        • Cognitive: thought component associated with worry and fear of poor performance
        • Somatic: physical component associated with physical symptoms of high arousal like increased heart rate. This is triggered by cognitive anxiety
      • There is also a second dimension relating to the stability of anxiety
        • State anxiety is a person's immediate condition of anxiety in a certain situation
        • Trait  anxiety is a general disposition and is part of personality. It is therefore stable and determines the degree of state anxiety
    • Stress
      • Stress is the trigger that stimulates increases in arousal and anxiety
      • Stress typically occurs when a performer meets a challenge of serious consequence  with which they feel they cannot cope
      • The 'stressor' is the source of anxiety
      • Long-term stress must be prevented as it will have negative effects on health
      • However, the stimulus of stress in the short-term and the subsequent onset of arousal and anxiety can be beneficial to performance in sport
    • Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning (IZOF)
      • HANIN
      • He proposed there are individual differences in the way people respond to anxiety
      • He concluded that a general relationship between anxiety and performance did not exist but each athlete actually has their own preferred level of anxiety
      • The preferred level of arousal is not shown as an optimal point but rather a band width
      • Athletes are simply within or outside of their ZOF
        • In general team players generally have a preference for a lower IZOF
    • Peak Flow
      • The quality of skill is achieved when the performer is fully focussed and controlled and is being intrinsically rewarded by the movement performance
      • In this situation they feel greatest happiness and self-fulfillment
      • He named this rarely experienced holistic sensation 'peak flow experience'
      • MARTENS
        • Peak flow experience is most likely to occur when high somatic arousal coincides with low cognitive arousal
      • Factors facilitating peak flow
        • Anxiety
        • Concentration
        • Attention style
        • Confidence
        • Goal-setting
        • Environmental conditions
        • Leadership
        • Group cohesion
    • Anxiety management techniques
      • 2 types:
        • Somatic
        • Cognitive
      • The athlete must be helped to develop self-awareness of the level of arousal or anxiety at which they perform best
      • Somatic anxiety management techniques:
        • Biofeedback
        • Progressive muscular relaxation
      • Cognitive anxiety management techniques
        • Imagery
        • Thought stopping
        • Positive self-talk
        • Rational thinking


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