Motivation and Stress Control, Edexcel A2 PE

Anxiety (cognitive and somatic), effects on technique (e.g. chocking), agression versus assertion. 


Self-Efficacy, Bandura (1997)

Bandura (1977) developed the self-eficacy principle. It refers to self confidence specific to a particular situation. It can affect motivation in terms of the amount of effort a performer puts in and how long they can persist at a task. 

Performance Accomplishments

If individual has been successgul in the past then self confidence increases.

Vicarious Experience

Refers to performances we have observed before e.g. if a performers watchers others achieve success, then they are likely to experience high self-efficacy.

Verbal Persuasion

Significant others (people who have influence over performers, e.g parents, coach) can encourage a performer to increase self efficacy.

Emotional Arousal

How a performer feels about teir level of arousal can affect confidence. Too much is negative.

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Anxiety = Natural reaction to threat in the environment, part of our preparation for fight or flight.

Dimensions of Anxiety

  • Cognitive    = Worry and negative feelings about your own performance
  • Somatic      = Physiological symptoms such as raised heart rate, perspiration, shortness of      breath
  • Behavioural = experiencing tension, agitation and restlessness

Types of Anxiety

  • State Anxiety =  situation specific and can be linked to a particular role (e.g. penalty taking), place, or level of competition
  • Trait Anxiety =   General and enduring feeling of apprehension
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Causes of Anxiety

  • General predisposition to anxious state. An innate sense of anxiety naturally causes performer to be uneasy about competing infront of others, or in a situation of pressure
  • Percieved importance of the situation (competition-specific stress)
  • Ascribing poor performance due to lack of ability. This is more common in young, ammateur performers
  • Fear of failure
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Effects of Technique

Concept of anxiety is closely linked to arousal. Arousal can either be low or high and in terms of sport, high arousal is desired. Arousal can either be negative or positive on performance but depends on how athlete percieves their arousal. 

Jones and Swain (1992) state that most elite athletes percieve their pre competition arousal as positive alertness rather than anxiety. Novice or less experienced athletes have negative response to rise in arousal. 

Inverted U Theory

Yearkes and Dodson (1908), predicts relationship between arousal and performance as inverted- U shape. Optimum arousal depends on; type of activity, skill level of performer, and personality of the performer. 

Drive Theory

Zajonc (1965), oversimplisitic and fails to appreciate the different personalities of the performer and the context of the performance. It only applies to gross sklils such as sprinting. Also applies to a dominant response so a well-learnt skill will be reproduced with high arousal. Athlete that is highly aroused must focus of producing the desired response.

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Effect on Technique

Catastrophe Model

Hardy (1996), suggests arousal has different effects on performance depending on cognitive anxiety, Arousal will increase performance when cognitive anxiety is low, but may lead to sudden catastrophic decline in performance when cognitive anxiety is relatively high. The catastrophe occurs when the performer tries too hard.

Processing Efficiency Theory

Eysenck and Calva, anxiety may affect processing efficiency rather than task effectiveness. Anxious athletes have to work harder to maintain the same level of performance they would display if they were not anxious. 

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Choking and Overarousal


The inability to perform to an athlete's optimum performance - sudden impairment or failure of sports performance due to anxiety.

The harder someone tries the worse the performance (overarousal), often caused by excessive self-conciousness and oncern about the mechanics of skill execution. 

Potential for choking depend on the athlete and the ituation. It usually occurs when athlete is overly concerned about what ohers (teammates, coaches, audience) think of their performance. 

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Agression vs. Assertion


No intent to harm and uses legitimate force within the rules. 'Channelled aggression'.


Intent to harm outside rules of the game involving arousal and anger. 

Hostile Agression

The intent is only to harm with arousal and anger involved.

Instrumental Aggression

Intent to har with the goal to win. Used as a tactic, 'dirty play'. No anger involed and it is illegal in all sports except boxing and other martial arts sports. 

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Causes of Aggression

  • High environmental temperature
  • Home or away
  • Embarrassment
  • Losing
  • Pain
  • Unfair officiating
  • Playing below capability
  • Large score difference
  • Low league standing
  • Later stage of play (near end of the game)
  • Reputation of opposition

Theories of Aggression

  • Instinct Theory, Nature (Innate, releases built-up aggression. Aggressive response is cathartic)
  • Frustration Aggression Theory (Aggression is caused by frustration)
  • Social Learning Theory, Nurture (Aggression is learnt by others behaviour)
  • Aggressive Cue Theory (Frustration causes anger and arousal creating a readiness for aggression. Aggression is initiated by an incident during game)
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