Mental rehearsal, use of visualisation and imagery, 'self talk', pre-game routines, relaxation techniques, somatic and cognitive techniques including PMR (performance monitoring review), control of aggression. 

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Mental Rehearsal


Going through competition in your mind, thinking about differnt situations that might occur and how you'll respind to them. Identify times when you may become aggressive or anxious, and thinki about how you could control these feelings. 


A 1500, runner might think through their tactics in a race and mentally rehearse how they will react and cope. 

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Cognitive Relaxation and Stress Management

Imagery is techiniue where person will think of a place with associations fo warmth and relaxation, and then imagine the activity with a skill.

Thought Stopping is method when negative thoughts or worry about failure eing. The performer immediatly thinks stop and substitutes a positve thought.

Self-Talk involves talking through process of competitive situation, talking positively and building self confidence.

Cognitive Stress Management involves controlling emotions and thought processes linked to attributions (reasons for good/bad performance). It eliminates negative feelings and develops self confidence.

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Somatic Techniques

Progressive Muscle Relaxation, PMR, when performer focuses on each major muscle group in turn and allows breating to become slow and easy. Athlete will visualise the tension flowing out of a muscle group until they are completely relaxed. Combination of the muscle groups achieves total relaxation quickly. 

Centring involves control of physiological symptoms of stress by focusing on control of the diaphragm and deep breathing. 

Biofeedback is a set of techniques which monitor and interpret various physiological indicators such as;

  • Skin temperature
  • Galvanic skin response (electrical conductivity of the skin which increases with sweat from tense muscles)
  • Electromyography (electrodes taped to different muscle can detect electrical actvity within the muscle which indicates tension)
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Behavioural Techniques

Coping Skills where athlte understand that pressure is perception, not fact. Changing attitude so that a pressure situation becomes enjoyable. Learn to interpret signs of arousal as positive cues.

Performance-monitoring Review involves keeping a record of performances, try match internal states with successful external states. Therefore athlete can identify what they feel lik when they produce a good performance.

Pre-performance Routines is when athletes gives themselves specific, task relevent instructions. 

Simulation Training is training to cope with anxiety by practising under conditions that mimic anticipated pressure situations. 

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Additional Strategies to Control Anxiety

Goal Setting can be a cognitive element of success in sport which is more likely because

  • Learning is focused
  • Uncertainty is reduced
  • Confidence is increased
  • Practise is planned and structured
  • Evaluation and feedback are specific

Attention Control Training (ACT) is a personlised programme which targets a performers specific concentration problems and assesses the demands of the sport, the situation, and the personality of the performer. 

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Controlling Aggression

Governing Bodies are responsible for player codes of conduct which should involve coaches, players and officals. The will:

  • Use strong officials where appropriate
  • Alter rules of games and implement punishment 
  • Reward non-aggressive acts
  • Encourage suitable use of language
  • Attempt to reduce media sensationalism in connection with aggression
  • Use coach education programmes to reduce aggressive behaviour amoung players

Coaches and Players

  • Promote ethical sporting behaviour
  • Control aggressive behaviour using stress management strategies and relaxation
  • Initiate self control strategies and attempt to reduce levels of arousal
  • Maintain healthy will to win without winning being everything, and set performance goals rather than outcome goals
  • Remove players when at risk of aggression
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