“If I see it and believe it, then I can achieve it.” ~Arnold Schwarzenegger 💪 The field of sports psychology is something we’ve all heard of, but don’t know much about. This lack of general understanding leads to an atmosphere of skepticism and ambivalence, which hinders the effectiveness of the techniques employed by such professionals. According to several research studies, precompetitive anxiety has been reported to be the most common psychological ailment encountered by competitive athletes (Hardy, 1997; Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990; Smith, Smoll, & Schutz, 1990)- which is expected given the physical stress involved in motor activity. A moderate amount of activation of precompetitive anxiety appears to be the most optimal for performance(Hanin, 1995; Yerkes & Dodson, 1908). The “moderate” measure is relative to each individual and can fluctuate hourly based on a variety of factors leading up to the physical activity (i.e. sleep, amount of food eaten, amount of caffeine drank, etc). Too much stimulation can lead to a narrowing of the perceptual field, resulting in a reduction of the individual’s ability to focus (Easterbrook, 1959). Other drawbacks of excess anxiety include: impaired fine motor functioning (Oxendine, 1970), disrupted blood flow patterns (Mathew & Wilson, 1990), impaired decision-making abilities (Jones, 1990; Keinan, 1987), and excessive muscle tension (Kleine, 1990). All of these factors can negatively affect an athlete’s ability to perform. The next post will be about techniques athletes can use to channel their anxiety more effectively. What stradegies do you guys use?