Analysing the effects of stress and anxiety on sports performers Stress is basically defined as any influence, which disturbs the natural equilibrium of the body. It is

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Analysing the effects of stress and anxiety on sports performers

Stress is basically defined as any influence, which disturbs the natural equilibrium of the body. It is the non-specific response of the body to any demand made on it. It is a response to a specific situation. Stress is either positive or negative. Positive stress is known as arousal, it is an offset of adrenaline in order to prepare for stress. It ensures that we are alert and concentrating. Aggression is when stress is negative and can lead to violence. It can also lead to the muscles tightening and becoming anxious this will have a decrease in performance. Factors that could stress during a performance are: pressure, crowd, prize, big game, type of event, unfamiliar environment, biased referring etc. Stress will often cause a change in behaviour, which can either be physical or psychological. Physical effects could be things such as a release of hormones, tense muscles, and sweating, increasing heart rate, increasing breathing, nausea, increase in pulse rate, temperature. Psychological effects could be being paranoid, getting aggressive, becoming unstable, irrational, over aroused although it could be motivational and improve your alertness.

Although stress is usually considered to have a negative effect upon a performer that is not always necessarily correct. People often complain about having too much stress or being stressed often directing it to a negative outcome. The stress of competing in a competition often forces sports people who can't handle it to pull out or withdraw from the competition. However certain amounts of stress can actually be a benefit and could help improve a performance as it provides people with the mental and physical energy to motivate themselves into doing things and doing them well. Obviously too much stress over a long period of time can have a severe impact upon our health causing things such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, impotence, substance addiction, mental health problems and suicidal tendencies.

This assignment will cover the effects of stress and anxiety upon a performer. In order to block out stress and anxiety whilst performing, performers can use many different methods in order to get the best possible results. These methods are called cognitive control strategies as they help the performer control their stress and block out nerves. An example of one of these methods is called imagery or visualisation. There are many areas to this specific technique. It is basically where the performer visualises the movement or technique considering the skill needed to ensure he/she connects as good as possible. An example of this being used would be a tennis player who just blocks out any outside interference and just focuses upon his shot and imagines it being played in his mind and hears the sound of the rackets hitting the ball, another example could be England rugby player Johnny Wilkinson who before taking his kick has a specific moment where he just visualises the ball going between the posts.
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Another method is called self-talk where basically the performer blocks out the crowd and just simply talks themselves through the motions of what's needed. This is especially effect if the performer suffers from pre match nerves or something as they it can have a calming effect upon them. It would also improve the performer confidence for example if they said to themselves after each shot "that was good shot" then they would feel far better about their ability. This would be effective in sports that need fine tuned skills and steady nerves such as archery or snooker where ...

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