Psychology of sport performance

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Psychology of sport performance

Task 3a

Describe the influences and effects of stress and anxiety on sports performance.


Stress is a particular pattern of disturbing psychological and physiological reactions that occur when an environment event threatens important motives and your ability to cope with situations. Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences.


Anxiety affects our whole being. It affects how we feel, how we behave and has very real physical symptoms.

It feels a bit like fear but whereas we know what we are frightened of, we often don't know what we are anxious about.

Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling - severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating.

Stress and anxiety in sports performers

I have chosen to look at Mohammed Ali and the ways that stress and anxiety would have affected him during his boxing career.

Stress and anxiety can affect all performaers in sports however it can affect them in different ways.

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.

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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.

Task 3b

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