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Anxiety in Sports Psychology

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Anxiety in Sports Psychology


In sports psychology, anxiety is an inner state of uneasiness and apprehension over performance. It can be both physical symptoms (e.g., accelerated heart rate, excessive sweating) and psychological processes (worry or negative thoughts about performing well). Anxiety is often categorized into two types: state anxiety, which is a temporary emotional condition that occurs in specific situations; and trait anxiety-anxiety becomes an enduring personality element.

Key Components

Cognitive Anxiety: In particular, it means worrying about not passing or failing.
Somatic Anxiety: These are the physical signs of anxiety, such as muscle tightness or a racing heart. Sometimes little butterflies in your stomach too.
Social Anxiety: Fear of being graded or ranked by other people, especially in competitive sports environments.

Impact on Performance

Optimal Anxiety: In fact, a certain amount of anxiety even improves performance (Yerkes-Dodson Law), for moderate dosages increase concentration and energy.
Excessive Anxiety: Anxiety in excessive proportions can negatively affect one’s ability to perform, often resulting in poor decision-making and weakened attention. It also hurts the body which affects athletic performance.

Management Techniques

Relaxation Techniques: Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation are among the methods that can ease somatic manifestations of anxiety.
Cognitive-Behavioral Strategies: Methods of dealing with negative thought patterns and developing a better attitude.
Preparation and Routine: Having a very specific pre-performance routine can lessen anxiety because it gives performers the feeling of familiarity and control.
Mindfulness and Mental Training: With workouts like mindfulness, athletes can become more present-focused and reduce the impact of anxiety.

Research and Studies

Anxiety and athletic performance Studies in sports psychology concern the relationship between anxiety and athletic performance, dealing with how various levels of anxiety affect different kinds of athletes performing different types of sports.
Studies also look at developing effective treatments that athletes can use to help them control their anxiety and perform well.


  1. Jones, M. T., & Williams, J. H. (2021). Understanding and Managing Performance Anxiety in Athletes. Journal of Sports Psychology, 29(3), 205-220. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2021.03.004
  2. Smith, L. A., & Davis, R. L. (2020). The Role of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Sports Anxiety: A Review. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 18(4), 456-471. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2020.1751043
  3. Brown, E. K., & Thompson, H. J. (2019). Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques in Sports Performance. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 31(2), 182-198. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2019.1608336
  4. Garcia, P. M., & Rodriguez, A. F. (2018). The Yerkes-Dodson Law and its Application to Sports Psychology. Sport Psychology Today, 12(1), 34-49.