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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Anxiety And Athletic Perfomance - 1395 words
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.. tudy found that away games resulted in increased somatic anxiety and lower levels of self-confidence as the ability of opponents increased (Ferraro).It is clearly seen that anxiety exerts a variety of effects on athletic performance. These effects vary on sport, level of experience, and amount of self-confidence. In order for athletes to hit their peak performance, sports psychologists must consider the three different facts of anxiety: cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence. By seeing the research that indicates that successful athletes who interpret their anxiety as being facilitative is characterized by high scores on self- confidence and low scores on somatic and cognitive anxiety, sports psychologists should work towards achieving a readied athlete.
Now that the research has been done on how anxiety effects the athlete the next question is, what can help the athlete from falling under the problems that anxiety produces?Treatments for Anxiety in AthleticsWith cognitive- behavior interventions in athletes being a popular subject a lot of research has gone into the study of what will help the athlete out in difficult situations (mentally). In the past there have been many ways that researchers have tried to help out the athletes, and in those many ways there have been a wide variety of techniques used. In early research the work was based on anxiety reduction in clinical settings. One of the early examples would be research that was performed on two female collegiate basketball players who received training in relaxation, imagery, and cognitive restructuring. Both women showed vast improvements in concentration problems and in-game anxiety. Research concluded that the testing improved performance by reducing anxiety and improving self- esteem
In later research the efficiency of cognitive- behavioral interventions continued to improve athletic performance (Bird and Horn).One study used the testing mentioned above in 7 weekly 2- hour group sessions. The results showed that in comparison to the no treatment control group, the treatment group showed decreases in anxiety. Another recent study showed that using 'multiple baseline design' proved that after a cognitive- behavioral intervention where was a significant decrease in cognitive and somatic anxiety as well as an increase in self- confidence. However, the improvement in self-confidence was more then likely due to the fact that it had a lot of individual attention in the treatment to the athletes. This is supported by research conducted with college basketball players who were treated in both a group setting and combination group/ individual setting. Both groups showed a decrease in cognitive and somatic anxiety, but only those in the group/ individual sessions had improved scores on self- confidence.
With that in mind it is individual treatment that can raise athlete's self- confidence, but to lower cognitive and somatic anxiety the athlete may be placed in a group setting. Other research has suggested that any type of intervention regardless of content was beneficial in reducing anxiety. In a group of tennis players each was introduced to one of four interventions (imagery, relaxation, relaxation and imagery, and concentration) and all showed significant reductions in somatic and cognitive anxiety and improvements in self- confidence. Bird and Horn feel that if "researchers would have included a no-treatment control group, then their results might have shown some differences among the groups; but, this study still indicates that cognitive- behavioral interventions are effective for the purposes of performance enhancement," (Bird and Horn). Relaxation is one of the methods that has been discussed with reducing both cognitive and somatic anxiety.
There are actually two common types of relaxation methods when it comes to sports psychology, relaxation, and relaxation combined with imagery. These two techniques have been used successfully in many cases of clinical study. Each one of these steps is very important when dealing with the reduction of anxiety for the purposes of performance enhancement. Also at times athletes have a hard time reducing their arousal levels once a competition has ended. Because of instances like this a good way to counter it is to use progressive muscle relaxation, another time to use progressive muscle relaxation is a night before a big competition that is keeping the athlete awake. Even though both of these techniques are used to lower anxiety levels previous experience indicates that they initially work best when used in conjunction with imagery focusing on relaxation. After combining imagery and progressive relaxation for long periods of time the athlete will begin to master the techniques and the imagery can be dropped off (Penn State).
Another technique used to lower anxiety and raise self- confidence is the tool of imagery and mental rehearsal. This provides familiarity with the task at hand and also provides positive feedback of their imagined performance. This intervention has been proven to work with college athletes in all sports. Research shows that individuals who were in the imagery intervention had significantly greater increases in sport performance and sport competition anxiety than did the delayed- training control group. Not much is known about how imagery functions, however, researchers have identified that imagery can predict signs of cognitive state anxiety, somatic state anxiety, and even a lower self- confidence.
Because of the lack of understanding on how imagery exactly works Penn State states "imagery is an important component of an athlete's pre- competition regimen if they are to be successful," (Penn State).Cognitive restructuring is an important component of treatment since it allows athletes to have a different interpretation of the activation states they are going through and thus reduce cognitive anxiety. It can be very helpful and beneficial for de- emphasizing the importance of the competitions, which will let the athlete's real ability to come through. "According to multidimensional anxiety theory, elite performers will have peak performances as cognitive anxiety decreases and self- confidence increases." This suggests that an appropriate intervention might be to de-emphasize the importance of competitions and try to equal out the level of somatic anxiety. Another important part of cognitive restructuring is goal setting. It is very important not to shoot too high for goals (goals that are almost unattainable), because if a goal is too high it may result in an increase of anxiety and in turn impair performance. Instead of large goals it is recommended by Penn State to set a series of small goals that break down the big task into smaller, attainable goals (Penn State).Even the amount of cognitive effort that is used by an individual athlete has an effect on their performance.
It is reported that the differences between medal winners and non-medal winners at an Olympic wrestling competition was the degree to which the athletes used these techniques automatically. Most elite athletes have already found ways of achieving the activation state that is necessary for demands that are placed on an individual throughout a competition. With that stated by Penn State we can infer that it is unlikely that any one intervention will ever be able to be of benefit for everyone. The athlete needs to be assessed with what works best with them (Penn State).ConclusionThe above research shows that there is without a doubt a significant difference from athletes who go into an event with a focused goal opposed to an athlete that has an anxiety problem. Anxiety in athletes has been around for years and gone through many changes to what it is today.
The various trials with athletes has given us a clear focus on how anxiety effects the athletes. And because of the obvious problems with anxiety there have been a few key ways that show how treatment helps athletes out. So in final, after years of research on the effects of anxiety and treatment it is imperative that athletes get help from a professional in order to obtain maximum performance.BibliographyBird, Anne Marie and Horn, Melanie. "Cognitive Anxiety and Mental Errors in Sport." Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 12.3 (Sept 1990): 217-222Edwards, Tara and Hardy, Lew. "The Interactive Effects of Intensity and Direction of Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety and Self- Confidence Upon Performance." Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology18.4 (Sept 1996): 296-312Ferraro, Tom.
A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Anxiety in Athletes. April 2002. Athletic Insight: Online Journal of Sports Psychology. 29 May 2002 http://www.athleticinsight.com.vol1iss2/Psychoanal ytic Anxiety.htmStress Management: Behavioral Psychotherapy for Performance Enhancement. (no updated date). Penn State University Division of Sport Psychology.
29 May 2002 < http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/s/m/sms18/kine s321/stress.html>.
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