2 Why Regulate Arousal?Athletes who don’t effectively cope with stress may experience decreases in performance as well as mental and physical distress. Athletes need to be able to regulate arousal to stay focused and in control.
3 Self-Awareness of Arousal You must increase your awareness of your psychological states before you can control your thoughts and feelings.Once you are aware of your optimal arousal, you can employ arousal regulation (reduction, maintenance, induction) strategies.How individuals cope with anxiety is more important than how much anxiety they experience.
4 Self-Awareness of Arousal “It’s not a case of getting rid of the butterflies, it’s a question of getting them to fly in formation”—basketball coach Jack DonahueCompared to non-elite athletes, elite athletes see their anxiety as facilitative rather than debilitative.
5 Anxiety Reduction Techniques Somatic anxiety reductionProgressive relaxation: Learn to feel the tension in your muscles and then to let go of the tension.
6 Anxiety Reduction Techniques Somatic anxiety reductionBreath controlWhen you are calm, confident, and in control, your breathing is smooth, deep, and rhythmic.When you are under pressure and tense, your breathing is short, shallow, and irregular.
7 Anxiety Reduction Techniques Somatic anxiety reductionBiofeedbackBecoming more aware of your autonomic nervous system and learning to control your physiological and autonomic responses by receiving physiological feedback not normally available
8 Anxiety Reduction Techniques Cognitive anxiety reductionRelaxation response teaches individuals to quiet the mind, concentrate, and reduce muscle tension by applying the elements of meditation.
9 Anxiety Reduction Techniques Cognitive anxiety reductionAutogenic trainingA series of exercises designed to produce two physical sensations—warmth and heaviness—and, in turn, produce a relaxed state
10 Anxiety Reduction Techniques Multimodal anxiety reduction packagesCognitive–affective stress management training (SMT)Teaches a person specific integrated coping responses using relaxation and cognitive components to control emotional arousal
11 Ost (1988) Variant of Progressive Relaxation Adapted, by permission, from R. Smith, 1980, A cognitive-affective approach to stress management training for athletes. In Psychology of motor behavior and sport, 1979, edited by C. Nadeau et al. (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics), 56.
12 Four Phases of Stress Management Training Pretreatment phase (assess skills and deficits)Treatment rationale phaseSkill acquisition (training in muscular relaxation, cognitive restructuring, and self-instruction)Skill rehearsal
13 Anxiety Reduction Techniques Multimodal anxiety reductionStress inoculation training (SIT)An individual is exposed to and learns to cope with stress (via productive thoughts, mental images, and self-statements) in increasing amounts, thereby enhancing his or her immunity to stress
14 Anxiety Reduction Techniques Multimodal anxiety reductionFour steps to stress inoculation training (SIT)Preparing for the stressor (e.g., “It’s going to be rough; keep your cool”)Controlling and handling the stressor (e.g., “Keep your cool since he’s losing his cool”)Coping with feelings of being overwhelmed (e.g., “Keep focused; what do you have to do next?”)Evaluating coping efforts (e.g., “You handled yourself well”)
15 Anxiety Reduction Techniques HypnosisAn altered state of consciousness that can be induced by a procedure in which a person is in an unusually relaxed state and responds to suggestions designed to alter perceptions, feelings, thoughts, and actions
16 The Matching Hypothesis An anxiety management technique should be matched to a particular problem.Cognitive anxiety should be treated with mental relaxation.Somatic anxiety should be treated with physical relaxation.If you are not sure what type of anxiety is most problematic, however, use a multimodal technique.
17 What Is Coping?Coping“A process of constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands or conflicts appraised as taxing or exceeding one’s resources” (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984)
18 Coping Categories Problem focused Efforts to alter or manage the problems that are causing stress (e.g., time management, problem solving)
19 Coping Categories Major problem-focused categories Information gatheringPrecompetition and competition plansGoal settingTime management skillsProblem solvingIncreasing effortSelf-talkAdhering to injury rehabilitation programs
20 Coping Categories Emotion focused Regulating the emotional responses to the problem that causes the stress (e.g., through relaxation, mediation)
21 Coping Categories Major emotion-focused categories Meditation RelaxationWishful thinkingReappraisalSelf-blame, mental and behavioral withdrawalCognitive efforts to change the meaning (but not the actual problem or environment of the situation
22 Coping in SportThere is no single coping strategy that is effective in all situations.Use problem-focused coping when stressful situations can be changed and emotion-focused coping when situations are not amenable to change.Athletes must learn a diverse set of problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies to use in different situations and for different stress sources.
23 Coping in Sport Coping strategies frequently used by athletes Task focusRational thinking and self-talkPositive focus and orientationSocial supportMental preparation and anxiety managementTime managementTraining hard and smart
24 Moving Beyond Anxiety: Coping With Emotions 1. Self-statement modificationChanging negative to positive statements.2. ImageryCoping with negative emotions or using positive emotions.3. Socratic dialogueThought-provoking questions are asked so athletes can reevaluate their self-defeating thoughts.4. Corrective experiencesAthlete makes a conscious decision to engage in the behavior that is of concern, which can reduce anxiety and correct past mistakes.(continued)
25 Moving Beyond Anxiety: Coping With Emotions (continued) 5. Vicarious learningModeling appropriate behaviors makes it more likely that behavior will be produced.6. Self-analysisMonitoring emotions in sport and thus increasing self-awareness.7. Storytelling, metaphors, and poetryLiterary techniques encourage athletes to consider alternative ways of viewing and dealing with the situation (e.g., quotes or stories from sport stars).8. Reframing Perspective taking, such as viewing an important competition as just another game).
26 Keys to Generalizing Coping Strategies Recognition of stimulus generality. Understand that certain coping skills transfer to other life situations.Broad application of coping skill. Some skills are likely to generalize to nonsport situations, such as stress inoculation training and progressive relaxation.Personal significance of coping application. Coping skills that are important to an individual will typically transfer to other situations.
27 Keys to Generalizing Coping Strategies Internal locus of control of coping skill. Coping skills become more transferable when an athlete claims “ownership” of the skill.Learned resourcefulness. Resourceful individuals realize that coping skills can apply to different aspects of life.
28 On-Site Relaxation Tips Smile when you feel tension coming on.Have fun—enjoy the situation.Set up stressful situations in practice.Slow down; take your time.Stay focused on the present.Come prepared with a good game plan.
29 Signs of Underarousal Moving slowly, not getting set Mind wandering, being easily distractedLack of concern about how one will performLack of anticipation or enthusiasmHeavy feeling in legs, no bounce
30 Arousal-Inducing Techniques The goal is to get athletes at an optimal level of arousal.Often things such as pep talks and motivational speeches can overarouse athletes.So if arousal is to be raised, it should be done in a deliberate fashion with awareness of optimal arousal states and on an individual basis.
31 Arousal-Inducing Techniques Increase breathing rate.Act energized.Use mood words and positive statements.Listen to music.Use energizing imagery.Complete a precompetition workout.