Anxiety in Sport

Is there an optimal level of anxiety for competing in sport?

We would like to thank you for choosing our group to conduct the preliminary research for your article on anxiety in sport.
We have compiled extensive research on historical theories, standardized tests, treatments and prior experiments to provide you with a comprehensive outlook on the topic. The annotated bibliography below contains videos, books, websites and primary journal articles for your reference as you take the next steps in the writing process.
We wish the best of luck.
Chirag, Lisa, Francesca, Leo & Kelly


What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a mild fear reaction toward some stimulus. Anxiety is prevalent in even the best of athletes due to the immense pressures associated with professional sports.

Zvolensky, M. J., Lejuez, C. W., & Eifert, G. H. (2000). Prediction and control: operational definitions for the experimental analysis of anxiety. Behaviour research and therapy, 38(7), 653-663.


It is important to define certain terms related to the study of anxiety and performance. This is particularly important for studying anxiety because the stimulus is predictable and controlled in contrast to unpredictable and uncontrolled. These operational definitions are important to note when reading studies that have been conducted (as you will see below) and when conducting your own studies. You should use these terms when writing about the studies you read about.

Onset Prediction – when a stimulus precedes the event which causes anxiety. As a result, in the future onset of the stimulus results allows the subject to predict the event that will cause anxiety.

Onset Control – when the subject completely avoids or delays the onset of an anxiety causing event with a known stimulus by prevention.

Offset Prediction – when a stimulus precedes the end of an event. Future signaling through this stimulus allows the subject to predict the end of the anxiety causing event.

Offset Control – when the subject completely ends/rejects the stimulus that causes the reaction to the anxiety causing event.

Signs & Symptoms

Statistics Canada. (2013). Health state descriptions for canadians, Section B: anxiety disorders. (Catalogue number 82-619-M Number 4). Retrieved from:

Prevalence of Anxiety

According to statistics Canada, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the main anxiety disorder. Statistics Canada defines disorder as the experience of excessive worry and anxiety. Individuals who have this disorder are characterized as those who commonly fear the worst. GAD impacts approximately 3% of the population. Women are slightly more likely to have it. It is more likely to be seen at the adolescent age; however, there is no group that gets impacted significantly more than the others. Some of the symptoms of GAD are: restlessness, fatigue, loss of focus, irritability, loss of sleep etc. Overall, anxiety affects the general public as it affects athletes just to different extents.

Why do we get anxious/nervous?

Science, ASAP. (2014, Feb 9). Why do we get nervous? Retrieved from:

Why do we get nervous? Everyone experiences anxiety and nervousness to some extent; however, this reaction is not always consistent with everyone. Essentially, when faced with this certain stimulus, the pituitary gland sends a signal to the adrenal gland on the kidney. Here, adrenaline is released. Primarily, adrenaline will activate your fight or flight response increasing your heart rate, dilating your pupils, directing of blood and energy to the important organs of the body. There are degrees to which this response is activated. You can have minor fight or flight response (perhaps on a first date) or a more major one (from a shark attack). This is the nervous feeling that we get. The video below explains the biological process behind anxiety/nervousness in laymen's terms.


Mac, B. (2014). Competition anxiety. Retrieved from

Brian Mac, an experienced, nationally-ranked track and field coach in the United Kingdom, created a website that provides an excellent overview of the relationship between anxiety and performance. The website outlines the major historical theories relating anxiety to performance and serves excellent starting place for getting a basic understanding of the topic. The reference list is comprised of primary literature and is an excellent compilation of research.

  1. Inverted-U Hypothesis- Describes the relationship between anxiety and performance as an inverted U where increasing anxiety improves performance only up to a point after which additional anxiety is detrimental.
  2. Zone of Optimal Function (ZOF) Theory- States each individual has an unique optimal level of anxiety. The coach needs to determine a method that places the athlete within their optimal zone to enable an optimal level of performance.
  3. Drive Theory- Links Clark Hull's Drive Theory to the Inverted-U Hypothesis. Athletes need to be "hyped up" to perform their best. An athlete's "best" is determined by their skill level.
  4. Multidimensional Theory of Anxiety- Distinguishes between somatic and cognitive anxiety. There is a negative linear relationship between cognitive anxiety and performance (high anxiety = poor performance), and an inverted-U relationship between somatic anxiety and performance. Somatic anxiety should decrease after performance starts; however, low confidence will cause cognitive anxiety levels to remain high.
  5. The Catastrophe Model- Suggests that stress and anxiety have a unique effect on performance depending on the athlete.
  6. The Processing Efficacy Theory- Anxiety causes an increase in the amount you worry. This "worry" leads to inefficient performance; however, you are still able to perform with the same effectiveness.

Raglin, J. S., & Turner, P.E. (1993). Anxiety and performance in track and field athletes: a comparison of the inverted-U hypothesis with zone of optimal function theory. Personality and individual Differences, 14(1), 163-171.

Raglin and Turner’s article provides excellent background information on the Inverted-U Hypothesis and Zone of Function (ZOF) Theory. Their study on NCAA track and field athletes highlights the limitations of both theories and illustrates the general uncertainties associated with measuring the effects of anxiety on athletic performance. Raglin and Turner measured anxiety levels in NCAA track and field athletes using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and compared the results to assess the accuracy of the Inverted-U Hypothesis and the Zone of Optimal Function Theory. The results showed a greater correlation to the Zone of Function Theory. This suggests that ZOF has greater predictive power for identifying optimal levels of anxiety for competing in sport. Furthermore, the results suggested that implementing a sports psychology regime based on the Inverted-U Hypothesis may be detrimental to athletic performance.


Graydon, J. (2002). Stress and anxiety in sport. Psychologist, 15(8), 408-410.

Graydon’s article summarizes the key historical theories related to the study of the effect of anxiety on sport. The Inverted-U Hypothesis is linked to Hull’s Drive Theory which proposes that performance is directly related to drive and habit strength. In the study of anxiety, drive is related to arousal or hype. The more “hyped up” an individual is, the better their athletic performance. Graydon describes Hardy and Fazey’s Catastrophe Model with respect to its ability to predict performance deterioration under conditions with high cognitive anxiety and high physiological arousal. Graydon describes cases where high levels of anxiety do not lead to a catastrophe or ‘chocking’ as predicted by the Catastrophe Model. This provides a basis to the claim that historical theories only describe the effects of anxiety rather than providing an explanation. Graydon believes that the lack of consistency among the performance of athletes under high levels of anxiety needs to be addressed in psychological research by implementing a more individualistic approach.


McNally, I.M. (2002). Contrasting concepts of competitive state-anxiety in sport: multidimensional anxiety and catastrophe theories. Online Journal of Sport Psychology, 4(2), 10-22.

McNally’s article describes two theories at the forefront modern sport psychology: The Multidimensional Theory of Anxiety and the Catastrophe Model. Both theories embody an atomistic approach that differentiates between cognitive and physiologically-based anxiety. This distinction is reminiscent of mind-body dualism. It distinguishes between physiological signs of anxiety that occur in body such as sweaty palms and cognitive signs of anxiety such as distracted thoughts which occur in the mind. McNally also criticizes the Inverted-U Hypothesis for being too simplistic. This provides a thorough understanding of the critiques of the Inverted-U Hypothesis and alternatives to what many consider to be the standard hypothesis for anxiety in sport.


Arent, S. M., & Landers, D.M. (2003). Arousal, anxiety, and performance: A reexamination of the inverted-U hypothesis. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 74(4), 436-444.

Conflict always arises among psychologists during the emerging of a new psychological theory. This article by Arent and Landers illustrates this notion by describing the debate among psychologists about the validity of the Inverted-U Hypothesis. They offer a strong critique of the theories at the forefront of modern sport psychology which differentiate between cognitive and somatic anxiety (Ex. Multidimensional Theory of Anxiety). This differentiation is reminiscent of Cartesian Dualism which separates the mind and body. Arent and Landers re-examined the Inverted-U Hypothesis by assessing anxiety levels of college students during a bicycle competition with a cash prize. The results supported the Inverted-U Hypothesis and suggested that the cognitive and somatic anxiety should not be differentiated.

Eysenck, M.W., & Calvo, M.G. (2008). Anxiety and performance: The processing efficacy theory. Cognition & Emotion, 6(6), 409-434.

One theory to explain specifically what anxiety impacts in performance is the processing efficiency theory. This theory suggests that anxiety causes worry which effects performance. The theory makes a clear distinction that worry negatively impacts the efficiency of one’s performance rather than the effectiveness of it. This makes sense because worry causes us to second guess ourselves which definitely slows down the performance.

Measuring Anxiety

Sport Anxiety Scale-1

Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.E., & Schutz, R.W. (1990). Measurement and correlates of sport-specific cognitive and somatic trait anxiety: The sport anxiety scale. Anxiety Research, 2(4), 263-280.

This purpose of this article was to discuss the development of SAS (Sports Anxiety Scale), due to the limitations indicated in the Sport Competition Anxiety Test. The SCAT test was used to measure specific trait anxiety however it was only able to measure somatic anxiety. The SAS was proven to be useful to researchers in a variety of sport context and it was reliable and valid measure for both cognitive and somatic sport performance anxiety. The downfall to this experiment was that it lacked consistency when studying performance anxiety in children. Specifically, in an experiment conducted on children that range from ages 9-12, regarding sources of stress and performance trait anxiety was indicative of this. During data collection SAS was used, to determine whether it was appropriate to use three sub-scales as dependent variable measures, which resulted in an uninterpretable 5 factor solution. The researchers were unable to assess the effects of the intervention regarding different components of sport performance anxiety, which include worry, concentration disruption, and somatic anxiety. This instigated the development of a more advanced scale called the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 (see below).

Sport Anxiety Scale-2

Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.L., Cumming, S.P., & Grossbard, J.R. (2006). Measurement of multidimensional sport performance anxiety in children and adults: The sport anxiety scale-2. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 28, 479-501.

This article illustrates the effort that was placed to develop a more advanced scale, called Sport Anxiety Scale-2. This scale provided researchers with both a reliable and valid multidimensional measuring tool for sport performance anxiety. The development for the scale included the involvement of both child and college athletes. Specifically 1,038 child athletes (571 males and 467 females) range from ages 9 to 14 years and 1,294 college athletes (237 males and 356 females), with the majority are of the Caucasian descent, 78% and 59% respectively. This improved scale was capable of measuring dimensions more precisely, something that SAS 1 lacked and was incapable of doing so. Specifically SAS 2 allowed researchers to measure individual differences in somatic anxiety, worry and concentration disruption. SAS-2 also had a stronger factorial validity than the original scale. It allowed accurate measurement of cognitive and somatic performance anxiety in children and adults and had the capability to predict anxiety scores for all age groups.

The article also compares the SCAT test to the Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS). The main difference found was that SCAT test relates mostly to the somatic anxiety. In performance sports, there are two types of anxiety, somatic and cognitive. This article proves that the SAS successfully measures both the somatic and cognitive anxiety of athletes. The article focuses more on the differences of children and adults in regards to anxiety in sport. The SAS measures two types of cognitive anxiety, worry and concentration disruption. It was found that the SAS was not an appropriate test to be done on children. When doing the test, they included a coach-training situation that was supposed to reduce situational sources of stress. They thought situational stress would lower performance trait anxiety. The children were 9-12 years of age. The children's results were supposed to be measured in three categories but they found 5 uninterpretable factors within these categories. As a result, it was impossible to access the results of pertaining to somatic, worry and concentration disruption anxiety. For the adults, it was shown that there were very results that were uninterpretable. This showed that the SAS test was very effective in measuring somatic, worry and concentration disruption anxiety in adults.

Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT)

Kar, S. (2013). Measurement of competition level anxiety of college level athletes by using SCAT. International Journal of Engineering Science and Innovative Technology, 2(3).

This article describes the Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT) and the different types of anxiety athletes experience. Many athletes experience positive and negative types of anxiety. Becoming ‘pumped up’ for competition is a form of positive anxiety and a rush of adrenaline. When negative thoughts start surfacing during a competition, it can decrease the performance ability greatly. There are different types of pre-competition anxieties including fear of failure, thinking too much on what people may say about the performance, and lack of confidence. Individual sport athletes experience more anxiety than those in team sports. The anxiety arises before the athlete performs. A study by Dr. Kar used SCAT to measure pre-competition anxiety levels in college athletes. SCAT measured three different types of track and field athletes, sprinters or jumpers (SJG), long distance runners (LDG), and middle distance runners (MDG). The results showed that females have higher competition anxiety levels than males. The SCAT determined pre-competition mental anxiety levels but could not account for the differences observed in heart-rate, sweating, rapid breathing and dry mouth. Furthermore, the test was not able to pick up on muscle tension, butterflies, desire to urinate and cotton mouth. The article proved that some athletes' competition anxiety levels were greater than others. Moreover, the article discussed the effects of outside factors such as level of experience and playing in your home arena or stadium.

Competitive State Anxiety Inventory (CSAI-2)

Craft, L.L., Magyar, T.M., Becker, BJ., & Feltz, D.L. (2003). The relationship between the competitive state anxiety inventory-2 and sport performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 25 (1), 44-65.

Competitive State Anxiety Inventory (CSAI-2) is a test that focuses on specifically on cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety and self-confidence.

Physical Activity and Sport Anxiety Scale (PASAS)

Norton, P.J., Hope, D.A., & Weeks, J.A. (2004). The physical activity and sport anxiety scale (PASAS): Scale development and psychometric analysis. Anxiety, Stress & Coping: An International Journal, 17(4), 363-382.

This purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a measure of social anxiety in physical activities and sports. Research indicates that social anxiety is triggered in athletic and sporting situations, which can result in a decreased physical activity. According to this article no other common measure of social anxiety appears to assess and evaluate social anxiety in physical activity or sporting field. As a result, a 16-item self-report questionnaire referred to as the Physical Activity and Sport Anxiety Scale (PASAS), was developed based on empirical and theoretical research. The PASAS had high internal consistency across a series of samples. In addition, it also demonstrated a great convergent and divergent validity. PASAS evaluation comprehensive treatments can be used to promote physically and psychologically healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

Measuring Biofeedback

Hackfort,C., & Spielberger, D. (1990). Anxiety in sports: An international perspective. United States of America: Taylor and Francis.

This book talks about biofeedback, a certain type of treatment that reduces anxiety during sport. Biofeedback is a unique type of treatment that requires a form of feedback given to the athlete that tells them about their individual biological processes. An individual is not normally aware of these processes during their performance. The athletes use the feedback to understand what is going on with their bodies. This helps them voluntarily control the processes during anxious times. There are different types of biological feedback that are measured to give exact results back to the individual. Types of feedback include: muscle feedback which detects activity of the muscles; thermal feedback which detects skin temperature; electrothermal feedback which is obtained from electrical activity at various skin sits; cardiovascular biofeedback pertaining to heart rate and blood flow; and electroencephalographic feedback which measures brain activity.

Comparing Anxiety Tests

Dunn, J., & Dunn, J. (2001). Relationships among the sport competition anxiety test, the sport anxiety scale, and the collegiate hockey worry scale. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 13, 411-429

In this article, worry is defined as “a chain of thoughts that are negatively affect laden and relatively uncontrollable”. In other words, anxiety comes from worry. This places a certain level of importance to this article. Worry is cited as a component of cognitive interference and identified as a characteristic of trait anxiety. It is also stated that worry comes from the person's environment. For athletes, the environment includes outcome uncertainty, coaching decisions and physical danger. A big concern for athletes is how you think you'll do, and what will happen if you fail. This ties in with the Competition Trait Anxiety (CTA). The components include: failure anxiety, disgrace/shame anxiety, physical harm/injury anxiety and anxiety of the unknown. Their are two measures of CTA, the SCAT and the SAS test. They do not differ in the features in which they are measuring, threat and worry. It is more so the way in which they go about measuring anxiety. The SCAT has eight items that describe somatic symptoms of anxiety and two items that describe cognitive elements of anxiety (which are based solely on athletes concerns about performance failure). The SCAT test is a unidimensional measurement of CTA. The SAS test has three sub-scales measuring somatic anxiety (9 items), worry (7 items), and concentration description (5 items). 6 of 7 describe self doubts and concerns about performance failure. The 7th item describes concern about negative social evaluation. The scores for this test are made up of the composite sub-scale. This test overlooks the possibility that there may be a conceptual difference between the athlete’s concerns about performance failure and a negative social evaluation. The study measures the relationship between the SCAT, SAS test and intercollegiate hockey players’ dispositional tendencies to experience anxiety. There was a correlation between the two tests which measured the related components of the CTA construct. It was acknowledged that the strength in the correlation was based on the nature of the sport and the competition level. Ex. those who compete at the college level showed to be more prepared before a game. Increased preparedness would reduce uncertainties in the performing environment.

Cox, R., Russell, W., & Robb, M. (1999). Comparative concurrent validity of the MRF-L and ARS competitive state anxiety rating scales for volleyball and basketball. Journal of Sport Behavior, 22(3), 310.

The purpose of the present investigation was to compare the concurrent validity of the Mental Readiness Form (MRF-L) and the Anxiety Rating Scale (ARS) in the same competitive environment with the same participants. Landers argued that both physiological and a psychological assessment is necessary. 418 male and female intramural athletes competing in a volleyball or basketball tournament took an anxiety test to determine their CSAI (Competitive State Anxiety Inventory, ARS (Anxiety Rating Scale), and MRF (Mental Readiness Form). The study concluded that anxiety levels increase from round-robin games to play-off games. It was also stated that self-confidence is seen more in male intramural athletes than female intramural athletes.

What is the relationship between anxiety and athletic performance?

Lanning, W., & Hisanga B. (1983). A study of the relation between the reduction of competition anxiety and an increase in athletic performance. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 14(4), 219-227.

Lanning and Hisanga studied the relationship between competition anxiety and athletic performance by considering the performances of 12-14 year old female volleyball players with respect to their anxiety levels. Athletic performance was operationalized as the number of successful serves during a match. The Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT) was used to measure anxiety levels for two treatment groups which were determined randomly. The measured anxiety levels were significantly lower in the group that received anxiety management training. Furthermore, the players who received anxiety management training had a greater number of successful serves per match. The results of this study illustrate a direct correlation between low anxiety levels and improved athletic performance. This supports the Inverted-U Hypothesis which conceptualizes a consistent pattern for establishing optimal levels of anxiety. In contrast, the Zone of Function Theory supports the idea of a unique optimal level of anxiety for each individual (Raglin et al. 1993).

Studies and Experiments

Analysis of Motivational Achievement Goals

Ommundsen Y., & Pedersen BH. (1999). The role of achievement goal orientations and perceived ability upon somatic and cognitive indices of sport competition trait anxiety. A study of young athletes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 9(6), 333-343.

This purpose of this current study was to investigate and analyze the influence of motivational achievement goals and perceived sport competence, specifically on somatic and cognitive aspects of sport competition trait anxiety in young athletes. Through theoretical research it was hypothesized that a high ego orientation in athletes would result in elevated levels of somatic and cognitive sport trait anxiety and that high task orientation would be associated with reduced levels of cognitive anxiety, with no relation to somatic anxiety. 136 young athletes (girls, N=74 and boys, N=62) between the ages of 13 and 18 were observed, regarding organized sport from a community in Norway. The participants of the study were involved in either one or more organized sport activity. The subjects received mailed questionnaire regarding background information and their organized sports experience. To measure their level of anxiety in a competitive situation, Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT) was employed. The study indicated that there was no association between ego oriented achievement goals and somatic and cognitive anxiety. However, a multiple regression analysis of the athletes revealed that both a high goal orientation and high apparent sport competence, led to a lowered likeliness for experiencing somatic anxiety while competing. In conclusion, these finding emphasize the importance of being task oriented in a sport and having high competency, in order to minimize cognitive anxiety.

Perception of Opponent

Thout, S.M., Kavouras, S.A., & Kenefick, R.W. (1998). Effect of perceived ability, game location, and state anxiety on basketball performance. Journal of Sport Behavior, 21(3), 311-321.

In this article, Thout and Kavouras talk about the effect of game location and environment on somatic anxiety. Somatic anxiety can be defined as provoked by bodily symptoms of tension such as butterflies in the stomach. This exact definition is related to the idea of home and away court. Somatic anxiety seems to be influenced by a "conditioned response to environmental stimuli associated with competition, such as the competition site" (Jones et al, 1991). A study showed that away games created higher somatic anxiety and lower self-confidence. The Cognitive State Anxiety Inventory is a experiment that was tested on two high school basketball players, one male and one female. The test involved asking each individual the rank each opposing team in their conference 1-7 according to their perceived toughness. Teams were ranked 1 (perceived toughest), 4 (perceived moderate) and 7 (perceived weakest). To avoid biased ranking, coaches, assistants and coaching staff were not present. The experiment found that the major difference between males and females was the location of the game. Females has more anxiety playing on an away court whereas males were more anxious at home. Both males and females experienced more anxiety playing again the team perceived as being the toughest in comparison to the moderate team. Increased levels of self-confidence were observed against the team perceived as being weakest. Cognitive anxiety levels were also lowest against the weakest team; however, cognitive anxiety levels against the teams perceived as being moderate or toughest. Moreover, the inexperience of both the male and female teams may be a contributor to the increased cognitive anxiety levels. Males and females reported feeling more somatic anxiety and less self-confidence away than at home.

The Effect of Music on Anxiety

Dave E., Remco P., & Julie T. (2014). The effects of relaxing music for anxiety control on competitive sport anxiety. European Journal of Sport Science, 14(1), 296-301.

The purpose of this case study was to use relaxing music as a source for measuring the effects it had competitive state anxiety and the performance of simple motor skills. It consisted of seventy-two undergraduate students, who had volunteered to participate in the study. Their involvement included the examination of their performance during a sports competition, while in the presence of an audience. The participants were assigned to three specific conditions, listening to relaxing music for anxiety control, listening to non-relaxing music and a no music control. During a 10 minute intervention, anxiety was measured before, during and after. Repeated measured indicated that during all three interventions, there was a significant reduction in competitive state anxiety. The conditions were unaffected by the dependent variables. Overall, the study showed that listening to relaxing music for anxiety control was no different in terms of its effects at reducing competitive state anxiety than non-relaxing music or a period without music.

NCAA Student-Athletes

Beck, J.A. (2002). The perceived effect of incumbent versus new head coaches on state cognitive anxiety levels of division I college athletes. (Order No. 3067211, The University of Southern Mississippi). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

In this article, athletes in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association were asked to complete the Collegiate Athletic State Cognitive Anxiety Survey (CASCAS ). Items were then categorized into four different groups for statistical analysis which included overall state cognitive anxiety, scholarship, coaching relations, and competition/performance. The purpose of this case study was to prove the idea that society has influenced the competitiveness and anxiety at all playing levels. Individuals in society such as, coaches, owners, spectators, teams, schools, parents and sponsors all effect the performance of a college athlete. Gould believes that, “anxiety is a negative emotional state with feelings of nervousness, worry, and apprehension associated with activation or arousal of the body” (Weinberg & Gould, 1999). As society continues to effect sport, people begin to believe the notion of, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. This statement alone causes many factors towards athletes because the idea of winning in games is mandatory and not optional. Another purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship in state cognitive anxiety levels between the returning collegiate athletes and those that had a coaching change in each of the sports of basketball, volleyball and other sports. The academic portion was listed as one area of anxiety in student athletes.

Each year of eligibility, a student-athlete must fulfill a percentage of degree requirements. They are as follows:
A student-athlete entering his/her third year of collegiate enrollment must successfully complete at least 25% of the course requirements.
A student-athlete entering his/her fourth year of collegiate enrollment must successfully complete at least 50% of the course requirements.
A student-athlete entering his/her fifth year of collegiate enrollment must successfully complete at least 75% of the course requirements.

Bray, S. R., Jones, M. V., & Owen, S. (2002). The influence of competition location on athletes' psychological states. Journal of Sport Behavior, 25(3), 231-242.

Along with the academic requirements, students must worry about the financial aspect of sport. The article stated that 47.8% of student-athletes are on a full athletic scholarship, 9% are on partial athletic/partial academic and 7.8% receive no scholarship. Lastly, another topic of discussion with the player-coach relationship. Regarding the student who were surveyed, 43.2% have played for the head coach for only one season, and it heavily decreased by season. By 5 seasons only .4% of athletes have played for the same coach. In conclusion, many factors such as academics, financial needs and the athlete's relationship with the coach, contribute to an athlete's performance.

How Professionals Cope with Anxiety

Weinberg, R., Gould, D. (2010). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology. United States of America: Human Kinetics.

This book explains different techniques used to deal with anxiety in sports. It gives many different ideas that were proven successful by many athletes. Ideas include smiling when you feel tension, setting up stressful situations in practice, focusing on the present, come prepared with a good game plan and try to enjoy the situation. These techniques help reduce negative anxiety and help athletes perform at their full potential.

Science, ASAP. (2014, Feb 9). Why do we get nervous? Retrieved from:

Mental imagery is one way athletes cope with anxiety. There is cognitive specific imagery, where the athletes see themselves performing before actually performing which stimulates the neurons that are needed to perform a skill ahead of time. Motivational imagery is when the athlete recalls the feeling of winning to motivate themselves to pursue that feeling again. Motivational General Mastery is the term given to the thoughts that go through athlete’s minds (thoughts of focus, toughness etc.), which leads to elevated confidence. Confidence is one of the keys to success and is what coaches try to impact on the day of the competition.

Science, ASAP. (2014, Feb 8). Can music improve athletic performance? Retrieved from:

Music is another way that can reduce one’s anxiety. Synchronous music refers to an up tempo beat that coincides with the rhythm of the movements in a particular sport. One way athletes avoid anxiety is by preparing this way; by making these movements second nature through the beat of the music, when anxiety hits athletes can just perform from muscle memory. This was famously seen when Haile Gebrselassie broke the 10000-meter record by synchronizing his feet to the song Scatman. Furthermore, music can be used to elevate one’s confidence which also has a positive effect on performance.

Science, ASAP. (2014, Feb 14). Does sex affect athletic performance? Retrieved from:

Science, Sports. (2009, Dec 1st). Tests the myths of no sex before the game, Part 1. Retrieved from:

Science, Sports. (2009, Dec 1st). Tests the myths of no sex before the game, Part 2. Retrieved from:

Sex can improve performance and reduce anxiety but it is different then the methods mentioned above. This is because testosterone is one of the hormones that can lead to aggression, which is valuable in many sports. Testosterone is actually increased after sexual activity. Also studies show that all aspects of athletic performance increase post sex (such as endurance, power, strength etc.). This was proven when pro boxer Liz Parr was tested in the labs of Sports Science (a branch of ESPN, the world wide leader in sports). She was actually able to punch harder post orgasm compared to pre orgasm. Overall, sex reduces anxiety which in turn increases performance. This has been documented in many studies as shown by the sports science study.


Schlicht, W. (1994). Does physical exercise reduce anxious emotions? A meta analysis. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 6(4), 275-288.

Kleine, D. (1990). Anxiety and sport performance: A meta analysis. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 2(2), 113-131.

To conclude your article, it is important to somehow bring all of the aspects of anxiety in sport together. This is best done by noting the results of meta analyses. Here we have provided you with two that look at contrasting perspectives. The first one is based on the premise that just by virtue of playing sports anxiety is reduced (which could be a treatment idea for reducing the prevalence of GAD). The other meta analysis looks at sport performance and its relationship with anxiety. This should be the bulk of the conclusion as it is the central theme among the resources presented in this annotated bibliography. The analysis was done using 50 empirical studies. The key result of this analysis is that the relationship is a resemblance of an inverted U (like a normal distribution). This means that there is an optimal level of anxiety for maximum performance, but deviation from this optimal level indicated a decreased performance output. This further substantiates the results from all of the sources above.

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