Anxiety Implications in the Athlete’s Performance
It’s believed that around 70% of the athlete’s performance is related to the emoLonal state and just 30% exclusively to the technique and physical condiLon. Our body and mind are connected and, for this reason, our thoughts trigger physiological responses which could not be so pleasant or extremely displeasurable. in the sport context, one of the most common emoLonal states which impacts the most the athlete’s performance is the anxiety.
Anxiety is a normal emoLonal state of mind and is considered just a problem when it becomes intense and recurrent, prejudicing the athlete’s life quality and performance. We trigger anxiety when our mind understands that it is facing a stressful situaLon. - exemple: a challenge, a problem, a danger or any context in which requires body and mind acLvaLon. In order to prepare for a compeLLon, for pursuing the victory, we need a certain anxiety, because it supplies us psychic and physical energy, and the moLvaLon to move forward. However when this acLvaLon surpasses the normal, we start to feel its unpleasant effects. Uncontrolled thoughts, Lredness, lack of concentraLon, sleep disturbs, irritability, breathlessness or shortness of breath are some of the symptoms. And how do everything starts? Everything triggers through the thoughts.
When the athlete has a favorable mental health, there is a predominance of good and moLvaLonal thoughts regarding the moment in which it facing. This mental health triggers pleasant physiological reacLons with the release of serotonin, endorphin, dopamine e other hormones related to enjoyment, leading to a higher concentraLon, focus, thoughts and physical control and, therefore, the athlete to have a beeer performance.
The opposite, when the athlete is not well emoLonally, there is a predominance of negaLve, puniLve and demoLvaLonal thoughts, related to fears and insecuriLes. it iniLates unpleasant physiological reacLons, related to our fighLng and scape insLnct and to excessive relate of adrenaline, corLsol and other stress related hormones. Result: the athlete speeds up or paralises and this decompensaLon prejudices directly the performance.
Between this and that it is primordial for the athlete to go though a process of self knowledge, which could be done through the psychotherapy, in order to understand which contexts trigger off anxiety and the reason behind, what fears, insecuriLes and thoughts associated with the athlete’s career and how to elaborate in a way where it could show the best of he or she, in all life aspects.
Claudia Maria Crocoli Antunes, Psychologist, specialized in Clinical Psychology of PsychoanalyLcal Approach, Sport Psychology Specialist, graduated in Group Dynamics, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.