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Sport Psychology . Using the top two inches to improve our sport. What is arousal?. A rousal in sport is your state of ready ness before a match or a race. Feels like you need to pee. And you feel a little apprehensive or nervous. More Arousal.

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Sport psychology

Sport Psychology

Using the top two inches to improve our sport

What is arousal
What is arousal?

  • Arousal in sport is your state of ready ness before a match or a race.

  • Feels like you need to pee.

  • And you feel a little apprehensive or nervous.

More arousal
More Arousal

  • Athletes need to reach an optimal level of readiness where they are aroused but not over aroused as to affect performance

You can be over aroused
You can be over aroused

  • Happens when your nerves and stress levels get to high.

  • You start worrying about outcomes before you have even started the activity.

Examples of over arousal
Examples of Over Arousal

  • English football team

  • All Blacks in the World Cups

  • Australia at the olympics

High arousal
High Arousal

  • High levels of arousal are characterised when athletes are:

  • tense

  • highly excited

  • or anxious.

High arousal1
High Arousal

High levels of arousal result from an increase of a hormone called adrenalin in the bloodstream which increases heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure and respiratory (breathing)rate.

Low arousal
Low Arousal

  • Low levels of arousal are characterised when athletes are:

  • bored,

  • tired,

  • felling unwell

  • or not directly involved in the action of a game.

How do athletes manage arousal
How do athletes manage Arousal?

Sport Psychology seeks to give athletes techniques to help manage arousal, in particular over arousal, to help reach optimal performance.

These techniques include:

  • Centering

  • positive imagery

  • relaxation techniques

  • self talk

  • and mental conditioning.

    Using these techniques an athlete can control their own levels of arousal before an event and ensure they are at the optimal level of arousal.

The four c s
The Four C’s

  • Concentration: maintaining focus on relevant cues

  • Confidence: believing in one’s own abilities

  • Control: maintaining control over the emotions

  • Commitment: working hard to achieve your goals

Mental rehearsal
Mental Rehearsal

  • Athletes can often try to reach their optimal level of arousal by practicing their performance in their mind.

    This visualisation of movements you are about to perform can help...

  • Arousal control

  • Improving attention and concentration

  • Build Self-confidence

  • Learn new skills

  • Recover from injury

Key words and self talk
Key Words and Self Talk

  • During the performance or a break in an event, athletes can use key words to help them maintain focus on their performance.

  • This might be a free throw, penalty kick, line-out, top of a difficult run.

  • Key words hold a meaning to the athlete and remind them of key movements in their performance to help perform the movement well and be positive.

  • These words help create an image in the athletes mind of a successful, positive performance.

The basketball free throw
The Basketball Free throw

  • In pairs or small groups identify the main parts of a basketball free throw routine and then identify the technical movements that would make this movement successful.

  • Give each part of your routine a key word that associates with the technique you have uncovered.

  • BOUNCE: Bounce the ball three times, relax the shoulders and clear the mind.

Basketball free throw continued
Basketball Free Throw continued

  • BREATHE: Breathe in and visualise the ball sailing through the air and into the hoop.

  • LEGS: Bend the legs, feet shoulder width apart

  • ELBOW: Have the ball in front of you and elbow pointing toward the hoop

  • RELEASE: Release the ball smoothly in a fluid action

Why does it work
Why does it work?

  • The athlete focuses on the performance not the outcome

  • The movement is broken down into small achievable parts

  • Self talk and cues helps athletes make links from what they do in training to performance in matches




  • Relaxation can be used before, during or after a competition or event.

  • It helps the athlete stay calm and reach the correct level of arousal for the situation

  • Relaxation techniques include deep breathing, meditation and centering exercises.


  • Concentration is recognised as the most important mental factor for effective performance.

  • Concentration skills can be trained and improved and are as important to practice as physical skills

  • There are many external cues or stimuli happening in any single athletic event. Concentration is the recognition of relevant cues and the ignoring of irrelevant cues.

Attentional focus
Attentional Focus








Low level of Optimal level of High level of

Concentration ConcentrationConcentration

Examples of attention
Examples of Attention

  • Roger Federer

  • John Walker

  • Greg Chappell

  • Phil Charman

Training attention control
Training Attention Control

  • Athletes need to be able to recognise relevant cues to help their performance

  • Athletes need to stay in the here and now

  • Athletes must focus on performance goals rather than result based goals

  • Athletes should have a mental routine that helps them best reach the optimal level of arousal and optimal level of attention

Personal mental skills routine
Personal Mental Skills Routine

  • Design your own mental training routine to help you prepare for your particular sport.

  • This should include:

  • Preparations you make the day before the game, the day of the game, an hour before the game, mental strategies for during the match, and after match analysis and evaluation.