Effects of Emotions in Sports

January 6, 2017 Off By Ray Kyle

Sports relay a great thrill and negative feelings through players and fans alike, although the involved emotion tends to take a greater toll on the former than the latter. Mostly, when a player does a mistake, they usually look so much into it that they end up losing focus and, temper sometimes. Emotions can haunt anyone before, during or after the game and they do manifest in almost every sport.

Emotions have firmly established their place in sport psychology research over the past 40 years. For many decades following World War II, mainstream psychology researchers placed negative emotions (e.g., anxiety) ahead of positive emotions (e.g., happiness) but positive emotions are now a genuine, promising field of research because of their influence on specific components of performance (e.g., attention) and psychological well-being.

The benefits of these emotions have hitherto not been wholly realized in a sport context, especially in their capacity to generate greater self-efficacy, motivation, attention, problem-solving, and coping with adversity. Although the sport emotion literature is sprinkled with studies that specifically examined positive emotion in sport settings, the breadth and depth of this research is too thin to make bold claims about the value of positive emotions in the emotion-performance relation.

There are, however, at least three theoretical models available to sport psychologists to better understand the influence of positive emotions on sport performance and two of these models are specifically designed for sport contexts. Not only can these models deepen and widen this knowledge base, but they can also support interventions in applied settings to improve performance and psychological well-being.

Sourced From: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1750984X.2011.560955?journalCode=rirs20

As much as victory is a far sought achievement in every sport, sometimes players go wrong and make mistakes which cost them eventually. Sometimes other stake-holders mess things up and a much needed victory is lost, or earned by much effort than necessary. Such an occurrence usually causes emotions to run high, especially on the side of the players. What is more amazing is how weird people can behave in sports, especially when emotions get the best of them.

Just where do out of control emotions take us in the wonderful world of sport? What do they do for the athletes, coaches and parents that succumb to them? What do they do for those that these emotions sometimes get directed at? Not too long ago the hockey and sports world were stunned and shocked by the haunting images of Canucks’ forward Todd Bertuzzi skating up from behind an unsuspecting Steve Moore, sucker-punching him in the side of the head and then climbing onto his back as he fell forward, riding him down hard to the ice face first and knocking him unconscious. The severity of this assault was way beyond the “violence-dujour” that has become a mainstay in the NHL.

Regardless of these past experiences, and despite what your coaches may tell you about getting angry or “pumped” before you perform, it’s important for you to understand one thing: You will NEVER consistently play to your potential when you’re angry. Oh sure, your emotions may occasionally peak at just the right time, in just the right way so that you’ll end up with an occasional awesome outing. However, you’ll be hard pressed to duplicate that performance the next ten times you go out.

There are three very common things that happen whenever an athlete begins to lose emotional control. First, his/her self-talk turns negative and nasty. Second, the athlete begins to concentrate on the source or cause of the upset. For example, if I made a mistake and it triggered an emotional or angry reaction inside of me, I’d tend to focus on the mistake. Third, and as a result of the first two, the athlete’s physiological arousal level starts to climb up and up, until it eventually climbs right off the charts. The athlete starts getting physically tense. So the golfer who parks his tee shot into the nearest woods begins to nastily berate himself on the inside.

Sourced From: https://www.competitivedge.com/out-control-emotions

Many have tried and failed, many have been failed by others, but if you ask many sportsmen and women, as much as they may not acknowledge it, emotions have once or twice played a part in their failure, at least for once. What is always important is not letting negative emotions strike you down once and again, working on keeping them in control would be a rather better option.

Hassle Log

Immediately after a game, write down situations that caused anger throughout. Include thoughts, emotions and reactions, consequences of your choices and a coach’s evaluation of your behavior. Also, use the hassle log to identify what you could have done differently.

Cue Words

Pick a word or phrase to focus on when you feel yourself getting angry. For example, a soccer player might say, “First to the ball,” to concentrate on gaining possession of the ball instead of running after an offending opponent. Use cue words in practice so they become second nature in competition. By learning to focus on your next action rather than mistakes, you’ll eliminate many of the dangerous effects of anger.


Develop positive self-statements to let go of anger and mistakes. Examples include, “I am a smart player, and ““I’ve got a good attitude,” “I am calm, cool, and collected or I let go of mistakes and focus on the next play.”

Role Play

At practice or at home, rehearse appropriate responses to anger-provoking situations with a parent, teammate or coach. Although it may feel silly, research shows that role playing through positive responses can be an effective way to program the right response for competition.

Sourced from: http://www.stack.com/a/sports-anger-management