How emotions influence athleticism

I’ve long wondered the degree to which our emotional state influences our athletic ability. Does anger help, or hurt us while running or playing sports? What about being a hopeful type of person?

I found some interesting information about this from the School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, UK:

We conducted three experiments to examine the relationships between emotions and subcomponents of performance. Experiment 1 revealed that anger was associated with enhanced gross muscular peak force performance but that happiness did not influence grammatical reasoning performance. Following Lazarus (1991, 2000a), we examined hope rather than happiness in Experiment 2. As hypothesized, hope yielded faster soccer-related reaction times in soccer players. Experiment 3 was an examination of extraversion as a moderator of the anger-performance relationship. When angry, extraverts’ peak force increased more than introverts’. Results are discussed and future research directions are offered in relation to Lazarus’s framework.

This is preliminary, but does this mean we should make ourselves angry if we want to improve our performance? Ah, but wait it seems anger helps extraverts more than introverts. So it looks like anger wouldn’t be of much use to someone like me. Hope also seems to help, but mostly with reaction time.

These are interesting findings, though it isn’t always easy to change our emotional state at will. Based on this, if you want to perform better, think of things that make you angry, but not too angry.

See what happens and report back to me.

2 responses to “How emotions influence athleticism

  1. I can see some truth in this linked to me and running but again it depends how angry/frustrated I am. Too much and I won’t go at all! But if I do I run faster and invariably feel better for it. If I am very happy I have a tendency to take it easier but will probably run for longer. However, when I used to play netball I would play better if I was happier and therefore feeling more confident (I too am a natural introvert). Thought-provoking post!

    • I’m glad you liked my post. I was hoping to get feedback like yours, this is what I was talking about and I can relate to this.

      A little anger is helpful to me, but too much(which is rare) and I won’t bother since I may run too fast and may end up injuring myself. Of course, running can often make me less angry, but it’s not always the best solution. Thanks for your comments.

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