Dr Tracy Shaw

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What is Sport Psychology

The Benefits of Sport Psychology

Emotional Regulation: Stress, Anxiety, & Chocking:

Stress, anxiety and chocking are feelings often experienced by athletes in the athletic area.   Athletic stress is defined as a feeling experienced by an athlete when they perceive the demands of their sport exceeds their personal and athletic abilities.  Anxiety is described as the feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, and feeling out of control. Choking is explained as the psychological and/or physical reaction to heightened expectations, even when those expectations are warranted.  Usually chocking occurs when an athlete experiences intense fear or anxiety.  The athlete has lost their “present” focus and continues to focus on the pressure they feel or on past mistake made.  Intense feelings (i.e., stress, anxiety, and chocking) all have an impact on athletic performance and athletic productivity

There is no need for an athlete to suffer from chronic stress, anxiety, or chocking.  Teaching athletes’ mindfulness skills can help athletes reduce the impact of stress, anxiety, and chocking on their athletic competition.  Mindfulness is present-moment awareness.  Unfortunately, many athletes focus on things other than what’s happening in the moment (i.e. concern about the future, ruminating about the past, and focusing on what’s coming next).  Mindfulness allows the athlete to “manage their stress, anxiety and choking more effectively before, during, and after competition.  Mindfulness encourages athletes to focus on the present-moment and the demand of the present-moment is to perform.   The ability to focus one’s attention can promote relaxation and increase athletic success.

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