Sports regulation and performance of athletes

Sports regulation and performance of athletes
Sports regulation and performance of athletes

Sports regulation and performance of athletes. The purpose of this article is to provide an insight into the conscious use of emotions in sports performance by taking an applied approach to the subject. Following an introduction to the relationship between sport and emotion, the essay will go on to the notion of emotion regulation, including examples of how it might be used in an intervention setting, and finally to the conclusion.

What is the definition of emotion regulation?

Emotional states have been shown to be associated with sports performance in the past (Beedie et al., 2000; Hanin, 2010), and research reveals that athletes control their emotions appropriately (Totterdell & Leach, 2001; Hanin, 2003, 2010; Jones, 2003; Robazza et al., 2006; Ruiz & Hanin, 2011). Gross and Thompson (2007) define emotion regulation as the automatic or deliberate application of strategies to initiate, maintain, modify or display emotions in a given situation—for example, the subjective experience (feelings), cognitive responses (thoughts), emotion-related physiological responses (such as heart rate or hormonal activity), and emotion-related behavior (bodily actions or expressions).

Choosing the Appropriate Situation

It is critical at this stage to distinguish between different types of goal behavior. Scenario selection is the process of deciding whether to avoid or confront an emotionally charged situation. An individual who chooses to avoid or disengage from an emotionally charged event reduces the chance of having an emotional response to that scenario. A person who chooses to approach or interact with an emotionally relevant event increases his or her chances of having an emotional response to that scenario (Gross, 1998). It follows that although some objectives are geared toward achieving an ideal end, other motives may be directed against avoiding failure or making an incompetent presentation of one’s abilities. Approach goals are concerned with exhibiting competence to others, while avoidance goals are concerned with avoiding an undesired consequence, such as avoiding the exhibition of incompetence to others, which are referred to as avoidance objectives. Because avoidance aims might trigger a strong anxiety-provoking reaction (such as tenseness or uneasiness), emotion regulation skills are quite beneficial.

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Techniques for regulating

Following the research of Gross and John (2003), it has been determined that there are two ways for controlling emotion, which are known as “cognitive reappraisal” and “expressive suppression.” Cognitive reappraisal (also known as Situation Modification) is a tactic in which a person changes the way they think about a situation in order to reduce its emotional effect (Gross & John, 2003). Athletes, for example, may see an anxiety-inducing circumstance and interpret it as either nerve-wracking or as a chance to learn more about their performance, thereby making the seriousness of the situation feel less dangerous. Expressive suppression, on the other hand, is the act of suppressing feelings of apprehension about an anxiety-inducing circumstance in an effort to be less likely to participate in emotion-expressive behaviors as a result of the experience (Gross & John, 2003). In most people’s minds, expressive suppression is a maladaptive emotion-regulation method that should be avoided. According to Aldao et al. (2010), it is associated with more psychological disorders, has worse interpersonal outcomes, and is associated with lower levels of wellbeing. It also necessitates the mobilization of a disproportionately large amount of cognitive resources when compared to reappraisal, according to Gross and John (2003). (Richards, 2004).

When it comes to emotion regulation, there are two main reasons to consider: “Hedonic” and “Instrumental” (Tamir, 2009). It is the hedonic approach that provides the incentive to transform an unpleasant experience or feeling into a generally steady state of bliss. For example, an athlete who wakes up feeling furious or tight may prefer to go for a jog to make oneself experience more pleasant emotions, therefore regulating for hedonic reasons rather than for physiological reasons. It is possible that an athlete, having learned from previous experience that they perform better when angry or tense, will use memories or imagery of anger-inducing events to up-regulate their anger prior to competition, thereby facilitating an improved performance by inducing these temporary unpleasant emotions for instrumental reasons prior to competition (Tamir, 2009).