Nov 23 – Stress
In drive theory, if we increase the arousal level then we increase the likelihood of
seeing the dominant response
• Perform simple motor skills (ex. Sit ups, bench press) in the presence of
evaluative others for improved performance
• Learn complex motor skills (ex. Golf swing, volleyball spike) away from the
presence of evaluative others
• Increased arousal will lead to deterioration in performance... where the
dominant response is “unskilled” performance
Major Limitation of Drive Theory
• This theory doesn’t explain choking in competition
• Drive theory would say if someone is highly aroused, they would
execute the dominant performance. However, we see elite
athletes choke when they are highly aroused
• The drive theory cannot explain why elite athletes sometimes
“choke” when highly aroused
2.) The inverted U-Hypothesis (Degree of arousal vs. Performance)
• As someone’s arousal gets to a moderate level, their performance
should be optimal!
• Those with low levels of arousal should have low performance
• When someone has high levels of arousal, their level of performance should
Remember arousal is physiologically driven!
Problems/Limitations of Inverted U-Hypothesis
• How would you explain a sudden crash in performance?
• The inverted U- hypothesis focuses only on physiological arousal (not anxiety) • Inverted U-Hypothesis assumes that everyone’s Ideal Performance State is
associated with a moderate level of arousal
Pistol shooters, snooker players?
• Fine motor skills = low arousal?
d-linemen, weight lifters?
Gross motor skills = high arousal
In the wrestling scenario, drive theory worked
There are bits of theories that work in certain situations, and there are bits of
theories that don't work in certain situations
As sport psychologists, we need to know which theory works with our athletes
3.) Individualized Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) was created by yuri
• Assumes that every athlete has his/her own “optimal zone” of anxiety (or
arousal) associated with best performances.
Note page 5
IZOF is an intra- individual model. This means we look at people within themselves,
not across individuals
We look at whats best for athletes, regardless of whats best for other athletes
In athlete A, we would say their best performances come when they are fairly low
aroused or have low anxiety (whichever is being measured)
In athlete B, their best performances come when they are at a moderate range of
anxiety or arousal
In athlete C, they perform when they are highly aroused or have high state anxiety.
We need to find which zone at which an athlete performs best.
Finding an athletes IZOF
• IZOF is establ