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Chapter 4

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PSYC 3480
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 4 - Arousal  "I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match" - Mia Hamm  For best performance athletes must be in their personal zone of optimal functioning (Zoptimal state of physiological arousal  Arousal level can be conceptualized as a continuum that runs from low arousal (e.g., awakening from deep sleep) through moderate arousal to high arousal (e.g., absolute frenzy) o Low Arousal 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 High Arousal  At the low end of the scale individuals are drowsy, barely awake, and non-attentive.  At the high end of the scale excessively energized athletes typically report experiencing physiological, affective, and cognitive symptoms such as quick and shallow breathing, sweaty palms, racing heart, tunnel vision, stomach "butterflies", lack of focus, and utter confusion  If the symptoms of arousal are seen as worrisome and interfering confidence is undermined, less effective coping strategies are exhibited, and performance deteriorates  Changes in levels of arousal result from both positive and negative events, and from exciting and potentially threatening events o An adjustment in arousal would have to be made to find a less energized state at the lower end of the scale in order to be in the optimal zone.  Athletes differ in their experience at a particular playing level (rookie vs. veteran) and in their basic emotional make-up  As athletes get more and more experience their ZOF broadens and can move to the left or right of the scale as needed - broader zone allows an individual to feel comfortable and perform at her best at different arousal levels  Zone width not only related to experience and the demands of the task, but also to individual general arousal level  Athletes who have a high ZOF will compete at their best when highly aroused. The 'hyper' individual has a relatively narrow zone and often plays in the high arousal range (6 or 7) even when not necessary.  Athletes with a low ZOF typically perform best with low levels of arousal. However, the more quiet or sedate individual may have to make a shif
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