FACILITATORY PRECOMPETITION ANXIETY LEVELS VARY BETWEEN ATHLETES

Tsuda, S., Nisugi, S., & Morii, H. (2004). A cross-cultural study of precompetition anxiety and performance in diving: A test of individual zones of optimal functioning theory. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 1517.

The intent of this study was to test the efficacy of Hanin's (1980) Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) theory to explain the relationship between precompetition anxiety and performance with 22 junior divers having two nationalities (14 Japanese and 8 American). Each diver first completed the state version of the SATI (Japanese or English version, Form X-1) using the standard instructional set. This served as a baseline measure. Then divers performed retrospective recall of past competitions modeled after a protocol described by Hanin. This was achieved by having the divers complete the state version of SATI three separate times on the basis of how they recalled feeling immediately before the: (a) best, (b) worst, (c) best of the most difficult dives during their previous season.

Precompetition anxiety was significantly greater than baseline for recall of best, worst, and best of the most difficult dive performances. In accordance with IZOF theory, considerable variation was found in the range of recalled best precompetition anxiety and 72.7% of divers reported performing best at either low or high levels of anxiety. The Japanese showed significant elevation in precompetition anxiety for all recalled conditions, Americansí elevated precompetition anxiety only in the recalled worst condition. Additionally, the Japanese possessed higher recalled best precompetition anxiety than that of Americans. These findings support Hanin's Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning Theory despite the cultural difference. It possibly implies that coaches and divers should maintain their precompetition anxiety level within their IZOF to perform best rather than merely lowering precompetition anxiety levels for all divers as is generally done with relaxation techniques according to the Inverted-U hypothesis.

Implication. Individualís have their own levels of precompetition anxiety that precedes a very good and a very bad performance.

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