OPTIMISM BEFORE HARD GAMES IS DESIRABLE
Wilson, G. S., Steinke, J. A., & Raglin, J. S. (2000). Predicted, precompetition, and competition anxiety in optimistic and pessimistic collegiate softball players. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(5), Supplement abstract 405.
"Most athletes experience significant increases in anxiety immediately prior to competitions, and it is assumed that once competition begins further anxiety changes occur. Optimistic athletes are also believed to have lower levels than pessimists." (p. S107) This study examined anxiety responses in female collegiate softball layers (N = 34) in easy and hard games. Predicted anxiety was measured 24 hours before games, precompetition anxiety was measured one hour before each game, and actual competition anxiety was measured during the third inning in games.
For easy games, predicted and precompetition levels of anxiety were indicative of actual game anxiety. For hard competitions, there was a trend for further anxiety elevations during games. This was evident in both optimists and pessimists, with the optimists exhibiting lower scores.
Implication. The positiveness or negativeness of approach to difficult games is related to different levels of competition anxiety. An optimistic athlete is less likely to be bothered by anxiety than one who is pessimistic.
Return to Table of Contents for this issue.