Effects of Pre-Competition Cognitive Anxiety and Somatic Anxiety on Adult Ice Hockey Players Performance




McVay, Matthew

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Anxiety can affect people in a variety of different ways depending on their makeup and where they are currently in their lives. Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state exemplified by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. It is the displeasing feeling of fear and concern and can create feelings of worry, uneasiness, and dread. Anxiety can help a person deal with a challenging situation by helping them to cope with it. Athletes may be susceptible to anxiety more so than others due to the immense amount of pressure placed on them. That pressure can be placed on athletes by parents and coaches to perform at a high level. In many instances, the most pressure can come from the athletes themselves to score a lot of points, hit the most home runs, catch the most touchdowns, or score the most goals. There are three factors that may affect an athlete’s performance before a game begins: cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence. This pilot study was conducted to look at pre-competition anxiety and its effects, if any, on the athletic performance of adult ice-hockey players. The pilot study will hopefully be used to help coaches better track which athletes need help in managing their anxiety and help the athletes themselves understand how uncontrolled pre-competition anxiety can lead to decreased performance. Sport psychologists could then be brought in by teams to help track and maintain each athlete’s anxiety on a case by case basis to identify ways in which they can positively use their anxiety before it goes past a certain point and affects performance. Some athletes naturally have more anxiety than others and that is acceptable if used in a positive manner, but the effects of being too anxious before a game cannot be overlooked. This pilot study answered questions on pre-competition anxiety and if it affects performance any differently before a regular season ice-hockey game and an even more pressure-filled playoff game. The pilot study may lead to more advanced future research on anxiety to further help these athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists.



Anxiety, Somatic, Cognitive, Self-confidence, Performance, Sports, Competition, Hockey