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Managing pressure
Fear of failure
Stress management
regulating emotions in sport

What emotions mean

Being able to read, understand, use and manage your emotions is an important mental skill in sporting performance.

Emotions produce physiological, mental and behavioral changes--for example, emotions affect heart rate, the way you see things, the way you decide things and the way you behave.

Top athletes learn to manage their emotions in ways which they believe will enhance their performance. Athletes may do certain things before competing to help them stay positive and achieve an optimum level of physiological arousal.


They may do other things when they face a challenge while competing because they feel that they perform best when they are in a particular emotional state.

Athletes tend to use a variety of strategies to help manage their feelings and emotions--for example, relaxation, redirection of attention, suppression of thoughts, self-talk and imagery.

An elite athlete’s goal is to have personal strategies that help create the right emotional climate to handle different situations while competing.

Keys to emotional regulation

Here are some keys to what you need to do to manage your feelings and emotions in sporting situations.

  Increase your knowledge and understanding of feelings and emotions by noting your thoughts and feelings in practices and competitions.  
  Learn to read people’s expressions and behaviours and think about how your words and actions affect others--for example, your coach, fellow competitors and family.  
  Recognize how other people’s feelings and emotions may affect you.  
  Express your frustrations and concerns appropriately rather than bottling things up. Use humour to defuse tension.  
  Use visualization and positive self-talk to manage performance anxiety and change emotional gears.  
Try to develop emotional strategies for handling different competitive situations so you know what to do when the situation arises.


Watch this video

To develop your understanding of emotions in sport, watch this video in which Gregg Steinberg talks about mental toughness and how to master your emotions.


Read this book

Read 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class: The Thought Processes, Habits and Philosophies of the Great Ones (Volume 3) by Steve Siebold.