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Factors Affecting Performance

How does training affect performance?
Energy systems: alactacid system (ATP/PC), lactic acid system, aerobic system
Analyse each energy system by exploring: Source of fuel, efficiency of ATP production,
duration that the system can operate, cause of fatigue, by-products of energy production,
process and rate of recovery

Syllabus point
Source of fuel

Phosphocreatine (PC) The energy is stored within the bond of the PC
molecule. As it breaks, energy is released.
Efficiency of
Very fast
Instant supply of PC available: a simple chemical
0.7 ATP per reaction reaction means that it is a very efficient pathway in
(speed of
terms of speed; however, it produces the least
production and
amount of ATP per reaction of all three energy
amount of ATP
Duration for
0-10 seconds
For the first five seconds of maximal activity, it is the
which the
dominant supplier of ATP, and it will be fully utilised
system can
after 10-12 seconds

Syllabus point
Cause of
Source of fuel

Depletion of PC
Glucose (stored as

Efficiency of
(speed of
production and
By-products of Heat
amount of ATP
Duration for
which the
Process and
system can
rate of

10-75 seconds
PC resynthesis
through rest
2-3 minutes

ATP-PC System

Lactic Acid System

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As the PC stores becomes depleted to the point of
Stored glycogen from liver and muscles is quickly
exhaustion, the body will be able to supply energy
converted into glucose to be used as fuel
through the second pathway, which will have been
While not as fast as ATP-PC (due to a more complex
activated by this point. The athlete will not recognise
set of chemical reactions), the cells are able to break
fatigue directly as a result of this, but from other
down glucose quickly, with more glucose being made
sources such as local neuromuscular fatigue.
available from the muscle and liver glycogen stores if
The ATP-PC system is relatively circular. Therefore,
necessary. Compared with the amount of glucose
the only by-product is a result of the chemical
used, only a few ATP are resynthesised when
reactions heat, which cause no adverse reaction to
working anaerobically.
the athlete (heat is produced in all chemical reactions
While this system begins to operate after five
that involve the breakdown of a chemical bond)
seconds, its reaches full capacity at 10 seconds,
The resynthesis of PC occurs very quickly at rest,
taking over from the ATP-PC system for maximal
with close to half being restored within 30 seconds.
activity. This can be sustained for up to 75 seconds
This is why people should rest between sets of heavy
before muscular fatigue and a reduction in power
resistance training or sprints, to ensure the body has
cause the athlete to slow down. At sub-maximal
enough energy for the next set, to enable work at
efforts above 85%, activity can last up to 3 minutes,
maximal capacity.

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with anaerobic glycolysis providing most of the

Carbohydrates, in the form of glucose, are used
If the pyruvate is unable to remove the hydrogen at
primarily for aerobic exercise, when the intensity
the same rate of accumulation, the pH inside the
increases towards and above the 70% of maximal
muscle leads to acidosis. This causes feelings of
heart rate.
fatigue, as well as impairing the ability of the muscles
At lower intensities, fat is the preferred fuel, as it is
to effectively contract at full power.
dense in energy. However fat as a fuel does require
By-products of Lactate
As pyruvate joins with hydrogen to form lactate, the
more oxygen.

muscle is able to buffer against the increasing acidity
Efficiency of
The time taken for energy to be produced aerobically
and remove the hydrogen atoms that are responsible
38 ATP
is slow when compared with other pathways.
for this. The lactate is then removed away from the
(speed of
However, once functioning, the yield of ATP is far
muscle to be metabolised in the liver.
production and Lactate removal
greater. This is even more so when fat is the fuel
Process and
During team sports, an athlete is able to use
amount of ATP
source, with over 400 ATP being produced. However
rate of
Repeated effort: 2 5 anaerobic glycolysis after 2 5 minutes rest
resynthesised) minutes
the excessive oxygen required means this is best
following a long and intense effort (e.g. sprinting the
used at rest.
Complete lactate
length of the field)
Duration for removal: 30 mins
60 + seconds
It takes at least 60s for aerobic glycolysis to start
After intense exercise involving aerobic glycolysis
has stopped, the body must continue to transport the
lactate to the liver to be converted back into glycogen
and clear away all remaining hydrogen atoms.
To support both of these situations, an active
recovery will help maintain blood flow to flush the
lactate out of the muscle as quickly as possible (e.g.
gradual cool-down)

Aerobic System
Syllabus point Characteristics
Source of fuel Increasing muscle
Cause of
(moderate intensity)
fat (rest to low

which the
system can

Cause of

Depletion of fuel

By-products of

Carbon dioxide

Process and
rate of

Replenish fuel stores

24 hours

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providing energy, as the increased oxygen demand

has to be delivered via the cardiovascular system.
However, once these pathways are established, the
aerobic system can continue working for hours as
long as fuel sources are replenished (e.g. 24 hour
mountain bike race)
A consistent level of moderate intensity can be
sustained for up to 2 hours if glycogen stores are full.
If these are not replenished regularly, then the
athlete will switch to using fats, causing the athlete to
quickly fatigue and have to slow down due to
increased oxygen demand. Other cause of fatigue are
general neuromuscular and mental fatigue, as a
result of the sustained activity.
These by-products do not have a negative effect upon
performance, and are simple removed as wastes. The
heat produced will stimulate other changes, such as
vasodilation and sweating, to ensure body temp
remains at 37.
Following a bout of sustained and intense exercise,
athletes must ensure they eat adequate amounts of
food to replenish depleted fuel stores. This primarily
involves eating 50 to 100g of carbs within 30
minutes of exercise. The process of restoring liver
and muscle glycogen can take up to a full day

Types of training and training methods: aerobic (e.g. continues, fartlek, aerobic interval,
circuit), anaerobic (e.g. anaerobic interval), flexibility (e.g. static, ballistic, PNF,
dynamic), strength training (e.g. free/fixed weights, elastic, hydraulic)

to effectively design training programs for athletes, you need a clear understanding of
the physiological demands, movements and energy systems used
due to the difference in demands of each sport, the physical demands differ

- using the aerobic energy system, an athletes aerobic endurance levels are developed
- continuous training is an extended, predominately steady-state training session that
exceeds a duration of 15-20 mins
o considered for aerobic development
o most effective for lower level athletes and racing endurance sports like rowing,
cycling, distance running and swimming

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o frequency: 2-3 times a week

o intensity: 70-85% of HR max, mixed intensity is effective
- fartlek training involves varying the pace or speed of your run, alternating between
fast segments and slow jogs
o due to burst of high intensity, both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems can
be targeted
o resembles a combination of continuous and interval
o frequency: 2-3 times a week
o intensity: 70-85% of HR max + maximal HR of varying duration
o duration: 20-30mins with high intensity lasting from 10s to several minutes
- interval training involves intermittent training at higher training intensities with
defined work and rest periods
o develops aerobic energy system
o high level, experienced athletes are more likely to benefit from interval training
methods than continuous or fartlek
o intensity: varied
o duration: short, medium & long intervals, 1:1 ratio of work:rest
o frequency: 2-3 times a week
- circuit training an arrangement of exercise that require the athlete to spend some time
completing each exercise before moving on
o develops strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination and game-specific skills
o effectively develops strength & cardiovascular fitness (aerobic & anaerobic)
o balanced targets all muscle groups
o frequency: 2-4 times a week
o intensity: for aerobic endurance; decrease intensity + increase duration +
shorten rest // for muscular strength; increase intensity + increase rest to allow
full recovery
o duration: 20 mins (30-90s work, 15-30s break)
- used in non-endurance sports as it is effective in developing strength, speed and power
- activities undertaken are high intensity, HR > 85% max
- anaerobic intervals generally range between 10 seconds and 2 minutes
- work:rest ration of 1:3
- intervals are performed in sets that are designed to overload anaerobic energy systems
- maximal effort reps designed to improve ATP-PC stores within the muscles
- longer effort aim to improve bodys tolerance to lactic acid
o there is not enough time between reps and sets body will work with higher
levels of lactate body will improve tolerance
- benefits of flexibility training:
o enhanced muscle performance
o reduced muscle soreness and tension
o reduced injury risk
o improved muscular coordination
o physical and mental relaxation
- static stretching is a method used to gradually lengthen the muscle while the body is at
o held for a minimum 30s to 2min to achieve muscle-lengthening benefits
o correct methods lessen the sensitivity of tension receptors within muscle,
relaxing muscle = increased muscle length
- ballistic stretching is a form of dynamic stretching that consists of repeated

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o not considered useful and can lead to injury

o does not allow your muscles to adjust to and relax in the stretched position
o some speed, power and gymnastic athletes incorporate ballistic movements after
a controlled dynamic warm-up
PNF stretching (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) is usually partnered form
of stretching that involves lengthening the muscle against resistance
o One of the most effective methods of increasing range of motion of muscle
o Best employed after training sessions and games
o 48 hours rest should be allocated between PNF sessions
o following isometric or concentric stretching, passive stretch is held for 30s
dynamic stretching involves gentle repetition of the types of movements that will be
experienced in performance
o gradually progressing in speed and range of motion
o e.g. walking lunges

Strength Training
- consists of a variety of resistance exercises that promote increasing muscle size,
strength and power
- isotonic contractions: concentric phase (muscle shortens) + eccentric phase (muscle
- isometric contractions: muscle does not change in length
- isokinetic contractions: change in length but at constant speed using machines
- free weight equipment includes barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls etc.
o versatile and inexpensive
o preferred over fixed wright as they better simulate sport-specific lifting and
promotes whole-body stability
- fixed weight machines offer a large variety of exercises in a controlled, supported
o less focus on technique, form, balance, coordination and muscle stabilisation
o more commonly used for inexperienced strength trainers, the elderly and those
recovering from injury
- resistance/elastic bands provide a constant tension on the muscle and use of
stabiliser muscle to control movement and offer movements in many directions
o portable, light and inexpensive
o not as demanding as fixed or free weights
o there is no way of determining the weight being lifted
o often used for rehab training
- hydraulic machines do not require a selection of weight or resistance
o they provide counter-resistance to the athletes movement
o the harder and faster the movement, the more resistance is created with the
o they offer the ability to do 2 movements at once
o they do not provide eccentric contraction

Principles of training: progressive overload, specificity, reversibility, variety, training

thresholds, warm up and cool down

- training programs are designed to challenge athletes physically and mentally to
improve their exercise capacity and efficiency
- the following principles can be applied to all types of training to improve performance:

Progressive Overload

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refers to training becoming gradually harder the fitter or stronger you become
as the body adapts, the training becomes harder and this increases the capacity of the
body to perform
- most commonly in strength-training however can be applied to cardio
- this technique encourages constant improvement and is great for those in early stages
of training program
- if gains are to be made, weights must be progressively heavier, running longer, training
sessions harder
- if there is too little overload, training effects will begin to plateau
- principle of specificity states the type of exercise being used in training should be
specific to:
o skill requirements
o energy systems required in the task
o muscle groups required in the task
o components of fitness involved in the task
- e.g. positional responsibilities and requirements for a halfback and front rower in Rugby
different = their respective training programs should be different
- a front rower must be strong and powerful while the halfback will require greater
speed, agility and cardiovascular training
- effects of training are reversible, that is if a person stops exercising (or not often or had
enough) training effects will be quickly lost and performance will decline
- it is important to have a maintenance program to maintain training levels and halt or
reduce the level of fitness lost
- training can often become repetitive and boring, especially for endurance sports that
involve only a few technical skills e.g. swimming
- astute coaches and athletes will vary training session to minimise boredom
- unlike overload, variety is not necessary to improve performance
- variety does make training more interesting and fun WHILST achieving training goals
- yoga is a popular form of variety in training, it also benefits breathing, flexibility, core
strength and relaxation

Training thresholds
- refers to specific
points of
which when
passed, take the
athlete to another
- heart rate is one
of the accurate
indicators of
intensity and it is
intensity that
determines the
threshold at
which someone is

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an athlete can perform in the aerobic zone for considerably longer than they can in the
anaerobic zone
as by product of training on or above anaerobic threshold, the body will produce lactic
acid = fatigue and minimise duration of training at that level of intensity
the more an athlete can train above anaerobic threshold, the more tolerant they will
become of the lactic acid, and longer they can maintain sustained effort

Warming up and cool down
- warm up should precede any form of training or competition
- good warm up increases range of movement around joints, elevates heart rate,
rehearses skills, and improves focus and concentration
o by doing this the athlete is physically and psychologically prepared
o involves aerobic activity, specific flexibility exercises, skill rehearsal
- cool-down immediately follows the main body of exercise
- particularly important if an athlete must quickly return to training or have a
competition shortly afterwards
- while exercising the body created by-products like blood lactate and sustains small
tears in the muscle
o engaging in active recovery or cool-down, the fresh, oxygen-rich blood can
circulate more easily helping flush-out by-products and repair small tears
- cool down should involve light aerobic movement and some gentle static stretching
Physiological adaptations in response to training: resting heart rate, stroke volume and
cardiac output, oxygen uptake and lung capacity, haemoglobin level, muscle
hypertrophy, effect on fast/slow twitch muscle fibres

Resting heart rate (RHR)
- commonly used as an indicator of general physical fitness
- lower RHR indicates a strong heart, capable of pumping a greater amount of blood in
fewer beats
- regular aerobic and anaerobic training designed to stress the cardiovascular system will
lead to decrease RHR
- training increase the efficiency of the cardio-respiratory system = decrease RHR

Stroke volume and cardiac output
- endurance training involves exercising for a sustained period with an elevated heart

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over time, this training makes the heart increase in size & contractibility and increases
the capacity of left ventricle which allows the heart to pump more blood per beat =
increase in stroke volume (volume per beat)
- cardiac output is the volume of blood pumped by the heart per minute
o heart rate (HR) x stroke volume (SV) = cadiac output (CO)
Oxygen uptake and lung capacity
- actual lung capacity may increase however this is more likely to occur in elite
endurance athletes
- with training, lungs develop capacity to draw in more air and increase ventilation rate
w/o getting larger
- the lungs begin to breathe more deeply and forcefully instead of more often
- oxygen uptake (VO2) refers to the amount of oxygen that is consumed and utilised by
the cells when producing aerobic energy
- continued training will increase oxygen uptake, as training increases the athletes ability
of the cells to use the oxygen efficiently
Haemoglobin level
- oxygen is removed from cells during training
- as a result, the body produces more red blood cells and haemoglobin to allow more
oxygen to be transported to cells
- this increased oxygen-carrying capacity will enable the athlete to maintain a higher
average pace and power output
- haemoglobin levels can be increased by over 20% as a response to training
- sport scientists have spent considerable money, time and effort to discover ways of
naturally and unnaturally increasing RBC count
o illegally through artificial EPO, which is derived from a hormone that stimulate
RBC production
o blood doping, from a donor or the athlete, to temporarily increase RBC
o training in a hypoxic environment, where oxygen concentration is low >
stimulates the body tin increase RBC to account for lower levels of oxygen in the
Muscle hypertrophy
- hypertrophy is an increase in the size of a muscle results from an increase in the size of
individual muscle fibres
- resistance training programs stimulate the muscles, which makes them increase in size
- it can take as long as 2 months for actual hypertrophy to occur

Effect on fast/slow twitch muscle fibres
- slow twitch fibres (Type I) are primarily responsible for posture and skeletal support
- slow twitch fibres are more involved in endurance activities as they are able to generate
tension for a longer period of time
o resistance and aerobic training lead to hypertrophy of slow twitch fibres
o marathon runners tend to have 80% slow twitch fibres
- fast twitch fibres (Type IIa & IIb) are found in muscles that require greater amounts of
force for a shorter period of time
- Type IIa fibres rely on aerobic and anaerobic energy for contraction
o Resistance training lead to hypertrophy of these fibres
o Lack of exercise lead to type IIa becoming b
- Type IIb rely solely on anaerobic energy, generate the greatest amount of force but for
the shortest period of time
o Resistance and endurance training exercise leads to type IIb becoming a

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How does the acquisition of skill affect performance?

Stages of skill acquisition: cognitive, associative, and autonomous

- initial stage of learning a new skill
- characterised by the need to understand the skill and how it can be applied to the sport
- demonstrations and instructions are vital to this stage
- stimulus given must be balanced so as not to cause confusion & anxiety
- complexity of skill will determine how many steps the teaching and practice is broken
into + how long it will take to move on to next stage
- use drills as a way of breaking the skill into smaller parts
o once these drills are mastered, the athlete works on linking the entire skill
- errors are usually large and frequent
- constant positive reinforcement and feedback is necessary
- visualisation or mental rehearsal is a sound coaching strategy
- characterised by less tuition from the coach & more practice from the athlete
- less drills are used, more focus on executing the whole skill
- errors still occur, but are less frequent
- feedback from coach is still important, but through greater understanding the athlete
begins to provide some of their own feedback
- accuracy and consistency are increased during this stage
- increased confidence and ability, athlete can move on to autonomous stage
- some athlete remain at associated stage and never excel to the stage where the skill can
be performed automatically
- characterised by automatic performance of the skill
- no consideration and planning required & performed accurately consistently when
- skill is executed efficiently, effectively in a way that is visually attractive
- flow = physical and physiological harmony
- athlete can direct attention towards other factors such as strategies and tactics
- errors are occasional, generally corrected quickly without external feedback
- feedback is predominately intrinsic

Characteristics of the learner, e.g. personality, heredity, confidence, prior experience,


- represents the common characteristics that shape an individual pattern of behaviour
- the personality traits of an athlete will determine the rate at which they acquire new
skills and how well they can apply them
- e.g. athletes who are enthusiastic, reliable and determined will be more likely to apply
themselves to training and preparation than those who are lazy unmotivated
- at elite levels, coaches target athletes for their positive attitude as well as their raw

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- psychological characteristics, physical attributes and biology that are passed on from
athletes parents
- characteristics such as height, body shape, limb length, personality, intellect, games
sense etc. are directly impacted upon by ones genetics
- simply being born with natural sporting talent sporting success
o athlete still needs to develop skills and work hard
- confidence develops through prior success and represents the belief that a person will
- an athlete who believes they can achieve something difficult is far more likely to
succeed than the athlete with self-doubt
- it takes self-confidence even when things like learning a new skill are difficult and seem
Prior experience
- involves a transfer of learning
- an athlete who has already sampled something similar will have physical skills that may
be transferable and confidence they can use to accelerate their learning curve
- e.g. many Olympic divers have been gymnasts for many years
o gymnasts already possess high level skill in flips, tumbles, turns + movements for
success in diving
- ability represents the athletes performance
- an athlete with high levels of ability (often inherited) can consistently acquire new skills
- an athlete who does not possess the natural ability will need to work harder and
demonstrate greater determination if they wish to succeed

The learning environment: nature of the skill, performance elements, practice method,


Nature of the skill
Open and closed skills
- closed skills: executed in a controlled and stable environment/same every time the skill
is performed
o useful when learning allows the athlete to concentrate on the skill but as the
athlete becomes proficient, coach will introduce elements to make it open
- open skill: performed in a dynamic environment & performed accurately in spite of the
environmental influences
- defining skill as opened or closed is hard as most lie on a continuum

Gross and fine motor skills
- gross motor skills are those that require large muscle groups to execute them e.g. jump,
- fine motor skills require only small muscles to execute the skill e.g. darts

Discrete, serial and continuous
- skills can be classified on the process or steps it takes to complete them
- discrete: has a clear start and ending point e.g. catching a ball in basketball

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serial skill: links several discrete skill e.g. layout in basketball, involves dribbling,
jumping and then shooting all 1 skill
continuous: repetitive and ongoinge e.g. dribbling

Self paced and externally paced skills
- self paced are those in which the athletes controls the timing e.g. serve in tennis
- externally paced skill controlled by factors outside the athletes control e.g. returning
the serve
- e.g. bowler in cricket is self paced whilst batsman is externally paced

The performance elements
- in addition to building the skill, the coach must develop performance elements like
decision making, and strategic and tactical awareness
- these skills should be developed through competitive games
- decision-making comes with experience
o coach can present athlete with theoretical and practical situations to develop
decision making
o time after training and competition to debrief and discuss decisions can ensure
continuous improvement
- an athlete who can manipulate a game to their advantage is said to have strategic and
tactical awareness
o e.g. in soccer, coaches and players implement formations targeted at focusing on
their strengths and exposing oppositions weakness

Practice methods
- when a session is all blocked together and there is no break
- ideal if the athlete is highly motivated
- suitable for discrete and simple skills
- beneficial for beginners, as they can consolidate their learning
- session is broken into smaller parts or interspersed with breaks
- good way to learn complex skill as the athlete can remain free from fatigue + apply
- suitable for continuous complex skills

- skill is practiced in its entirety
- allows athlete to get a sense of the skill as a whole while also developing kinaesthetic
- involves breaking skill down into its components and rehearsing each component
before application
- suitable for complex skills

- internal feedback is received from signals within the body, sometimes referred to as
proprioceptive signals
- e.g. AFL player knows when their foot hits the ball whether execution was successful
- external feedback comes from source outside the body

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o crowd, coaches, parents, scoreboard, stopwatch etc.

- concurrent feedback occurs simultaneously with the skill being performed
- delayed feedback occurs after the event, e.g. golf
Knowledge of Results/Performance
- results and performance represent one variety of feedback
- knowing the score/results help to provide feedback
- knowledge of performance, for e.g. how many shots missed by goal shooter in netball
can provide feedback to indicate weaknesses/strengths

Assessment of skill and performance: characteristics of skilled performers, objective and
subjective performance measures, validity and reliability of tests, personal v prescribed
judging criteria

Characteristics of skilled performers
Kinaesthetic sense
- skilled athletes have an ability to utilise the sensory information gained from within
their body concerning body position and limb awareness
- e.g. Kelly Slater would make small adjustments to his movements to present a
technically smooth performance
- ability to predict and outcome or act accordingly
- skilled performer with anticipation is able to stay ahead of the game
- e.g. field hockey, athlete with good anticipation is able to predict the direction of a pass
- ability to do something repeatedly and achieve the same result
- skilled performer is able to consistently perform at a high level
- e.g. best basketballers able to consistently make their shots
- with well developed technique comes efficient movement, less chance of injury, greater
kinaesthetic sense + greater chance of executing skill successfully
Objective and subjective performance measures
- objective measurement uses a concrete measuring tool like a tape measure
- e.g. when a long jumper lands in the sand, the judge measures the distance of the jump
with tape measure
- subjective measurement is based on opinion
- e.g. gymnast judges must be experienced, impartial and able to apply judging criteria
Validity and reliability of tests
- validity is the degree to which a test measures what it is designed to measure
- e.g. a sprint test does not measure aerobic endurance
- reliability is the ability of the test, and the test results, to be repeated
- e.g. a beep test conducted on different surfaces
Personal versus prescribed judging criteria
- personal criterion is judgement based on opinions, feelings and emotions about the
- e.g. coaches uses instinct and personal judgement when choosing a team
- prescribed criterion helps validate judges opinion and improve objecitivity
- e.g. gymnastic and diving judges
- administrative body will develop a set of criteria to identify specific elements the
performance must include to achieve a specific score

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How can psychology affect performance?

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Motivation: positive and negative, intrinsic and extrinsic

Positive and Negative
- positive motivation is the recognition, praise and reward of goof performances
- athlete is motivated to reproduce this performance to receive the rewards
- e.g. financial rewards, desire to win or win gold, desire to achieve personal best
- negative motivation acts as a deterrent and causes the athlete to avoid this behaviour
- e.g. being dropped from a team or dropping a rank, losing and suffering the perceived
Intrinsic and Extrinsic
- intrinsic motivation is derived from within the individual
- internally (or intrinsically) motivated athlete is almost self-propelled towards success
and hard work
- have personal goals, expectations and fears that drive their efforts and commitment.
- motivating factors are intensely personal, and are often driven by an athletes high level
of competitiveness and desire to succeed and win
- extrinsic goals can be either positive or negative in nature. It is advised that athletes
should focus more on extrinsic goals from a reliable and controlled source, such as a
- while playing for the adoration of a crowd can be a powerful influence to play hard,
negative feelings of embarrassment may follow if the support stops or turns negative.
- E.g. Kyrgios at Wimbledon 2015 booed by spectators for tanking
- This can lead to other psychological barriers to successful sporting performance, such
as increased anxiety

Anxiety and arousal: trait and state anxiety, sources of stress, optimum arousal

Trait and state anxiety
- trait anxiety is the athletes general disposition to perceive a situation as threatening or
- those who display high levels of trait anxiety usually perceive more situations as
threatening than those who have low levels of anxiety
- state anxiety refers to feelings of anxiety related to a specific game or evetn
- state anxiety might be controlled by managing the athletes situation whereas trait
anxiety must be controlled by the athlete
- e.g. athlete experiencing uncontrollable shaking in archery, utilising fine motor skills,
affect performance as there is only a small degree of allowable error
Source of Stress
- positive stress = eustress
- negative stress = distress

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Optimum arousal
- All sports require athletes to be in a certain mental state and condition prior to
- This differs between sports, and athletes also present with individual differences in
their mental state during the final moments prior to competing
- Research has found that different tasks require different levels of arousal for optimal
- For example, difficult or intellectually challenging demanding tasks may require a low
level of arousal (to facilitate concentration), whereas tasks demanding stamina or
persistence may be performed better with higher levels of arousal (to increase
- The inverted U hypothesis illustrates the relationship between arousal and optimal
performance, suggesting as physiological factors emerge
- e.g. increasing heart rate and muscle tension, performance increases towards an
optimal level. But if arousal rises after the peak, performance declines.

Psychological strategies to enhance motivation and manage anxiety

Concentration/attention skills (focusing)
- Concentration is the ability to focus thoughts and energy into the task at hand
- Generally, athletes have to be able to achieve 3 things when maintaining their focus
o Recognise distraction
o Listen to appropriate cues only
o Block out distractions
- Improve concentration by:
o Combat thoughts of doubt, fear and anxiety
o Staying positive and confident
o Focusing on relevant cues
- unique situation where an athlete enters a state of total immersion and focus on the
play around them
- e.g. evident in soccer, when a team makes a number of quick and successive passes
through opponents to score
Mental Rehearsal
- process whereby an athlete thinks through the skills they are about to perform
- mental rehearsal involves seeing, hearing, feeling and experiencing the skill as though it
were real
- e.g. a diver mentally rehearses their next dive by shutting their eyes, moving their body
limbs to hit position
- involves mentally rehearsing one aspect of the performance
- e.g. diver visualising themselves leaving the board in a certain way

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- visualisation can be used in learning new kills e.g. surfing at a cognitive level
Relaxation techniques
- Aims to control body's response to stress and assists in controlling arousal.
- Slow, deep breath help overcome stress before a performance
- Stretching helps reduce muscle tightness due to adrenalin secretion
- Applying a cool towel compensates for increased body temperature/sweating due to
anxiety and stress
Goal Setting
- provides motivation, commitment and direction
- goals need to be constantly reviewed and short term goals need to be re-established to
mark direction towards long term goal

How can nutrition and recovery strategies affect performance?

Nutritional considerations: pre-performance (incl. carbohydrate loading), during

performance & post-performance

Training diet
- aim of the training diet is to achieve nutritional adequacy and provide appropriate
amount of energy to support training and body composition goals
- carbohydrates are a key fuel source for exercise
- body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in the muscles and liver HOWEVER storage is
- if athletes do not consistently provide adequate energy and carbohydrates in their
training diet, this can lead to fatigue, inability to improve in training, poor concentration
reduced immune system function and increased susceptibility to injury
- amount of carbs needed depends on frequency, intensity and duration of training
Pre-event meal
- aim of pre-event meal is to ensure glycogen stores are topped up and athlete is wellhydrated
- should be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fibre & fats (take
longer to digest and can lead to stomach discomfort during exercise/performance)
- 3-4 hours before exercise: pasta/rice with low-fat sauce
- 1-2 hours before exercise: liquid meal supplement, cereal bars, fruit
- glycogen stores in liver are released overnight to provide glucose for the brain
o athletes with early morning events need to be aware of this & develop a
nutritional plan that involves getting up early to have an adequate breakfast or
planning a high-carbohydrate snack 1-2 hours before event
o allows to make for the glycogen losses that occur in an overnight fast
- hydration must commence many hours before the event commences
- fluids should be sipped regularly between pre-event mean and starting time
- important that athletes keep a drink bottle with them to prompt them to keep hydrated
as many athletes forget due to nerves, organizing equipment etc.
Carbohydrate loading
- Aims to maximize muscle glycogen stores prior to a competitive event
- Involves changes to training and nutrition that can maximize muscle glycogen stores
prior to endurance competition
- Events >90mins (marathons, triathlons, long distance swimming etc.) effective carb
loading can improve performance by 2-3 per cent

Mariam El-Masry

Preferred method: tapered training for 72 hours prior to the event and in this time
eating a high carbohydrate diet (9-10g/kg of body mass)
During Performance
- most important nutritional factor during competition is fluid intake
- as a guideline: athletes should aim to drink 150-250ml every 15 minutes
- In events less than 30 minutes:
o Hydrate well before the event
o Fluid taken during the event will not benefit performance but will alleviate a dry
mouth and improve perceived exertion
- In events 30-60 minutes duration
o Begin event well hydrated
o Supplementary source of carb has been shown to improve performance in events
as short as 60 mins: recommended 30-60g/hr (sports drinks contain 60-80g/L)


In endurance sports
o Begin the event well hydrated
o Replace fluid regularly
o Consume 30-60g of carbs per hour of exercise
o Avoid carbs that delay stomach emptying or cause gastrointestinal problems (e.g.
high in fat or fibre). Good sources of carbs are jam sandwiches, bananas, sports
drinks etc.
- Fluid requirements vary significantly between athletes and between exercise situations:
o Genetics some people sweat more than others
o Body size larger athletes tend to sweat more than smaller athletes
o Fitness fitter people sweat earlier in exercise and in larger volumes
o Environment sweat losses are higher in hot, humid environment
o Exercise intensity sweat loss increases with exercise intensity
- Negative effects on performance occur at just 2% dehydration
- Effects of mild dehydration:
o Reduced mental function leading to poor concentration
o Poor aerobic performance
o Impaired heat regulation
- aim of recovery meal/snack is to provide carbohydrates to refuel, protein to repair
muscle tissues and fluids for dehydration
- consume foods with 1-1.2g carb/kg of body weight within the first hour of finishing as
glycogen synthesis rates are greatest
- high glycaemic index foods should be eaten = shown to refuel muscle and liver stores
more quickly
- a small amount of protein is also important for muscle recovery: aim for approx. 15g of
protein following high-intensity exercise & 300mg protein/kg of body weight for
strength or power-based training
- e.g. of low-fibre recovery meals that provide carbohydrate and protein include
o milkshakes/smoothies
o liquid meal supplements
o yoghurt + fruit salad

Supplementation: vitamins/minerals, protein, caffeine and creatine products