The Effects of Arousal on Sports Performance

Written by miguel cavazos
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The Effects of Arousal on Sports Performance
Arousal can help or hurt athletic performance. (boxe coup-parties image by B-Decencière from Fotolia.com)

Arousal has multiple effects on athletic performance during sports. Arousal enhances blood flow and oxygen in the brain, neural and musculoskeletal systems. Arousal stimulates adrenalin and other stimulant hormone production. Arousal that is excessively high or low hurts athletic performance. Some effects of arousal on sports performance include muscular tension, decision-making speed, concentration and focus, rhythm and coordination.

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Muscular Tension

Arousal increases muscular tension by stimulating blood flow. People with low arousal levels exhibit less tension than people with heightened arousal levels (see Reference 1). Heightened blood flow and muscular tension is necessary for performance during sports and athletic activities. But excessive muscular tension hinders athletic performance because muscle tissue is too stiff to respond appropriately. Stiff muscles may exhibit delayed reactions, early reactions, too much force or too little force. Athletes with muscular tension that is too low exhibit delayed reactions and too little force.

Decision-Making

Arousal affects decision making by stimulated blood flow and oxygen to the brain and neuronal system. People with lower arousal levels exhibit slower decision-making than people with heightened arousal levels. Quick decision-making is necessary for performance during sports and athletic activities for calculating and planning and bodily movements (see Reference 1). Excessively fast decision-making hinders athletic performance because it leads to erratic decisions that do not effectively evaluate situations. Low arousal and decision-making that is excessively slow hinders athletic performance because these athletes do not have the capacity to adequately calculate responses or response speeds.

Concentration

Arousal enhances focus and concentration by stimulating adrenalin and other stimulating hormone secretion in the brain. People with low arousal levels may exhibit low concentration and focus that is similar to someone that has just woken from sleep. People with higher arousal levels exhibit heightened concentration and focus. Concentration and focus is necessary for performance during sports and athletic activities to establish competitive advantage against opponents, perform efficiently or evaluate situations thoroughly (see Reference 1). Excessively heightened concentration and focus hinders athletic performance, because it can lead to hypersensitivity to irrelevant stimuli or blind athletes to other relevant information. Likewise, low concentration and focus hurts athletic performance, because these athletes do not the capacity to perceive and respond to relevant sensory information.

Rhythm and Coordination

Arousal affects rhythm and coordination by stimulated blood flow and oxygen to the brain, neural and musculoskeletal system. People with lower arousal levels exhibit less rhythm and coordination than people with heightened arousal levels. Rhythm and coordination is necessary for performance during sports and athletic activities to complete precise and efficient muscular movements (see Reference 1). Excessive arousal hinders athletic performance because it reduces rhythm and coordination. Low arousal and excessively low rhythm and coordination hinders athletic performance, because these athletes do not have the capacity to perform precise muscular movements.

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