Sunday, December 17th, 2017

The effects of tension

November 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Mental Side

Much of sports psychology is meant to calm players down during competition so that they are better able to focus on whatever task they need to perform.  Tension and anxiety can reek havoc for any player and should be carefully monitored and manipulated so that players can play to the best of their ability.

Tension takes speed and quickness
right out of the process.

To get an idea on the effects of tension, try this quick experiment.  Sit down at a table and place your dominant arm on the table in front of you so that the arm from the elbow to the finger tips is resting on the table.  The palm should be facing down but not completely flat on the table.  Just relaxed.  Now tense up all the muscles in your forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers at once and while doing so, try to quickly tap your finger tips on the table.  Tough to do, right?


This time completely relax your arm and rapidly tap your fingers on the table.  Much quicker this time?  That’s because there was no tension.  Your muscles used to tap were calm and able to perform at their fastest speed.  Incidentally, those same muscles are important in the process of throwing and hitting.


When the mental side of a player feels fear, anxiety, stress, and/or worry, the physical side often reacts by tensing up parts of the body.  Many times the player is unaware that this is even occurring.  One major goal of learning and training the mental side of the game is for players to better recognize when this is happening, what parts of the body are being effected, and most importantly, what to do about it.  

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