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Athletic Performance

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During the last couple of decades, athletes and coaches from a broad diversity of sports have started to realize the significance of emotional side of athletic performance. More particularly, for individuals who take part in organized sports now acknowledge that in order to attain a peak level of effectiveness in athletic performance, the participants must develop, possess, and utilize several psychological skills. This is also credible in the faculty of field and track as athletes and coaches have gained interest in ensuring that psychological skills are enhanced among the athletes.

Even though emotional training for athletes has been utilized for a couple of years, comprehensive emotional training programs have only become popular within the last decade. These sporting policies are usually known as psychological skills training (PST). The PST programs comprise of inclusive intervention packages that are intended to train and educate athletes in emotional awareness and preparation. Among researchers and practitioners, the subject of emotional intelligence has materialized as a major concept to deserve more attention, and is subject matter to growing concern in sports psychology (Thelwell et al, 2008; Meyer and Zizzi, 2007). Furthermore, the results of meta-analysis depict positive correlation between health-related variables and emotional intelligence (Schutte et al, 2007), and variables in performance. Up to date, research focus on emotional intelligence in sports has received only a few studies though the early research points to encouraging outcomes. Evidence suggests that emotional intelligence (EI) has a significant correlation with sport performance, while other research found out that there is a relationship between EI and perceptions of effective coaching.

In spite of the escalating concern among sport psychologists to study on the effects of emotional intelligence, it is wise to acknowledge and establish that there is validity in use of EI measures in sport. Schutz (1994) indicated that the first stage in the research procedure is to demonstrate that the existing measures are reliable and valid after which different ways of dealing with sporting challenges through emotional intelligence would be hypothesized. To date, no comprehensive studies have analyzed the roles of different ways of coping with operational challenges in sports through emotional intelligence. This paper aims at analyzing and understanding the role of different ways of coping with emotional intelligence in sports.

Among all the factors affecting performance in sports, the ability of athletes to recognize and suppose the right feeling required to perform at their best level seems to be the most important factor. In order to assist the athletes and other sportsmen to get the best performance, a study with regards to emotions during sporting activities would be helpful so as to have the correct conclusions. Despite the level of experience, skill, and strength of an athlete, his/her achievement in face of competition will be greatly affected by the ability to presume the right feeling and reach an opposite level of emotional vigor to enable an individual to perform to the maximum. It is suggested that how one plays is determined by the emotion they are experiencing at that particular moment. Most of team managers, spectators, teams, and sports analysts have greatly and notably commented on the implication of emotional power on sport performance in the course and at the end of competitions. They often comment on display or lack of confidence among players, resilience or depression, aggressiveness or timidity, frustration or determination, anger or enthusiasm, and other emotionality forms while attributing to responsibility for success or letdown of their performances.

The ultimate significance is that preparation of athletes for triumphant performance in major competitions is determined by not only training them for optimum mental and physical qualities as potency, flexibility, speed and skills, but also and perhaps more significantly, on being trained to develop efficient emotional vigor which will enable them to successfully deliver all the trainings acquired. To achieve this kind of training, the trainers themselves need to be conversant with the process, implications and consequences of any emotional knowledge. Emotional literacy also called emotional training involves individual development in the four dimensions of emotional abilities as categorized by Mayer and Salovey, (1990). These dimensions include capability to reason using emotions, development of the perception, the capability to appreciate emotion and the aptitude to control emotion. The mastery of these four main aspects of emotional knowledge is known as emotional intelligence. Salovey and Mayer, (2000) depicted emotional intelligence as the detachment of social intelligence that comprises the capability to examine personal and corporate emotions and feelings, to distinguish between them and to utilize this information to direct one’s actions and thinking. They insisted further that emotional intelligence entails the capacity to reason with and about emotions, and the ability of emotion to improve thought.

Emotional intelligence is depicted by Hein (2005) as having knowledge to distinguish healthy from unhealthy emotions and how to convert negative emotions into optimistic ones. Goleman, (1998) emphasizes that is means controlling feelings so that they are articulated properly and efficiently, making it possible for people to cooperate harmoniously towards a common objectives. He displays that human capabilities can be evaluated more effectively through emotional intelligence which can be enhanced through training and practice programs. 

Most sportspersons base their success on strength and prowess in the respective fields they specialize in. However, this should not be the case as current studies show that emotionally stable and intelligent individuals pose better results than those unfamiliar with the concept. Lack of this intelligence limits a sportsman’s ability to fly higher and achieve better results. They function out of instincts rather than intelligence which may result into injury or poor results. If poor performance or severe injuries occur to an individual in the sporting fields, then dire consequences to him/her, the team, management and their family are expected to occur. The community may lose trust in them and eventually they might end up being rejected in the society losing self esteem and in worst cases, sanity. Therefore, there is a need to carry out educational trainings in sports to avoid such occurrences.

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