Different sports will require different optimal arousal to reach inspiring sports performances. In a game of American Football, rugby and weight lifting as you can imagine, the higher the arousal level, the greater will be strength, aggressiveness and power generated. In this type of sports, it is about overpowering your opponents for peak performance in sport. In other finer sports like archery, shooting and gymnastics, high anxiety levels may impede peak performance in sports rather than promote. Under such conditions, it is necessary to reduce our arousal levels to appropriate levels for sporting success. Competitions are unique situations that raise the excitement of the occasion. So it is necessary in all competition to manage the arousal levels experienced by athletes.
Increasing Arousal Levels
1. Listening to inspirational music
Music is a power tool to raise your levels of arousal and achieve inspiring sports performances. Prior to competition, you can listen to truly inspirational music to increase your arousal to the optimal levels. Listening to sound tracks of Rocky or similar themed music has a tremendous effect of arousal level. Be careful not to overdo it though. Know your arousal limits and maintain it there.
2. Psyching up through self-talk and team talk
Team and self-talks are also power techniques to raise arousal levels and improve inspiring sports performances. Team talks are usually carried out by the coach or captain who must skilled in this to raise the stake for the team before the game. Loud language, purposeful language and aggressive gestures are often associated with a good rousing team talk. But the best ingredient of a good motivational team talk is actually the sharing of a common objective and feeling amongst team mates. This will help everyone feel united and passionately driven for the game. In individual sports, you can either do it yourself through self-talk or more effectively through another person that is closely related to you. The coach or parent often plays this role.
3. Visualization of powerful events
You can also use visualization of powerful events to raise the tempo before your game for inspiring sports performances. For example, if you are a linebacker, you can picture your best ever sack you have done. Repeat the images over and over again so that your mind is flooded with powerful emotions of arousal. Another form of visualization that might help is envisioning the final successful outcome of your game, soaking in the celebratory atmosphere associated with winning.
Decreasing Arousal Levels
1. Breathing control
When there is a need to lower arousal level, breathing control techniques might be helpful to achieve inspiring sports performances. Once you find your heart racing too fast or you start to feel butterfly in your tummy, switch your attention and focus to your breathing. Concentrate on inhaling and exhaling slowly, focusing on each breath at a time. By slowing down a physiological response, your other anxiety responses will also slow down resulting in a calmer person.
2. Visualization of calming events
You can also use visualization of calming events reduce arousal levels and hence achieve inspiring sports performances. When you start to feel too excited prior to a sports task, switch your thinking to a relaxing and calming setting. You might want to picture yourself slow dancing or lying on beach at your favorite resting stop. Closing your eyes temporarily might help as well. It is also a good idea to stockpile a list of your favorite scenes so that you can switch to it once you need it.
Arousal levels will rise and fall deepening on the situation. Most competition will raise arousal level which might become too unhealthy for inspiring sports performances. The good thing is that there are ways to manipulate arousal levels. After all, arousal levels are physiological in nature. Just like an illness, it can be treated, so can arousal levels.