Psychological skills for enhancing performance: arousal regulation strategies

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Abstract

This review summarizes and integrates current empirical and theoretical research on arousal regulation strategies for enhancing athletic performance. The need to view arousal as a multi-faceted construct made up of both cognitive and physiological components was emphasized, as well as the importance of understanding arousal-performance relationship theories that go beyond a simple inverted-U notion. Categories of arousal regulation strategies were discussed and included: arousal energizing techniques, biofeedback techniques, relaxation response strategies, cognitive behavioral interventions, and mental preparation routines. It was concluded that these techniques can be effective in influencing arousal and facilitating performance. However, additional research (especially evaluation research) using more rigorous methods, determining how and why interventions work, using case study methodologies, identifying personality and situational factors influencing arousal regulation effectiveness, and identifying the most effective means of teaching arousal regulation is needed.

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