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Theories of Connection Between Sport Performance and Arousal Levels

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This essay is about comparing sport performance and arousal levels. Arousal levels are how the body prepares for physical activity, the body does this to improve state of alertness and anticipation. There are four theories in this section, driver theory, inverted U theory, catastrophic theory and individual zones of optimal functioning.

Drive theory

The first theory I will be talking about is the drive theory, this is how the arousal levels impact sports performance. This theory says when a sports performer is under aroused their performance levels will be low. However, when the arousal levels go up their performance improves. The drive theory believes that the performer will never be too over aroused, and how the performance levels will keep getting better . Extroverts will benefit from this as they are under aroused and can increase the arousal level as the performance levels increase. However, this theory does not take into consideration for introvert personality trait as they are already aroused therefore might find this theory difficult as they will become overwhelmed and not perform as well. Such as in football when a professional footballer steps on the football pitch their arousal levels will get higher so the athletes sporting performance will improve.

Inverted U theory

The second theory is the inverted U theory this is when the quality of performance also increases. Optimum arousal level is when the athlete is at the peak of their performance. The first part of the inverted U theory is being under aroused which means the performer is less concentrated and distracted, for example a football player will be distracted and will be looking into the crowd and not concentrated on the football match. Section 2 is when an athlete is at the optimum level of arousal this means the performance levels will be at the best and concentration is at their best, for example if a rugby player is at a high aroused level their concentration their level of concentration will also be good. If a sporting performer is over aroused they are more focused on the incorrect thing, such as when a footballer is taken a penalty, they are more worried about if they miss the shot instead of thinking how to score, this is if the arousal level is really high so their performer levels are lower. Inverted U theory takes into consideration the different personality traits. For example an introverted athlete would have a different optimum level of arousal to an extroverted athlete. This is because of the varying level of arousal that is preferred in different sports. It also means that all athletes have the opportunity to reach their optimum level of arousal, and therefore their optimum level of performance, due to the arousal continuum the inverted U portrays.

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Theories of Connection Between Sport Performance and Arousal Levels. (2019, July 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from
“Theories of Connection Between Sport Performance and Arousal Levels.” GradesFixer, 10 Jul. 2019,
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