Recently in Managing Energy & Arousal Category

Energy Mangement

As most athletes know, there is nothing like being in "the zone". It is something you cannot explain and time seems to stand still as you are able to do everything you want. Vealey (2005) talks about how it is important to get in this "flow" and to manage it both physically and mentally. "Flow" is defined as the optimal energy zone in the book and how using your energy and focused attention skills can help take on challenges your sport presents. As most people think of being in the zone as being physically primed, it is important to realize how important the mental side of "flow" is. Keeping your head and not letting your emotions get the best of you can be a major factor in achieving optimal performance. Bad mental states include being: worried, angry, nervous, concerned, tired, confused, and sad. These feelings will not only affect your performance but everyone around you, as it is important to be on the same page as a team. Mental feelings of being in the "flow" would include being: calm, focused, relaxed, and confident.
One type of energy often misused is on temper. It is important to not lose your temper and live to play another play. Short tempers can hamper a team's ability to be mentally strong and persevere through challenging times. Athletes should express emotion to empty themselves of distraction, not to create more (Vealey, 2005). It is important for athletes with a short temper to control their emotions and realize that getting angry will do nothing to change an outcome. It is important for coaches to not let their players get into these situations and to teach them how to handle tough situations.
Energy management is not only for players, but coaches have to be able to find a balance for managing their energy just as much. Athletes look up to coaches and learn from how they react in competitive situations with pressure. Coaches need to set the example first so the team can follow. It is also important for coaches to manage their energy because they need to stay effective for the whole season, which can present some tough challenges. Most coaches have families to come home to, which adds another managing to their life as they do not want to bring negative emotions home. Nothing interferes with effective decision-making more than emotion (Vealey, 2005). Being a coach involves many surprises, especially in game time decisions. How the coach responds to these surprises sets the tone for the team and can be the reason for the outcome of a game. Coaches should pay attention to their behavioral and emotional tendencies under stress and pressure to develop mental plans for how they want to think and act during these situations.
Overall, getting in "the zone" is not something that happens often so it is important to manage your energy to create as many opportunities as possible to achieve this optimal performance, for both athletes and coaches.


-Trevor Maring

Works Cited
Vealey, R. (2005). Coaching for the Inner Edge. Morgantown, VW: Fitness Information
Technologies.

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I am currently flying on an airplane on my way home from a track meet at Arizona State University. Going into the race, I had many reasons to lack confidence including not doing workouts for a week due to illness and then had an Achilles strain. I also didn't get to wear my racing shoes due to injury. Naturally, my anxiety levels were high, but with the help of this class, I was able to use P³ thinking (productive, positive, and possibility thinking) (Vealey, 2005). I also attempted to pay attention to my emotions and how "energized" I was feeling and attempted to acknowledge that the negative and uncomfortable feelings could help me. I realized that I need to be more systematic and intentional about the emotional aspects that go into preparing for a race. I was so excited to share with my teammates the need to be aware of both the positive and negative feelings that occur during pre competition mode, and how they can either hinder or help performance. I did share with some teammates and realized that there is so much behind controlling energy arousal levels and responding to pressure other than simply listing positive and negative emotions. Being intentional about controlling arousal levels is connected to P³ thinking, goal setting, imagery, and self image.

The first step to monitoring arousal levels before and during competition is acknowledging that you can't just "hope" that your emotional levels will be perfect and will result in optimal performance. You can't just "react" to your emotions or the situation, but you must be purposeful and systematic. Athletes can practice responding to a variety of emotions during practice and can use imagery to prepare for any situation, so that their responses become automatic and dominant. Vealey states that under high intensity and pressure the dominant response occurs. The goal is to help athletes develop and be able to maintain emotional composure so that it is the dominant and consequently automatic response when they are in a pressure situation. This ultimately will put them in a situation that is likely to result in a "flow."

Pressure "occurs when an attractive and highly valued incentive creates an urgent and compelling force on an athlete to succeed" (Vealey, p.287, 2005). When an athlete feels like they may not live up to their own or other's expectations, pressure increases. It is exciting to note that pressure does not necessarily hurt performance, but it is how an athlete responds to it. I believe, however, that it is first important that athletes manage pressure. Coaches can help athletes to effectively set goals in order to manage pressure. If athletes have effective goal mapping skills they will set a variety of goals that are not exclusively focused on performance, which can decrease pressure. Some goals will monitor progress and process which will perhaps help achieve their milestone goals. Athletes can focus on specific performance and process goals that help them to focus on the task of competition rather than outside pressure.

Having specific process and performance goals can help athletes focus on aspects of sport that they can control, which Dr. LaVoi recommends to maintain a mastery motivational climate. Athletes can and should use P³ thinking while setting and focusing on their goals. P³ thinking can help athletes to manage pressure. Thinking should be purposeful, productive, and possible. Athletes can ask themselves three questions that Vealey suggests: "What is my job?, How do I do it?, Can I do it?, and Will I do it?" In this way athletes stay focused on the things that they can control.

Although you want to reduce the feeling of pressure, it is an inevitable part of competition and actually a potentially beneficial aspect of competition. Coaches can share with athletes that pressure is something that can be embraced. Although it may not be comfortable, it can be beneficial. This can be related to the need for negative emotions that benefit performance (Vealey, 2005). Coaches can ask athletes why they compete. Such an open ended can remind athletes that they love to compete and play their sport; that is if they feel like they are free to be competing. Anderson and Aberman remind coaches that athletes need to feel free to quit before they can really be intrinsically motivated. If an athlete feels like they are free to quit, they will also feel free to compete and identify what they love about their sport. Christina Koznik is a perfect example of this; she was feeling too much pressure after skiing competitively for many years, and finally after she focused on why she loved her sport and did not allow her sport to define her, she was able to embrace the challenge of competing (Anderson, p. 161, 2006). Coaches can remind athletes that the feeling of pressure has the ability to refine them like a diamond, and that moments of the intense pressure in competition are the moments that we relish and cling to in the end (Vealey, 2005). Finally, as emphasized earlier in the year, athletes must not base their entire identity on their performance. If how they perform completely defines them, pressure will increase dramatically, and it may have a paralyzing effect, and the athlete will not intrinsically enjoy competition.

Coaches can remind and teach athletes how to respond to pressure and how to monitor arousal levels, but a coach is responsible for monitoring his or her own optimal energy levels in competition. As intensity/energy increases, focus narrows. Thus, coaches do not want to have too narrow of a focus, or they will not be able to do their job well (Vealey, 2005). The way a coach reacts really affects how a team responds to intense situations. For example, when Coach Anderson was blaming umpires and yelling, one of his players told him that his behavior was having a negative effect on his team (Anderson et al, p.174, 2006). It is, therefore, essential that a coach monitors and prepares with effective goal mapping, imagery, and P³ thinking to prepare for optimal emotional/energy arousal. As a current athlete, I will attempt to develop these mental skills, and will transfer them to coaching, so that I can be a consistent model for my athletes.


Works Cited
Anderson & Aberman (A & A) (2006). Why Good Coaches Quit.
Vealey, R. (2005). Coaching for the Inner Edge. Morgantown, VW: Fitness Information
Technologies.

Elizabeth Yetzer

Managing Energy

I am currently flying on an airplane on my way home from a track meet at Arizona State University. Going into the race, I had many reasons to lack confidence including not doing workouts for a week due to illness and then had an Achilles strain. I also didn't get to wear my racing shoes due to injury. Naturally, my anxiety levels were high, but with the help of this class, I was able to use P³ thinking (productive, positive, and possibility thinking) (Vealey, 2005). I also attempted to pay attention to my emotions and how "energized" I was feeling and attempted to acknowledge that the negative and uncomfortable feelings could help me. I realized that I need to be more systematic and intentional about the emotional aspects that go into preparing for a race. I was so excited to share with my teammates the need to be aware of both the positive and negative feelings that occur during pre competition mode, and how they can either hinder or help performance. I did share with some teammates and realized that there is so much behind controlling energy arousal levels and responding to pressure other than simply listing positive and negative emotions. Being intentional about controlling arousal levels is connected to P³ thinking, goal setting, imagery, and self image.

The first step to monitoring arousal levels before and during competition is acknowledging that you can't just "hope" that your emotional levels will be perfect and will result in optimal performance. You can't just "react" to your emotions or the situation, but you must be purposeful and systematic. Athletes can practice responding to a variety of emotions during practice and can use imagery to prepare for any situation, so that their responses become automatic and dominant. Vealey states that under high intensity and pressure the dominant response occurs. The goal is to help athletes develop and be able to maintain emotional composure so that it is the dominant and consequently automatic response when they are in a pressure situation. This ultimately will put them in a situation that is likely to result in a "flow."

Pressure "occurs when an attractive and highly valued incentive creates an urgent and compelling force on an athlete to succeed" (Vealey, p.287, 2005). When an athlete feels like they may not live up to their own or other's expectations, pressure increases. It is exciting to note that pressure does not necessarily hurt performance, but it is how an athlete responds to it. I believe, however, that it is first important that athletes manage pressure. Coaches can help athletes to effectively set goals in order to manage pressure. If athletes have effective goal mapping skills they will set a variety of goals that are not exclusively focused on performance, which can decrease pressure. Some goals will monitor progress and process which will perhaps help achieve their milestone goals. Athletes can focus on specific performance and process goals that help them to focus on the task of competition rather than outside pressure.

Having specific process and performance goals can help athletes focus on aspects of sport that they can control, which Dr. LaVoi recommends to maintain a mastery motivational climate. Athletes can and should use P³ thinking while setting and focusing on their goals. P³ thinking can help athletes to manage pressure. Thinking should be purposeful, productive, and possible. Athletes can ask themselves three questions that Vealey suggests: "What is my job?, How do I do it?, Can I do it?, and Will I do it?" In this way athletes stay focused on the things that they can control.

Although you want to reduce the feeling of pressure, it is an inevitable part of competition and actually a potentially beneficial aspect of competition. Coaches can share with athletes that pressure is something that can be embraced. Although it may not be comfortable, it can be beneficial. This can be related to the need for negative emotions that benefit performance (Vealey, 2005). Coaches can ask athletes why they compete. Such an open ended can remind athletes that they love to compete and play their sport; that is if they feel like they are free to be competing. Anderson and Aberman remind coaches that athletes need to feel free to quit before they can really be intrinsically motivated. If an athlete feels like they are free to quit, they will also feel free to compete and identify what they love about their sport. Christina Koznik is a perfect example of this; she was feeling too much pressure after skiing competitively for many years, and finally after she focused on why she loved her sport and did not allow her sport to define her, she was able to embrace the challenge of competing (Anderson, p. 161, 2006). Coaches can remind athletes that the feeling of pressure has the ability to refine them like a diamond, and that moments of the intense pressure in competition are the moments that we relish and cling to in the end (Vealey, 2005). Finally, as emphasized earlier in the year, athletes must not base their entire identity on their performance. If how they perform completely defines them, pressure will increase dramatically, and it may have a paralyzing effect, and the athlete will not intrinsically enjoy competition.

Coaches can remind and teach athletes how to respond to pressure and how to monitor arousal levels, but a coach is responsible for monitoring his or her own optimal energy levels in competition. As intensity/energy increases, focus narrows. Thus, coaches do not want to have too narrow of a focus, or they will not be able to do their job well (Vealey, 2005). The way a coach reacts really affects how a team responds to intense situations. For example, when Coach Anderson was blaming umpires and yelling, one of his players told him that his behavior was having a negative effect on his team (Anderson et al, p.174, 2006). It is, therefore, essential that a coach monitors and prepares with effective goal mapping, imagery, and P³ thinking to prepare for optimal emotional/energy arousal. As a current athlete, I will attempt to develop these mental skills, and will transfer them to coaching, so that I can be a consistent model for my athletes.


Works Cited
Anderson & Aberman (A & A) (2006). Why Good Coaches Quit.
Vealey, R. (2005). Coaching for the Inner Edge. Morgantown, VW: Fitness Information
Technologies.

Elizabeth Yetzer

Managing competitive energy

There are many forms of energy that an athlete may experience before and during a competition. This energy refers to physical and mental readiness, or a capacity for vigorous action (Vealey, 2005). Competitive energy is the athletes' mental and physical readiness for competition (Vealey, 2005). Arousal refers to a state of bodily energy or physical and mental readiness (Vealey, 2005). Stress may be simply defined as a demand placed on an athlete. Stress is typically assumed to be a form of negative energy for athletes, but stress actually serves the important purpose of stimulating growth, especially if coaches incrementally build the physical stress tolerance of their athletes. Managing these different energies is the key to athletic performance. Many athletes experience anxiety before and during competitions. This unpleasant high intensity feeling experienced is often a result from a demand or threat (Vealey, 2005). All forms of competitive energy are potentially positive and negative (Vealey, 2005). It is important for each athlete to identify the feelings that positively and negatively influence personal performance (Vealey, 2005). Depending on the athletes ability to harness those energies into either negative or positive outcomes determines their potential for optimal performance.
When we are able to find balance of the athletes' natural resources of energy, and they are at their optimal state, then the experience of "flow" occurs. Flow is an optimal mental state characterized by total absorption in the task, typically referred to by athletes as "in the zone." Flow occurs when athletes experience a balance between their skills and the challenges that they perceive in the situation (Vealey, 2005). There are many characteristics where flow is observed. The athlete is completely absorbed in the drill or game. The athlete is focused, and in control. Athletes need to feel in control of their emotions and actions in order to perform at their best (Anderson & Aberman, 2006). They are free of self-conciousness, and clear in their purpose and goals. Athletes often lose track of time and sometimes auditory senses become dull or oblivious to sounds (Vealey, 2005). Recognizing the state of "flow" and using it as a positive tool is a special gift that most athletes often miss out on. It is up to coaches to provide athletes with these tools to reach their optimum performance.
Coaches have the ability to teach athletes effective emotional responses to negative feelings and provide them with empowering tools and strategies for optimal energy management. Using "P3" thinking can optimize the competitive energy in athletes. When an athlete uses purposeful, productive, and possibility thinking they are thinking positively creating that competitive energy. Coaches incorporating this system may find it useful because your athletes look to you as the primary model for how to manage competitive pressure and the excitement of competition (Vealey, 2005). It is important as a coach to manage your own competitive energy to ensure that you remain effective. By effectively teaching the management of competitive energies it gives the athlete a chance to understand and to use the state of "flow". This awareness can lead to the increase of probability that it may occur (Vealey, 2005). The ability to effectively cope with the energies that occur in competitive situations is a coping skill that is effective on and off the field (Vealey, 2005).


-Nathan Morton

Vealey, R. (2005). Coaching for the inner edge. Morgantown, W.V.: Fitness Information Technology
Anderson, J. & Aberman, R. (2006). Why good coaches quit: How to deal with the other stuff (2nd Ed). Monterey, CA: Coaches Choice

"The Zone"

"The Zone"
When I think of managing energy, I think of focusing my thoughts and energy and getting into what is called "the zone." To me getting in "the zone" seems like a natural thing. Not only in sports, but also when I read or write papers. "Getting in the zone" is not just for athletes, but also for those who don't or are unable to participate in sports. Focusing your attention, thoughts, and feelings into what you are doing can be an every day event.
Vealey discusses how you need to find a balance between challenge and skill and with high levels of performance, "getting in the zone" is much easier and allowed. When there isn't a balance between challenge of skill you may end up with either boredom or anxiety. Anxiety happens when the challenge is greater than the skill. According to Vealey, "anxiety is a high intensity, unpleasant feeling state that results from a demand or threat." Boredom occurs when the skill outweighs the challenge. If you have an athlete who works every day on her ball handling skills then when she is put against a less skilled player that is not as quick as her she will get bored because it doesn't challenge her. On the other side, the less skilled athlete will be experiencing anxiety due to her lack of skills and being threatened by the other player. The challenge for a coach is finding a balance between challenging a skilled or unskilled athlete.
A coach has to let the athletes know that paying attention to one's feeling, positive and negative, can help manage and focus that competitive energy. Using P3 thinking can optimize the competitive energy in athletes. When an athlete uses purposeful, productive, and possibility thinking they are essentially positive thinking which creates that competitive energy. When an athlete is in "the zone," that athlete can still be tossed out of "the zone." For example; trash talking by opponents is a very common one that distracts that athlete's focus and thoughts. Teammates analyzing an athlete's performance and letting that athlete know the statistics that he/she has going can also distract and athlete's focus. Another form of distract is pressure; the more pressure an athlete has placed on them the less likely they are able to get in "the zone" because he/she feels the need to please others instead of themselves. Anderson and Aberman describe a story about a girl names Kristina Koznick who was a skier. She wasn't doing well and then decided that she really need to know what it was like to live and refocused her thoughts to what she knew best and that was having fun. She had so much pressure being placed on her that she forgot to have fun.
Coaches need to remember and remind athletes that sports are fun and that is why they are doing them. Helping athletes focus on a certain drill can help focus their thoughts and eventually they may learn to "get in the zone." Being "locked into autopilot" is also another way to describe "getting in the zone" and can be used to help athletes understand exactly what you as a coach are trying to say. An athlete has to learn how to "get in the zone" and you as a coach can facilitate that with your knowledge of what "the zone" is like.

Molly Augustine
Anderson, J., & Aberman, R, & (2006).Why Good Coaches Quit: How to Deal With the OTHER STUFF.(2nd
Ed.).Monterey, CA: Coaches Choice. Pg. 157-167.
Vealey, R. (2005). Coaching for the Inner Edge. Morgantown, VW: Fitness Information Technologies. Chapter 13.

Energy Management

In order to achieve optimal performance, an athlete must have the physical and mental discipline to undergo intense physical training and produce effective physical and mental responses during competition. As discussed in previous classes, mental skills training provides athletes with strategies to productively respond to the emotional and physical manifestations of competitive pressure and anxiety. According to Vealey (2005), athletes must effectively manage their competitive energy in order to perform at their best. In order to productively manage competitive energy and facilitate optimal performance, athlete must identify their optimal level of competitive arousal and develop the ability to control their emotional responses to the challenges of competition.
From excitement and anxiety to confidence and stress, competition elicits a unique array of emotions from each athlete. The ability of an athlete to recognize these emotional responses and utilize them enhancing individual performance is what Vealey (2005) describes as energy management. "Flow" is the optimal energy zone of an individual that results from an athlete experiencing a balance of challenge and skill, complete absorption in a task, a sense of control and purposeful clarity (Vealey, 2005). Being in a "flow state" allows an athlete to perform without the hindrance self- consciousness and provides a unique sense of self-awareness and confidence in both physical and mental ability.
In order to facilitate the possibility of entering a "flow state", athletes must learn to recognize the feelings that enable their optimal energy level and cope effectively with the feelings and situations that may interfere with this process. The energy demands of each sport are unique, requiring a different level of arousal among athletes in order to reach optimal performance. According Vealey (2005), it is important for each athlete to identify the feelings that positively and negatively influence personal performance. For example, a golfer identify feeling "calm" and "relaxed" as helpful to their performance while feeling "tense" and "jittery" as a hindrance on their ability to concentrate and control the club. The intensity and direction of competitive energy has the ability to enhance or harm athletic performance depending on the athlete's ability to maintain a productive level of arousal during competition. Allowing anxiety and pressure to dictate physical and mental arousal may lead to a loss of focus and worrisome preoccupation with unrelated tasks, increasing the likelihood of "choking" and a potentially unsafe situation for an athlete in a high- contact sport.
Managing the feelings of pressure and anxiety are difficult for many athletes, creating a challenge for coaches. Vealey (2005) explains that coaches have the ability to teach athletes effective emotional responses to negative feelings and provide them with empowering tools and strategies for optimal energy management. First and foremost, coaches should model the positive behavioral and emotional responses to stress and pressure that they expect of their athletes. Next, coaches should encourage athletes to embrace the feelings of pressure and anxiety brought about by competition and use this increased energy and arousal to their performance advantage. Lastly, coaches should teach energy management strategies like goal mapping, cue words and pre performance rituals to encourage greater self-awareness and a sense of situational control among their athletes. Athletes need to feel in control of their emotions and actions in order to perform at their best (Anderson & Aberman, 2006). Therefore, it is the responsibility of the coach to help athletes recognize what they can and cannot control within the competitive setting in order to facilitate greater self-confidence and productive emotional responsiveness. If the athletes feel in control of their energy and have the tools to effectively respond to the challenges of competition, the likelihood of entering a "flow state" and performing optimally will greatly increase.
-Dani Benson

Vealey, R. (2005). Coaching for the inner edge. Morgantown, W.V.: Fitness Information Technology
Anderson, J. & Aberman, R. (2006). Why good coaches quit: How to deal with the other stuff (2nd Ed). Monterey, CA: Coaches Choice