The main objectives of this study were (a) to elucidate young tennis players’ use of music to manipulate emotional states, and (b) to present a model grounded in present data to illustrate this phenomenon and to stimulate further research. Anecdotal evidence suggests that music listening is used regularly by elite athletes as a preperformance strategy, but only limited empirical evidence corroborates such use. Young tennis players (N = 14) were selected purposively for interview and diary data collection. Results indicated that participants consciously selected music to elicit various emotional states; frequently reported consequences of music listening included improved mood, increased arousal, and visual and auditory imagery. The choice of music tracks and the impact of music listening were mediated by a number of factors, including extramusical associations, inspirational lyrics, music properties, and desired emotional state. Implications for the future investigation of preperformance music are discussed.
The authors are with the School of Sport and Education, Brunel University, Uxbridge, England, U.K.