A Practical Application of the Anxiety–Athletic Performance Relationship: The Zone of Optimal Functioning Hypothesis

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Bowling Green State University
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Hanin (1980) proposed the zone of optimal functioning hypothesis (ZOF), suggesting that each athlete has a specific band width, or zone, of anxiety in which best performances will most likely be observed. The present study combined the ZOF hypothesis with the multidimensional anxiety theory (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990). Unique cognitive anxiety and somatic anxiety zones were identified, and it was hypothesized that athletes whose anxiety levels fell within these zones would be more successful than athletes whose anxiety levels were outside these zones. Results of separate cognitive and somatic anxiety ANOVAs indicated that poorest performances were observed when athletes’ cognitive and somatic anxiety were above their zones; performances when anxiety was within or below cognitive and somatic anxiety zones did not differ.

Vikki Krane is with the School of HPER at Bowling Green State University, 201 Memorial Hall, Bowling Green, OH 43403.

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