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Applications of the Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning Model for the Multimodal Treatment of Precompetitive Anxiety

James J. Annesi

Effects of a precompetitive anxiety regulation system, based upon tenets of the individual zones of optimal functioning (IZOF) model, multidimensional anxiety theory, and the specific-effects hypothesis, were tested. In Phase I, case studies (3 elite adolescent tennis players) were used to analyze the IZOF model within a multidimensional state anxiety framework. In Phase II, the effectiveness of a precompetitive anxiety regulation system, based upon IZOF and the specific-effects hypothesis, was tested for enhancing match performance. Essential elements of IZOF theory were supported. In Phase II, inzone/out-of-zone A-state assessment was used to guide athletes’ treatment selections. After training athletes in prematch psychological skills designed to regulate specific cognitive state anxiety, somatic state anxiety, and state selfconfidence dimensions, posttreatment performances yielded higher values (ps < .05) than pretreatment. The need to replicate findings through different sample types, sports, and expertise levels was emphasized. Concerns with intrusion into athletes’ precompetitive routines were discussed.

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

Vikki Krane

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.

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Three-Dimensional State Anxiety Recall: Implications for Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning Research and Application

James J. Annesi

The accuracy of athletes in recalling precompetition anxiety was tested using the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2. Young and adolescent female gymnastics and field hockey athletes (N = 34) were tested one hour precompetition and again 48 hours postcompetition (with instructions to recall precompetition feelings). Correlations were significantly different (weaker) than when the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was used within the same time frame (Harger & Raglin, 1994). After establishing individual “zones” around actual state anxiety values, based on individual zone of optimal functioning (IZOF) theory (Hanin, 1980, 1986, 1989), it was determined that the weaker correlations in the present study translated into enough incorrect in-zone/out-of-zone assessments that two-day recall, using the CSAI-2, may not be useful for IZOF research and practice. The necessity to further this research with other samples and sports was emphasized. The possibility of using alternate methods was discussed in an effort to provide accurate, minimally intrusive state anxiety measurement which may, ultimately, guide practitioners in effective intervention design through the use of IZOF, multidimensional anxiety theory, and the specific-effects (matching) hypothesis.