Anxiety plays a major role when it comes to sports performance, not only mentally, but physically as well.
The study aimed to examine the effect of a soccer tournament on baseline anxiety [Spielberger State-trait anxiety inventory questionnaire (STAI), mood [Incredible Short POMS questionnaire (ISP)] and cortisol (saliva sampling) states.
Eight sportswomen’s (age: 23.1 ± 3.2 y, playing experience: 10.6 ± 5.6 y) data were collected an hour after waking, two weeks prior to, and each morning during, a five-day tournament.
Overall, a small relationship was seen between true cortisol values and presence of state-anxiety (r = 0.3, P = < 0.05). On mornings prior to a match lost, a significant relationship was seen between cortisol and the current- (r = 0.7, P = 0.005) and total trait-anxiety scores (r = 0.7, P = 0.008). Following multiple regression analysis, the TAI questionnaire was demonstrated to be adequate to predict possible cortisol surges (r2 = 0.3, P = 0.04). Measuring the innate anxiety characteristic can be a positive measure to anticipate both psychological (presence of anxiety, r2 = 0.88, P = 0.001) and physiological (cortisol surges, r2 = 0.4, P = 0.008) stress.
Therefore, an anxiety questionnaire might provide sensitive information regarding the unconscious physiological and psychological stress plausibly altering performance. It is recommended that a player’s state of anxiety (innate and current) be measured prior to a competition to adopt a strategy to overcome its negative consequences.
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