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"I went to Amanda for help with my batting, which was stuck in a rut. Amanda has really helped me in becoming aware of unhelpful thought processes while batting and working on a positive ‘mental routine’. She is enthusiastic and approachable, and her tips and methods have been very effective. I would definitely recommend Amanda."

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Video Links

Amanda discussing Andy Murray winning the US open

Amanda Owens Radio Interview after Andy Murrays US Open Win

Amanda discussing Andy Murrays Semi Final Win

Amanda Owens interview with Duncan Goodhew on Britain becoming a nation of winners


Emotions in Sport

Emotions in sport: The heat is on & can you feel it?

Emotions are an integral part of sport, the theatre, the roller coaster of emotions that an athlete experiences are intense.  With Wimbledon now past and Andy Murray the new reigning Wimbledon Champion and first British Male winner since 1936; the emotions that the players are experiencing can be intense, real, and effervescent. The player that regulates and controls their emotions will ultimately culminate in being the winner in a mental gladiatorial sport, which requires mental as well as emotional mastery.

However, what is emotion?

“An emotion is a reaction to a stimulus event (either actual or imagined). It involves changes in the viserca and musculature of the person, is experienced subjectively in characteristic ways, is expressed through such means as facial changes and action tendencies and may mediate and energise subsequent behaviour.” (Deci, 1980; p85)

Professional and Olympic athletes need to recognise how emotions can assist them in the critical moments in sport. Understanding emotions and elucidating how one reacts under pressure and in perceived stressful situations in a match is an integral and necessary part of self-awareness. Are the emotions helpful? Or unhelpful? Do they assist or dis-able the athlete and assist in a positive way or affect the athlete in a negative way? How ultimately does it affect their performance?

According to Jean Paul Sartre, “Emotions like all mental acts are directed towards an object. It is impossible to discuss an emotion without mentioning both the object and the subject who regards this object as e.g., hateful. The emotion is a specific manner of apprehending the world.”(p.xiii).

When the heat is on… how do you make emotions work for you?

Emotions are key to performance and how do you learn to regulate the emotions so the emotions and resultant behaviours are conducive for winning and playing at your best?

“Emotions dictate an athlete’s behaviour; we need to recognise which emotions are helpful and which emotions are unhelpful for performance.  Moreover, understanding and being aware of your emotional responses, especially under pressure, is key to success.”  (Amanda Jane Napier Owens, 2013).

As human beings we can be irrational and not pragmatic when emotions dictate our decisions and in sport this can be a critical factor of whether  an athlete is able to deal with the extreme emotions of the situation and critical moments in a match or ‘lose it’ due to being overwhelmed and  wanting it too much. Thus, lose the point or set and indeed the match and make the wrong/incorrect decisions due loss of emotional control and potentially being overly nervous or irrational.

The emotional rollercoaster of a tennis match and meaning attached to the experience of performing under pressure. Being able to control emotions, evoked by the occasion, monitoring and knowing which emotions work for you; not being afraid of showing your emotions and applying self-regulation can help and be the difference between winning and losing.

Being able to react to success and failure and not exhibit extreme emotions is a reflection of an emotionally intelligent athlete. One that can regulate emotions so that when the heat is on, the athlete can feel it, use it and perform and not burn up and capitulate in the heat of battle.

Copyright A.J.N.Owens Believe Change Management Consultancy Limited June 28th 2013

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