Emotional management in sport

Emotional regulation becomes important in demanding environments, as in sport, especially in the case of individual sports such as tennis.

1. The emotions are energy. They indicate what works and what does not regarding our aims and goals in life. They are power to produce movement and their management is the key to success because with it we determine the direction we drive the energy: or we progress or it stops us.

Learning how to vary and adjust emotions provides a very important advantage when giving full performance at any field, in sport environments as well as environments related with work or personal life. It can make a difference between success or failure.

2. You can adjust your emotions. Examine the belief system and personal convictions which block and prevent you from progressing and having new results.

To do this, it is very important that you understand a principle: emotions are not the reason of the situations, they are reasons for how we interpret or evaluate the situations. The circumstances have no emotional meaning itself but they have the the thoughts we use to interpret them. If we focus on tennis we can observe how the emotional answer faced with an error is hugely influenced not only by the fact itself (throw a ball outside or to the net) but the interpretation you do about that error; if you throw the ball outside as a result of a great shot from the opponent, you will not have the same answer than if you make an unintentional mistake, in both cases the event is the same (a point to the rival) however, when you make an unintentional mistake you interpret that you could have done more.

Which advantage has to think that my own interpretations or belief system is what makes me having emotions?

Quite simple, examining your belief system, convictions and thoughts and observing if they are convenient to get the result you expect.

Reformulated your convictions and thoughts you will not let the situations emotionally control you. Reinterpreting the circumstances you can better manage your emotions and you will improve your efficiency. That makes the difference between that the situations have the control over you, or you have the control over the situation.

3. If you are able to manage your emotions because you have changed your mind and your point of view, then you can correct more quickly and achieve faster what you want.

This does not suggest that you do not have emotions, it is just the opposite, emotions are always indicators that something goes wrong or right on the road to achieving the goal.

If I think the mistakes prevent me from winning and I would not have to do them, I am going to get angry. In this case, I understand the mistake as an undesired result. If a have not been able to avoid making mistakes, I will be frustrated and I will probably be less involved in the match and I will be more unsure of myself and my abilities. However, if I interpret the mistake as a result without evaluating it, without judging it, if I see the mistake as a result which is going to help me evaluating what works and what does not, I will be calm and focused on correcting, focused on the task rather than on the result.

Therefore, if you are not able to keep mental calm, do not worry. It is part of your growth process. The emotions indicate you that something is not working as to where energy is put, what kind of thoughts you pay attention to and which is the belief system that blocks you to maintain calm and balanced.

Can emotions be ‘trained’?

A psychologist or a sport coach can help you to recover you emotional control and the mastery of specific situations and change the belief system and convictions which hamper your entry to the next level of performance. Throughout empathy, self-control, social skills and motivations, we can control disturbing emotions such as anxiety, terrors, depression and aggressiveness, and transform them productively.

Does it equally works to professionals and amateur sportspeople or those who practice sport just for pleasure?

The ‘fears’ increase when the pressure is high and decrease when the confidence is high.

In high performance in sports, competitive requirements and demands are increasing. Logically, the professional athlete who competes to win is required to give greater performance and concentration, because that is necessary to obtain the perfect result.