Motivation and emotion/Book/2017/Team sport and emotion

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Team sport and emotions:
How does playing team sport affect one's emotional state?


Emotions are a fundamental feature of sport and an athletes ability to establish and maintain a suitable emotional state, before and during a performance, is essential for a successful results (Uphill & Jones, 2007). An athletes sport experience is highly effected by emotions as they have a cognitive, motivational and physiological influences over an athletes performance. Certain emotional states can arise when individuals encounter events that they register as negative or positive compared to their goals (Tamminen & Crocker, 2013). Lazarus (2000) has suggested that the following seven emotions, listed in the table below, influence an athletes sporting performance.

Table 1. Emotions that influence sport performance (adapted from Lazarus (2000))
Emotion Description
Anger refers to the impulse to gain revenge in order to repair the self-esteem of an athlete which has been wounded by spectators, opponents, team members, referee and even family members. Athletes also can encounter self-blame that results in anger, not just attributing the blame on another individual.
Anxiety arises from facing an uncertain threat. In a sporting context anxiety can arise when an athletes goals are threatened, and when an athlete feels that they do not have the resources to minimise the threat. In a competition anxiety arises due to the comparative competence of athletes performance.
Guilt is when an individual transgresses a moral imperative. In sport guilt can arise from illegal or hostile behaviour which is viewed as socially unacceptable.
Shame develops when the individual does not live up to their ego ideal. An athlete can experience shame when they underperform, and will interpret this as a flaw in their character.
Relief occurs after overcoming a period of anxiety. Relief in a sport can aid in performance because there is no longer tension, allowing the athlete to return to their normal attention and concentration levels for their performance in a relaxed manner.
Happiness is a positive emotional reaction, such as winning, achieving new personal bests and gaining wealth in sport. It helps aid the athlete in maintaining a high level of motivation.
Pride events which enhance an individuals self and social esteem result in the expression of pride. Pride is a motivating factor for status striving and the success an athletes achieves fuels their pride.

In the [what?] literature, the impact that individual sports has on an athletes emotional state has been reported and research[spelling?]. However, it is also important to understand the affects that participating in team sports has on an individuals emotional state as this environmental context differs from individuals sports. Emotions have been reported to influence team performance and functioning, the communication of team commitment, goals and values, as well as contribute to communal coping (Tamminen et al., 2016a).

Key points
  • How is emotion studied in sport?
  • How does individual and team competitions effect emotions?
  • What is emotional contagion?
  • What are group-based and collective emotions?
  • Do athletes in a team sport self-regulate their emotions or are they interpersonally regulated?
  • What is the social function perspective of emotion?

Cognitive-motivation-relation theory[edit]

Figure 1. The USA basketball team celebration their gold medal win in the 1016[say what?] Invictus Games.

It has been reported in the [what?] literature that the cognitive-motivation-relational theory (CMRT) is an effective framework to study emotions in sport as it looks at the role of cognitive processes in generating specific emotions (Lazarus, 1991; Lazarus 2000; Campo, Mellalieu, Ferrand, Martinent & Rosnet, 2012).

Emotions are viewed as a fragment of the changing relationship between a person and their environment. Appraisal and motivation are the two central components to this theory according to Lazarus (2000). When an individual appraises encounters with an environment as having a positive or negative significance for their well-being, do emotions occur[grammar?]. The component of motivation in this theory referred to both the individuals goals and how they organise behavioural and mental processes to achieve a particular goal. These individual goals are allow for the evaluation of the environmental stimuli as either personal benefits or harms (Lazarus, 1991)[grammar?].

The evaluation of the environmental stimuli that the individual encounters comprise of what Lazarus referred to primary and secondary appraisal[factual?]. Primary appraisals is[grammar?] how relevant that stimuli is to the person's well-being based on their particular goals. Stimuli can be primarily appraised in three forms: goal relevance, goal congruence/incongruence and goal content. The stronger the individuals goals are to their personal well-being, the stronger the emotions that are associated with it (Lazarus, 1991). Secondary appraisal are[grammar?] both behavioural and cognitive strategies an individual uses to handle demands that are challenging or require more resources than the individual is capable of, they are essential coping strategies. There are three features of secondary appraisal include[grammar?]; blame or credit, coping potential and future expectations Lazarus (1991).

Example to Illustrate Lazarus's CMRT

During a marathon, an athlete is pushed during the running stage of the race. This environmental stimulus is the appraised as having importance to their goal of winning the marathon. The athlete can interpret this in two different ways. Firstly if the athlete interprets this as a threat to their goal content, as an deliberate action but they have the resources to continue to cope with the race, the athlete will appraise the incident by expressing the emotion of anger. On the other hand, if the athlete sees this incident as a threat to their goal, but doesn’t interpret is as deliberate action, and therefore doesn’t believe they have the resources to physically cope with the race and run it well, the emotion of anxiety will be expressed by the athlete.

Individual and team competitions and their effects on emotions[edit]

There have been a few studies which compared individual and team competitions, and their effects on emotion. A study conducted by Cooke, Kavussanu, McIntyre, and Ring (2013), had participants complete an[grammar?] handgrip endurance task in four different conditions (time trial, one-on-one, two-on-two, and four-on-four). Their results indicated that individuals reported higher levels of enjoyment during the team conditions compared to the time-trail[spelling?]. It was suggested that this could be because completing tasks in a group rather than individually results in social flow, which has been reported to enhance enjoyment compared to solitary flow (Walker, 2010; Cooke et al., 2013). The same authors also measure[grammar?] anxiety in the participants within an individual and team competition. Their results reported that anxiety increased in a team competition compared to individual competition. Their results also found that anxiety was reported [grammar?] the highest during the four-on-four competition compared to one-on-one and two-on-two competitions. This suggests that the more opponents that the athlete encountered, [grammar?] increases the potential for social comparison and evaluation on performance (Cooke et al., 2013). Such studies indicate that participating in team sports has an effect on both individuals' positive and negative emotional states.

Figure 2. Football player expressing disappointment and sadness after loosing[spelling?] a match.

Emotional contagion[edit]

In a team sport, athletes interact with coaches, opponents and fellow teammates, therefore considering social aspects of sport are important to consider when exploring emotional phenomena (Tamminen, et al., 2016a)[grammar?]. An individuals emotional state is influenced by emotional contagion which is a result of social interactions with others, such as teammates. Emotional contagion is the process where an individual influences the emotions of others by the unconscious or conscious induction of emotions (Hatfield, Cacioppo, & Rapson, 1994; Tamminen & Crocker, 2013). This effect has been reported in sporting teams. A group of professional cricket players subjectively reported their mood during a championship match. The results showed that there was a strong correlation between an individuals report of their happy mood with the teams average level of happiness. As the teams collective positive mood changed during the match, so did the teams overall performance, just as the individuals positive mood was associated with their individual performance (Totterdell, 2000). The author suggest that the relationship between the individual and team moods were the result of the athletes affective communication and emotional conveying through behavioural, verbal and facial expressions.

Group-based and collective emotions[edit]

Within team settings, group-based emotions and collective emotions are also important when exploring emotion within sport. Group-based emotions are emotions that occur in response to an event that an individual perceives as relevant to the group that they highly identify themselves with (Tamminen & Crocker, 2013). Based on the intergroup emotions theory, individuals can experience emotions such as guilt, anger and fear towards events that they perceive as relevant to their group (Mackie, Devos, & Smith, 2000; Smith, 1993; Goldenberg, Saguy, & Halperin, 2014). Collective emotions are group-based emotions felt and shared by a group of individuals, who identify themselves with the same group, simultaneously. When a strong collective emotion occurs, individuals who see themselves as part of the group are more likely to experience the particular emotion in a group-based form (Goldenberg, Saguy, & Halperin, 2014).

Emotional regulation[edit]

[Provide more detail]

Emotional self-regulation[edit]

Emotional self-regulation is defined as the "processes by which individuals influence which emotions they have, when they have them, and how they experience and express these emotions" (Gross, 1998, p. 275). Individual athletes use a [vague] number of different of strategies to regulate their emotions such as goal setting, imagery, relaxation, self-talk, cognitive reappraisal and regulation results in successful performance (Tamminen, et al., 2016a).

Figure 3. Lyn Lepore emotional during 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games race. She won silver with Lynette Nixon in the Women's tandem 1km time trial.
Interpersonal emotional regulation[edit]

In team sports it very important to consider interpersonal emotional regulation as well as self-emotional regulation. Interpersonal emotional regulation is where an athletes actions are used to influence the emotions of others (Tamminen, et al., 2016a). Success in the performance of a team, requires interpersonal coordination as well as teamwork (Friesen, Devonport, Lane & Sellars, 2015). In a sporting team, each individual is regulating their own emotions as well as the emotions of their team members. Study by Tamminen & Crocker (2013), found that factors that contributed to an athletes self-regulation and expression on emotions, as well as interpersonal regulation and the regulation of others emotions, included their roles within the team and the social norms associated with their sport[grammar?]. This is an example of cognitive processing and emotion within sport, whereby not only were the athletes aware of their own emotions, they had strong awareness in regards to modifying and monitoring their actions to aid in the team performance and team relationships. Their study also showed the social norms and team roles influence an athletes emotional regulation and interpersonal regulation strategies. The roles within a team which can be both informal and formal, have an impact on the how the individual regulates their own emotions as well as those of their team members (Tamminen & Crocker, 2013). It has been reported in the [what?] literature that trying to regulate and influence the emotions of other team members has an affect on one's own emotional well-being. By improving the emotions of others, the individual experiences positive affective outcomes such as a decrease in anxiety and increase in enthusiasm (Tamminen, Gaudreau, McEwen, & Crocker, 2016b).

Social-functional perspective of emotions[edit]

Team sports result in social interactions among team members, one theory that has been used to explain the functions of emotions as a in such as social setting, is the social-functional perspective of emotions (Keltner & Haidt, 1999)[grammar?]. Emotions are contributors in the coordination of social relationships and interactions an individual experiences as well as helping them solve problems and adapt to their environment. A study by Friesen, Davensport, Sellars, and Lane (2013) on two ice-hockey captain, looked at the how the social functions of emotions influenced their decisions to regulate their team members emotions. Their results showed that from an individual and dyadic level, the captains individual emotions and the perceived emotions of their team members served as indicator as when to regulate their emotions. The analysis of emotions on a group level, changes in emotional regulation strategies and emotions where the result of changes in the team's shared goal. Finally, on a cultural analysis of emotions, that to help athletes comply to cultural values of winning, productivity and positively, the captains evoked emotions of guilt, anger and embarrassment[Provide more detail][grammar?].


Crystal Clear app ktip.png

Emotions play a very important role in the an athletes performance[grammar?]. It is very important that an athlete is able to regulate their emotions during an event to optimise their performance and outcome. Team sports are a social setting, therefore it is effective to view emotions from a social perspective. Team sports influence an individuals emotional state through emotional contagion, the impact of group-based and collective emotions and the impact of interpersonal emotional regulation. According to the social-function perspective, emotions have a social function in regulating the emotions of team members.

See also[edit]


Campo, M., Mellalieu, S., Ferrand, C., Martinent, G., & Rosnet, E. (2012). Emotions in team contact sports: A systematic review. Sport Psychologist, 26(1), 62-97. doi:10.1123/tsp.26.1.62

Cooke, A., Kavussanu, M., McIntyre, D., & Ring, C. (2013). The effects of individual and team competitions on performance, emotions, and effort. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 35(2), 132-143.

Friesen, A. P., Devonport, T. J., Sellars, C. N., & Lane, A. M. (2013). A narrative account of decision-making and interpersonal emotion regulation using a social-functional approach to emotions. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11(2), 203-214. doi:10.1080/1612197X.2013.773664

Friesen, A. P., Devonport, T. J., Lane, A. M., & Sellars, C. N. (2015). interpersonal emotion regulation: An intervention case study with a professional ice hockey team. Athletic Insight, 7(2), 129-129.

Goldenberg, A., Saguy, T., & Halperin, E. (2014). How group-based emotions are shaped by collective emotions: Evidence for emotional transfer and emotional burden. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(4), 581-596. doi:10.1037/a0037462

Gross, J. J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation: An integrative review. Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 271-299. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.2.3.271

Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Keltner, D., & Haidt, J. (1999). Social functions of emotions at four levels of analysis. Cognition & Emotion, 13(5), 505-521. doi:10.1080/026999399379168

Lazarus, R. S. (1991). Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lazarus, R. S. (2000). How emotions influence performance in competitive sports. Sport Psychologist, 14(3), 229-252. doi:10.1123/tsp.14.3.229

Mackie, D., Devos, T., & Smith, E. (2000). Intergroup emotions: Explaining offensive action tendencies in an intergroup context. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79(4), 602-616. doi:10.1037//0022-3514.79.4.602

Tamminen, K. A., & Crocker, P. R. E. (2013). "I control my own emotions for the sake of the team": Emotional self-regulation and interpersonal emotion regulation among female high-performance curlers. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(5), 737-747. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2013.05.002

Tamminen, K., Palmateer, T., Denton, M., Sabiston, C., Crocker, P., Eys, M., & Smith, B. (2016a). Exploring emotions as social phenomena among canadian varsity athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 27, 28-38. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2016.07.010

Tamminen, K., Gaudreau, P., McEwen, C., & Crocker, P. (2016b). Interpersonal emotion regulation among adolescent athletes: A bayesian multilevel model predicting sport enjoyment and commitment. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 38(6), 541-555. doi:10.1123/jsep.2015-0189

Totterdell, P. (2000). Catching moods and hitting runs: Mood linkage and subjective performance in professional sport teams. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(6), 848-859. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.85.6.848

Uphill, M. A., & Jones, M. V. (2007). Antecedents of emotions in elite athletes: A cognitive motivational relational theory perspective. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 78(2), 79-89. doi:10.1080/02701367.2007.10599406

Walker, C. J. (2010). Experiencing flow: Is doing it together better than doing it alone? The Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(1), 3-11. doi:10.1080/17439760903271116