How does anger affect my athletic performance?

Dr. Michelle Cleere - Sharecare Fitness Expert, PhD
Dr. Michelle Cleere - Sharecare Fitness Expert, PhD on behalf of National Academy of Sports Medicine

Anger affects performance in several different ways.

1. Anger takes energy away from where you really need your energy to be. It takes energy away from the situation and environment but also your body, your muscles and your mind.

2. Not only does anger take energy away from where you need your energy to be but anger can have a lasting effect for an entire practice or competition and on you and others around you not during just that episode but as a lasting impression.

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
Anger has many impacts on performance. The biggest impact of anger on performance is that it doesn't allow an athlete to move beyond whatever prompted the anger. If an athlete is unable to move beyond the issue that prompted the anger, then they are unable to continue to concentrate and focus on continued performance. Some other impacts of anger include muscle tension, negative thinking, rapid heart rate, and rapid breathing. These impacts of anger can be dealt with in similar ways as anxiety: progressive relaxation, imagery and deep breathing. Progressive relaxation means progressively going through your body and relaxing your muscles. Deep breathing helps take the focus off anything negative and also relaxes your mind and your muscles. Imagery relates to processes to produce an internalized experience that will support or enhance training or competition. Imagery allows the athlete to focus on something positive and something specific to the sport.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.