Competition makes athletes more likely to slip-up

Worrying about doing well in a competitive situation may lead to poorer physical performance, new research shows.

Some 18 healthy adults took part in two sets of identical physical activities – the first being a practice scenario, while the second was a competition.

Participants’ anxiety were found to be substantially higher during the competitive round, while their ability to anticipate and coordinate actions was reduced.

Lead author Dr Michael Duncan said the findings support the “catastrophe theory”, which claims sporting performance is significantly affected by increased stress. The study is the first to measure the effects of anxiety during and not after events.

Read more at Coventry University and Staffordshire University