Which emotion is better at helping an athlete win: anger or happiness?

This study explored attentional patterns associated with positive and negative emotions during sport competition, and athletes’ perceptions of the consequences of these attentional changes for concentration and performance. Sixty-nine athletes completed the Sport Emotion Questionnaire following a national softball competition. They also retrospectively reported their perceptions of how emotions influenced their attention, concentration, and sport performance. Excitement and happiness were more closely associated with concentration than anxiety, dejection, and anger. Although excitement demanded more attention than the negative emotions, the positive emotions were perceived as more likely to lead to a performance-relevant focus and automatic physical movements, both of which were beneficial for concentration and performance. Emotional intensity increased these effects.

Source: “Emotions in sport: Perceived effects on attention, concentration, and performance” from Australian Psychologist

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