Individual Variants of Emotional Stability of Athletes

Por: Albert Rodionov.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The present study is an attempt to determine the effect of stress tolerance on special abilities to operative task solving in different emotional states, and thus on effectiveness of sport activity. These abilities are displayed in the quickness of information perception and corresponding motor activity, which sometimes is defined as ⌠operative intellect [1] manifestation. ⌠Operative intellect is for the most part determined by such integral property as emotional stability. It is defined as the ability of athlete to keep and enhance mental and physical capacity under the influence of strong emotional factors. Emotional stability is a stable psychic quality of a person; it is being formed in sport activity, but the specificity of its formation is determined by individual traits of the athlete.


The elite fencers (n = 46) were differentiated by the classic Uznadze’ s set fixation method [2]. Complex method for emotional tension and emotional stability testing included: 1) seismotremorgraphic method for tremor amplitude and frequency registration, 2) Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) registration, 3) classical electric reflex metric method, 4) anamneses and psychic-pedagogical observation. The reflex metric data were assessed, as, on one hand, emotional tension and on the other hand, as the criteria for successfulness of competitive activity of fencers in emotionally intense situations.


The analysis of findings in individually-typical  peculiarities of set revealed the following picture: the fencers with dynamic type of set comprised the largest group (65,4%). The group with inert (static) type of set fixation consisted of 27,2% of subjects (the set was not fixed in 7,4% of subjects).

In pre-start (pre-work) situations emotional tension is manifested in significant (P<0,01) increase in tremor frequency and amplitude, fall in GSR and in the meaningful increase (P<0,05) of simple sensomotor reaction time, in both groups of fencers. At the same time the increase in choice reaction time (⌠the inerts - P<0,05) and considerable negative shifts in accuracy of differentiation (in the group of ⌠the dynamics accuracy deteriorated in 11,9%,  (in the group of ⌠the inerts √ in 22?5%) are observed. This picture allows to criticize some authors [3,4] statements regarding short simple reaction time in athletes in mobilization state right before the start of competitions. Complex of symptoms discovered in fencers evidences the abnormal emotional arousal, typical to stress.


It is quite natural that competitive activity of fencers proceeds in high emotional and operational intensity. Dynamic fencers display more plasticity in motor and in competitive behavior then the inert ones. Less emotional reactivity of the inert fencers is vividly displayed before warm-up and before the most important bouts. It is a slow entry to activity, in the first case, and poor mobility of adaptive behavior in fatigue, in the second.

Under the influence of sports activity with the operative task solving in stress conditions psychodynamics properties are acquired. They promote the development of special abilities and at the some time they form a basis for the athlete’ s individual style of activity formation. Some qualities at the first glance have a negative effect on the operative task solving (such as sensitivity, for example) but, most likely, they do determine the process of special ability formation (for example, the quickness of emergence of readiness state for urgent decisions). Exactly these qualities determine the athlete’s individual style of activity in extreme competitive situations.




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