chapter  5
Counselling athletes with inappropriate reversal problems
Pages 19

In competition, it is important that the performer (and sport psychologist) endeavour to ensure that the metamotivational states preferred for optimal performance are operative and accompanied by appropriate levels of influential performance variables, such as felt arousal, felt negativism and felt transactional outcome. In the previous chapter, a good example of arousal modulation at the competition site was shown by Jackie when other competitors’ high levels of anxiety began to ‘get to her’ before the World Triathlon Championships. She used her own common sense and dealt with the problem in her own straightforward, uncomplicated way. On that occasion, her strategy seemed to work in a satisfactory fashion. As was pointed out in Chapter 1, for athletes experiencing too high or too low levels of felt arousal (or other metamotivational variables), cognitive interventions using recognised techniques such as progressive relaxation may be necessary (Kerr 1993, 1997). This requires that the athletes concerned should be trained in, and have practised, these techniques. However, having the knowledge and ability to induce reversals at the competition site when necessary may be just as important an aid to athletes as their ability to modulate felt arousal levels.