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Can you feel the pressure? Examining the effects of anxiety in elite netball shooters

Netball is an increasingly popular sport for women in New Zealand, with the national league competition being fully professional. One important skill within netball is goal shooting, as the goal volume and accuracy ultimately decides the outcome of the game. Therefore, it is critical that shooters are able to perform this task well under pressure. The first part of this thesis reviews the literature on the effects of anxiety on sport performance. The second part of this thesis includes two studies. The first study, Study A (Chapter 2), was an observational, retrospective analysis of performance of 15 shooters in the top New Zealand competition at different score-lines and time points throughout netball games. The analysis showed that when one and two goals ahead, as well as other specific time points such as first shot of the quarter, the shooters shot significantly worse than the individual mean accuracy, but when three or four goals ahead the opposite effect occurred, a performance decrease. The fluctuation in performance demonstrated the possible influence of anxiety and individual differences on performance under pressure, along with the need to examine performance under pressure in a controlled setting in elite netball shooters. The second study, Study B (Chapter 3), was an experimental study designed to investigate the anxiety-performance relationship in elite netball athletes. Eleven elite netball shooters performed 100 shots at goal under four conditions: high-pressure defender present, high-pressure defender absent, low-pressure defender present, and low-pressure defender absent. Increased perceived anxiety, heart rate and task completion time occurred in the high-pressure conditions; however trait anxiety, concentration disruption in particular, predicted performance under low-pressure but not high-pressure conditions. In conclusion, the outcomes of these studies demonstrate that performance fluctuation occurs under pressure and that there may be individual differences in performance under pressure. The need for greater investigation of anxiety induced by high-pressure in elite professional netballers is apparent.
Type of thesis
Tong, G. T. (2019). Can you feel the pressure? Examining the effects of anxiety in elite netball shooters (Thesis, Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance (MHSHP)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13279
The University of Waikato
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