Is an emotional state of mind. Ranging from feeling content and joy (happy) to a feeling of despair, grief or sorrow (sad).

Impact on Performance
Happiness will affect performance positively and sadness will affect performance negatively. They can impact on numerous factors such as confidence, self-belief in your own ability, resilience, levels of optimism or pessimism, and your ability to realise your potential. For example, being in a happy state of mind before playing basketball will increase your confidence in executing skills and your self-belief in performing them successfully. If you were sad before playing a game of football, your confidence and belief in your ability to perform skills successfully will be low resulting in a poorer level of skill execution.


An emotion whereby the individual has normally been offended, denied, wronged and a tendency to react through retaliation. It is a strong, uncomfortable emotion after being provoked.

Impact on Performance
Anger in sport can be very useful in the right situation but more often than not it is about how you control your aggression that makes the difference. Opponents look to ways of irritating each other in the hope it puts them off a game plan or affects their performance.

Anger can be seen in many different forms in sport. It can be something as simple as a player shouting at themselves after a bad shot, physically lashing out or even over exerting themselves in a skill such as increasing the power of the next serve.

Anger without control will mostly affect performance negatively and will increase the amount of poor decisions made. A player who controls their anger is much more effective and it pays to practice good mental strength. The ability to control anger comes from practicing in competitive drills which apply pressure to your skill level, such as practicing against a much better opponent or even against more opponents than you.

"...I was playing badminton and had spotted a weakness in their back court backhand side. I was able to play repeated shots to this area and it was very obvious they were unable to cope consistently. They were getting very angry and this helped me even more as they started making silly decisions and this added to the situation..."

"...I had been in bat for a few overs without scoring, the bowlers were very consistent with their pace and line. This was not a new situation for me as our senior school team had bowlers like this and we faced them all the time in the nets. I waited patiently until a wider delivery at which point I controlled my aggression into the shot and played it to the boundary..."

"...my putting was not particularly good during the round and I was becoming more frustrated and angry with my inability to score well. After one very poor putt I made the silly mistake of allowing my anger to boil over and at the next tee tried to drive the ball much further than normal. My technique was awful and I put my drive into trees. This only added to my poor scoring..."

"...my opposite forward was particularly good at protecting the ball and winning rebounds. I was really getting annoyed at his good play and at myself for letting the team down. I was drawn into making silly fouls against him and eventually my anger and lack of self-control built up to too many fouls and I was fouled out of the game..."


Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat, which causes you to quickly pull away or, in sporting terms, usually hide.
Impact on Performance
Fear produces negative thoughts, which directly impact on a sportspersons confidence. Winning and losing is so important in most competitive settings that fear of failure or fear of not performing well is at the forefront of an athletes mind. Athletes that are full of positive energy and excitement, relishing every challenge, are always the ones that outperform their negative and fearful counterparts. Confidence has a direct response to performance. If you fear an opponent or opposition then it is likely that your own performance level will drop significantly which will make it easier for opposition to compete.
Having a fear of failure and lack of confidence can cause a player to become convinced that the coach will drop him for the next match. He will feel uneasy when the coach watches him play, because of a constant worry of what the coach is thinking. This will damage his performance, therefore forces the coach to replace him for the next match. The fear has been brought to life!
Fear of failure prevents a player from pushing them outside the comfort zone. All top players take sporting risks even at the potential cost of jeopardising their performance.
Risk taking is a fundamental component of being successful and it is only through bold and committed actions that sporting contests are won and lost.
Fear of failure can cripple the player’s sense of adventure and the ability to take match-winning risks. The thought of making mistakes in front of teammates, coaches and spectators can be so paralysing that the player sits inside their comfort zone just doing the bare minimum.
When the player refuses to push outside the comfort zone performances become reactive instead of proactive. Instead of taking positive risks, which empower the athlete to influence the contest, they allow the opposition to take control and dictate the direction of play.


A firm belief in the reliability or ability/actions of someone else, being unaware of the outcome results in uncertainty and therefore a risk of failure.

Impact on Performance
As a coach or team captain it is critically important that your team trusts you so that they can react appropriately to the instructions that you give them. If they doubt your decisions or instructions they may not put 100% effort into the task.
The importance of trust between team members is vital. Players need to value other team member’s capability/skill/talent and recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each individual player. As the team begins to believe in each other’s ability, they will work more cohesively as a unit and this will result in a higher level of performance/wins for the team. A high level of trust in a team will allow players to read each other’s actions more accurately and this can help dominate the match.

In a defensive line in Rugby, a player must trust that the player on his inside will make his individual tackle, so that they do not get sucked inwards and leave an overlap on the outside which could result in a try. Every player trusting the others to make their tackle will ensure that less space is created and that the defensive line is held. A forward in Football, making runs behind the defence needs to have faith that the midfield will play the ball to where they are running to allow them to get a shot at goal. Even if unsuccessful then the midfield need to continue to play the ball for the forwards run trusting that if they get into good positions they will eventually score. In a Zone Defence in Basketball, each of the players must have confidence that every other player will fulfil their role as this is a team defence designed to keep the opposition away from the basket

In activities like cheerleading, dance and rhythmic gymnastics trust plays an important role. Relying on your team to catch, support or lift you to complete the skill safely is important as it will stop you becoming anxious and not distract you from the rest of your routine. You can concentrate solely on your responsibility knowing that your team will do their part.


Is a reaction to something unplanned or unexpected. Surprise is a brief emotional, mental and physiological state- a startle response experienced as the result of an unexpected event.

Impact on Performance
Surprise can be pleasant, unpleasant, positive, or negative. Surprise can occur in varying levels of intensity ranging from very-surprised, which may induce the fight-or-flight response, or little-surprise that elicits a less intense response to the stimuli.
Depending on the nature of the surprise it can affect your decision-making, confidence, resilience and determination. An intense negative surprise can create a negative response or uncontrolled reaction, which impairs the ability to make decisions where the player just reacts without conscious thought.
The performer’s mindset, level of confidence and resilience effects how they deal with the surprise/unexpected event. For example a tennis player who loses a point due to an unexpected lucky shot can react negatively they see it as bad luck on their part. They dwell on their bad luck, let their “head go down” their resilience or ability to bounce back is low this then affects their determination and confidence and their performance drops. A tennis player in the same situation with a high level of confidence and resilience can cope with the surprise/unexpected lucky shot forget about it and move on to the next point and not dwell on it or let it impact on their performance