Female Spanish athletes face pre-competition anxiety at the highest levels of competition

Antonio Sánchez Muñoz, Alberto Rodríguez Cayetano, Raimundo Castaño Calle, José María Fuentes Blanco, José Manuel De Mena Ramos, Roberto Avilés Vicente, Salvador Pérez Muñoz


Pre-competition anxiety is one of the most common emotions experienced among athletes in high performance sport. It can cause both positive and negative effects, which makes the ability to manage this anxiety one of the most important parts of an athlete’s preparation. This study analyzes the anxiety levels in athletes from the Spanish Women’s National Track & Field Team who participated in the European Championships, the World Championships, and the Olympic Games. The study evaluates how these athletes cope with pre-competition anxiety by examining three variables in the moments prior to the competition—cognitive anxiety, self-confidence, and somatic anxiety—and the way these variables impacted the results achieved by these athletes. The study indicates that a significant difference exists between cognitive anxiety and self-confidence, which shows that the higher an athlete’s self-confidence, the lower the levels of cognitive anxiety. Higher levels of self-confidence and lower levels of cognitive anxiety were also shown to have a positive impact on performance results.


Cognitive anxiety; Self-confidence; Somatic anxiety; Spanish female athletes

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