SPORT & PERFORMANCE PSYCHOLOGY IN NY

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  • Isaac Zur, PhD

Emotions and Performance

Updated: Jan 8, 2021

Understanding How Our Emotions Can Influence Performance: Latest Research by Dr. Isaac Zur

Most recently, Dr. Zur has been researching how a fencer’s mental state can influence his or her performance. More specifically, he is exploring how a fencer’s psychological state affects his or her reaction time, accuracy, power, and muscle engagement while attacking a target. The athlete produces an actual fencing attack on a target and Dr. Zur measures the athlete’s muscle tension, stress level, accuracy, and reaction time to understand changes in performance in different states. Dr. Zur is a pioneer in the sports psychology field as he uses a combination of real-life simulation and individualized biofeedback results to understand how an athlete performs in different mental states.


Thus far, Dr. Zur has found that for high-level fencers, anger is correlated with poor performance and that, in general, anger is associated with lower accuracy. However, anger also seems to be correlated with faster reaction time during the attack.


Dr. Zur has already begun to use his technique with athletes to boost their performance. As his results have shown, different mental states can improve or impair an athlete’s performance. Dr. Zur helps athletes increase their awareness of when they are at their best by measuring performance outcomes in different mental states. After the data is collected and analyzed, Dr. Zur can determine a personalized ideal mindset for the athlete. From there, Dr. Zur designs a specific intervention for athletes to regulate their emotions and learn how to put themselves in that state during competition. More specifically, athletes can learn how to control their muscles better, improve reaction time under stressful conditions, and have a plan to counter per-competition anxiety.

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