I am going to talk about a basketball competition of Hong Kong Division one Basketball League, which I played six months ago. This was the second game of this season. As I played worse at the first game and only scores 3 points, so I set a goal for myself which I have to score more than the first game. Before the game, I listened some hyper songs when I was doing warm up in order to work myself up to be ready for the competition. I was seeking arousal and want to lift my arousal level. I felt a little bit anxious because I am afraid that I would have the same performance with last game.
At the beginning of the match, although my body was totally got warm up, I still felt nervous and stressful. The main reason was that’s my first season to play in division one, the top basketball league in Hong Kong and play against some overseas players. As I am a shooter, what the coach needs me to do was just shoot the ball when I am open. However, I missed 5 three points shots at the first two quarters of the game, I shot the ball even when I was not in a good position and chance. Although my arousal level is high, I felt unpleasant, anxious and frustrated. At the half court break, one of my teammates told me that just keep shooting with confidence no matter how many shots you have missed because you are a shooter, you miss 5 three points shots right now, but what you need to do is to forget these 5 shots you have missed and focus on every single shot at the moment on the second half of the game, not the shots before, not the next shot, but every single shot at the moment when you are open. I was motivated and confident after he said that.
As I spend a lot of effort to practice on my personal drills, I am confident with my shooting; I believed that being too nervous is the main reason of missing all the shots instead of my ability is not good enough. I believe myself. On the second half of the game, I try to calm myself down and focus on every shot, at the beginning of the third quarter; I made my first three points shots of the game. I became more confident to shoot and I made the second and third three points shots soon continuously. At that moment, I totally enjoyed into the game and forgot everything except the game, I scream out loudly when I score. All the feeling of anxious disappeared suddenly. According to inverted U approach, my arousal level is too high at first, so I am anxious and didn’t play well. After I calm myself down a bit, my arousal level was at the optimal area I was performing in the “zone”. I find my own pace of the game, shoot the ball confidently and I made the shots no matter where I shoot the ball. As I am hot, the opponent spent more effort on guarding me, he came closer to me and prevent I get any space to shoot. I did a pump fake then drive in and drew a foul. Nobody could stop me to score. I have two free-throws opportunities; it’s totally different with what I did during the game.
During the game I run as fast as I can, do a lot of V-cut or back door cut, shoot as fast as I can so as to prevent the opponent to disturb or block my shot. However, you can shoot the free throws with nobody guarding and have 5 seconds for you to shoot. According to Smith and Apter (1975), one of the factors, which may cause a reversal from one operative metamotivational state to the other, is when the environmentally determined needs of the situation demand the opposite. You need to be quick for the game shots and you need to slow down for the free throw shot to increase the accuracy. Before I get the ball from the referee, I would focus on the rim and do the whole shooting form two to three times. When I get the basketball, I took a deep breath to clam myself down and slow down my breathing pace. After that, I would dribble 3 times to get the feeling.
Finally, I would breathe in deeply and hold it until I shoot the ball. These are all the actions to help me change my metamotivational state from paratelic to telic to avoid arousal and resolve intense experiences as soon as possible to help me focus on the free throws. Most of the time I will miss my free throw if I don’t do the action I mentioned above. In conclusion, I felt anxious at the beginning and felt excited after I made my first shot at the second half of the game. When I was performing in the “zone”, I experienced the paratelic state, I would scream out when I score to seek excitement and make myself keep focus on the game. The reason for me to reverse from the automatic performance state to a more explicit self monitoring state is the changes in the environment which is I get two free-throws in the game. Finally, I get 23 points in this game and I am so happy because I achieve my goal.
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