Factors Impacting on Performance

Answer tip: when writing your answers for factors impacting on performance, you want to gain some real depth so consider the impact it initially had on you before considering the impact it then had on the game. The impact on the game could be an impact on a teammate, the opposition or the play within the game.

Answer examples KEY:
Statement of sub-factor, situation and whether positive or negative
Impact on me/performer
Impact on game/teammate/opposition

Emotional factors relate to a wide range of different feelings a performer may have before and/or during their performance. These emotions can be positive or negative but the negative ones can be controlled.

ANGER: an emotion that a performer may feel when frustrated, offended or wronged. Feelings of anger can be very strong and can have negative impacts on one’s ability to concentrate and make correct decisions. However, if anger is controlled, it can be used to boost determination and motivation as well as execute some skills like tackling effectively.

Positive example: ‘Being able to control my anger positively impacted my performance when I was being told by my coach that I was not good enough at football. This lead to me channeling my anger towards proving him wrong. As a result, I became more motivated and determined and gave everything I had to fulfill my role and responsibilities on the pitch. This lead to me forcing my opponent into lots of mistakes as I worked really hard to put them under pressure whenever they got the ball.’

Negative example: ‘Not controlling my anger negatively impacted my performance in basketball when the referee wrongly called for a foul against me. This lead to me shouting and swearing at the referee and getting a warning. As I was still angry, I started to lose concentration as I could not get my frustration out my system. This lead to me switching off when man marking and my opponent got away from me to receive a pass and have time to score.’

FEAR: an emotion brought on by feeling nervous about potentially making an error. Cognitive fears can directly impact upon confidence whilst somatic fears will impact on the physiological components of the body.

Positive example: ‘Controlling my fear can allow me to block out negative thoughts and think positively about my upcoming match. This can lead to me feeling confident which can help me be creative and unpredictable in the opening moments of matches. This can lead to my opponent not being able to anticipate my next move and me getting past them time and again.’

Negative example: ‘Not being able to control my fears can lead to me tensing up in crucial situations such as when putting for the championship in golf. As I get more fearful, my muscles tense up and my movements become rigid. Thus, my putting action is not smooth and I miss the putt because I lose accuracy.’

HAPPINESS/SADNESS: a reflection of how optimistic or negative a performer is feeling. Someone who is happy will be high in confidence and can make decisions with conviction whilst those who are sad will be low on confidence and lose focus as they are distracted by negative feelings.

Positive example: ‘Feeling can positively impact my performance as I will feel optimistic about my upcoming match. In tennis, being happy will help me make decisions and carry them out with conviction. When serving, I may decide to change my tactic and serve wide. Due to being confident, I will follow this action through with purpose. This can then lead to my opponent being caught off guard and me winning the point.’

Negative example: ‘Feeling sad can negatively impact my performance as I will be consumed by negative feelings. This can lead to me losing concentration as I cannot block out negative thoughts and I will start to make basic errors when executing skills as I cannot focus on their sub-routines. This can then result in me giving away easy passes to the opposition and my team being caught on the fast break.’

SURPRISE: a brief emotional reaction to something that has shocked you. The impact surprise has is largely dependent on the mindset of the performer and can have further implications for concentration, confidence, motivation and resilience levels.

Positive example: ‘A performer with a positive mindset can overcome feelings of surprise and continue to perform well. In tennis, a player who has just lost a point as a result of their opponents shot clipping the top of the net and dropping dead on their side will just be able to let the feeling of surprise go and move on. They will quickly be able to regain their focus and fully concentrate on the sub-routines of their serve to win the next point.’

Negative example: ‘A performer with a negative mindset will not be able to overcome feelings of surprise and may struggle to move on in their match. A goalkeeper in football who has just conceded a deflected goal may not be able to get over their shock at this and lose motivation as they see their performance being hindered by bad luck. As a result, they might stop fulfilling their roles and responsibilities and concede more goals as they see it as pointless.’

Emotional Factors Tasks


Each of the examples above state clearly when and why you may get angry with someone. Can you pick two of these examples, attach a sport to them and finish off the answers with the impact on performer then impact on the game. Each of your answers should aim to answer a describe question. (2).


HOWEVER, sometimes your anger may lead to positive impacts on performance. If you can control your frustration levels and channel them appropriately, it may lead to positive consequences. Consider the case study below involving Gareth Bale.

Gareth Bale moved to Real Madrid in 2013 for a world record fee of £87,000,000. This was derided by the Spanish and English media. He was considered to be too expensive and many predicted he would fail despite the fact he hadn’t even played a game for his new team. This was summed up in the infographic below.

Halfway through the season, Bale was then ‘booed’ by Real Madrid fans and criticised in the Spanish media for not being good enough. Bale bottled all of this up and remembered this before it all changed for him in the video below.

So, can you explain how controlling and channelling anger helped Gareth Bale in this case study. You may link your answer to motivation from the mental factor. (1). Points to consider: Sentence 1: why is he angry? Who is he angry at? SPECIFIC EXAMPLE. Sentence 2: how does controlling his anger help him in THIS EXAMPLE? What does it boost and why? Sentence 3: what impact did that have in this game? Look at the way he kept chasing the ball despite it almost being out the park!


Feeling confident can lead to two main impacts on performers:

  1. Taking risks in games to produce unpredictability.
  2. Fully committing to actions in high pressure situations without any indecision/hesitation.

Let’s look at a model answer for the 2nd example. The command word is analyseFeeling confident helped me when serving for the match in tennis. This meant I felt positive in my own abilities which meant I knew I was capable of hitting my serve powerfully down the middle of my opponents’ service box and I therefore fully committed to aiming and performing my shot here without changing my mind. This lead to my serve being accurate and powerful which meant my opponent never reached my shot in time and I won the point with an ace.


Can you now produce a model analyse answer for the 1st example above? (1).


  1. A) Can you identify as many different high-pressure situations from a range of different activities that you can think of?


  1. A) Match each of the three physiological responses to the most appropriate picture below; when would this have the worst impact?

  1. B) Pick two of these answers and evaluatethe negative impact they had on your performance.  (2).


Look at the unforced errors of both players during their tennis match and…

  1. A) Pick a command word.
  2. B) Go through the 3-stage process of how resilience impacted one of their performances.

EMOTIONAL SCENARIO: Below is a news report based on a recent sporting event involving secondary school pupils.

‘The performance included numerous different flash points; performers seemed to get frustrated with themselves and others once things started to go wrong. All of the players seemed to play within themselves. They seemed indecisive and always took the safe option. Once mistakes were observed, teammates were critical of one another and the performers never really recovered from this. All in all, a bad day at the office.’

Evaluate how effective performance levels were in the above scenario in relation to emotional and social factors. (4). Things to consider:

  1. The question is evaluate: pick out the sub-factors based on the content and assess whether they were good/poor/high/low.
  2. How do you know this based on the content? Give evidence from quotes to support this.
  3. Now give an example from performance to show why this could have been written.
  4. For ‘A’ level pupils, can you make the link between social and emotional factors? What was the social factor in the scenario? Was it good or bad? What could have happened in the performance for this to be written? How could this then to link an emotional factor? Would this have been a good or bad impact? What then could have happened in the performance? (Use your higher order thinking skills here!)