Pneumatic rifle shooters’ individual anxiety and interference immunity rating analysis

A.D. Pavlova1
PhD, Associate Professor E.A. Neustroeva1
A.V. Filippov1
1M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University, Yakutsk

Keywords: competitions, individual anxiety, interference immunity, shooters, self-control.

Introduction. In pneumatic rifle shooting sport, when gradually going from beginner to master, a shooter begins to allot not more than 25% of the time for the ready position (body balance, position of the rifle and muscular strength). When the shooter’s equipment and position are more or less stabilized, he begins to allot up to 70% of the time to his mindset. At the final stage of training for the top-rank competitions, such as the Olympic Games, a productive, strong shooter should allot up to 95% of the total workload to develop the ability to take the right psychological actions [4, 5].

Almost all athletes emphasize that during competitions their psychological and physiological state is very different from the one during trainings. Most athletes achieve good results during their pre-competitive training, but the excitement caused by the competitive environment negatively affects their performance [3].

There is a number of factors that can negatively affect the improvement of the shooters’ activity and motivation. The main one is increased anxiety, which can be associated with a high level of danger, various physical and psychological overloads, high tension and load intensity [9]. According to psychologists, the level of anxiety that has either a positive or a negative impact on sports and competitive success is associated with the athlete’s attitude to success and failure, as well as his overall need to achieve the set goal. The optimal level of anxiety contributes to the achievement of high sports results, supporting the mobilization of the athlete's body throughout the exercise performance. Total tranquility arising from smooth shooting, which is at times observed among athletes during competitions, often causes a decrease in the competitive performance results. This is due to the declining anxiety level resulting in demobilization and release of optimal tension [2].

According to O.Yu. Sumarina, there are various factors that can affect man’s mental health and the level of development of his anxiety. These are factors are as follows: genetic predisposition, physical health, psychological health, previous experience in the presence of negative experience, environment [7].

C.D. Spielberger believes that anxiety is a generalized, pointless fear. Thus, the author identifies two types of anxiety:

- state anxiety occurring in anticipation of troubles and life complications can mobilize a person and enable a person to act deliberately in the current environment.

- individual (trait) anxiety is considered as a personality trait, which manifests itself in a tendency to experience anxiety in various situations, even when situations do not require this objectively [6].

For shooters, anxiety will be expressed in physical form, such as, for instance, unusual tremor, lack of normal muscle tone, weakness affecting the shooter’s position, rifle retention, balancing ability, good coordination of movements, etc. [1].

The shooters’ mental readiness for competitions is characterized by the following key features: high level of interference immunity; self-confidence: high stability of the shooting technique, associated with its interference immunity; desire to fully mobilize own mental and physical powers and fight hard for victory or achieve the highest possible result; adequacy of their emotional state for the upcoming competition; high level of development of specialized sensations and perceptions, etc. [8]. The interference immunity in a shooter is the ability to fire without reducing effectiveness, in the face of unexpected distractions of both positive and negative nature. If necessary, the athlete must be able to restructure his work in accordance with the new requirements. Fear of failure among shooters with the high level of anxiety can make them analyze analysis own mistakes inadequately, which means they will not look for ways to eliminate these mistakes in future, which as a result can lead to a decrease in their interest in sports activities as a whole [3].

Objective of the study to analyze the effects of individual anxiety on interference immunity in pneumatic rifle shooting sport.

Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for the study were the 18-22 year old academic shooters (n=41) from Yakutsk city; 18-25 year-old other highly-skilled (n=16) athletes; and 13-17 year-old trainees of the local CYSS (n=72, including 21 males and 51 females). The sample was tested by the Ch.D Spielberger Anxiety Test and G. Münsterberger Attention Selectivity and Interference Immunity Test.

Results and discussion. Based on the results of the diagnostics by the method of C.D. Spielberger we determined the level of individual anxiety in the shooters. In the test sample, 62.5% were found to have a high level and 37.5% - an average level of individual anxiety, which is typical for athletes and is associated with stresses and heavy loads, both physical and psychological. The level of individual anxiety in the CYSS group was 53.3% - average level and 46.7% - high level. In the group of students, 51% demonstrated a high level of individual anxiety and 49% - an average level. The low level of anxiety was not detected in any of the groups, from which it can be assumed that anxiety is not a personal characteristic and is manifested only in certain stressful situations. Based on the results of the diagnostics, state anxiety is more typical for all groups rather than individual anxiety, which may be associated with a stressful situation during the competition. Therefore, the following conclusions may be drawn: highly anxious athletes would be oppressed by any activity requiring their initiative and independence, which is important in pneumatic rifle shooting sport. Outside pressure and high responsibility put in question a decision, which means that it can cause a motive to avoid failure, so that in case of failure not to be the one to blame. Competitive stress, emotional instability, stress, discomfort can lead to depression, fear of failure and the desire to circumvent the opportunity to take risks at every possible way.

G. Münsterberg’s test was used to assess selectivity and concentration of attention, as well as the level of interference immunity (Table 1).

Table 1. Indicators of the level of interference immunity

Group

Low level of interference immunity

Average level of interference immunity

High level of interference immunity

Students

-

4.9%

95.1%

Shooters

-

6.3%

93.7%

Trainees of CYSS

-

33%

67%

Procedure. Each sports group was analyzed in terms of the degree of manifestation of the indicators under study and were subject to the Spearman correlation analysis. The detailed results of the mathematical data processing are presented in Table 2, with the statistically significant differences being accentuated.

Table 2. Value of coefficient of correlation between levels of individual anxiety and interference immunity

Group

Individual anxiety

(Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory)

"Assessing selective attention and interference immunity"

(G. Münsterberg)

Students

r = –0,826

Shooters

r = –1,357

Trainees of CYSS

r = –0,49**

 The correlation is significant at p ≤0.05**

 Thus, the Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient between the individual anxiety level according to Spielberger test and the integrated indicator "Assessing selective attention and interference immunity" (G. Münsterberg) Rp=-0.49, which indicates a statistical significant correlation (the correlation is significant at the level of ρ≤0.05). Moreover, this correlation is negative and indicates that the CYSS trainees with the high level of individual anxiety often have an average level of interference immunity.

Therefore, the correlation analysis showed a statistically significant negative correlation between the levels of individual anxiety and interference immunity at a high level of significance (ρ≤0.05). It follows that the adolescents of the studied sample (CYSS) with the high level of anxiety have an average level of interference immunity as opposed to the groups of shooters and students.

Summarizing the results of the analysis of the displays of anxiety and the findings of the study of interference immunity, we can conclude as follows: the higher the level of anxiety, the lower the level of interference immunity.

 The study revealed a high level of correlation between the levels of individual anxiety and interference immunity in the trainees of CYSS, this correlation is significant at p≤0.05. The data obtained indicate that anxiety affects the manifestation of interference immunity. The hypothesis based on the results of the study was confirmed. In this study, most subjects have the high level of anxiety, which means that athletes cannot always control their emotions: in one instance they are more stable, in other - they may display fears, stresses, and phobias of various kinds. The high level of anxiety contributes to the low level of interference immunity, which prevents shooters from demonstrating effective performance.

Conclusion. The differences in the individual anxiety indicators in the group of students and shooters are less pronounced than in the CYSS group, which demonstrates the specifics of adolescence, characterized by a number of changes occurring not only in physical and mental, but also in psychological aspects. Timely and regular mental condition rating tests are necessary to identify the athletes most vulnerable to stressors with a special attention to the teenage athletes, and provide an efficient mental self-control training service and support in the individual competitive behavioral model shaping process.

References

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Corresponding author: anchiklep@mail.ru

Abstract

Competitive performances and motivations in the modern rifle shooting sport depend on multiple factors of influence, and one of them is the individual anxiety that may be due to the high risks and different physical and mental stressors associated with the highly challenging competitions. Objective of the study was to rate and analyze the individual anxiety and interference immunity in pneumatic shooting sport. Sampled for the study were the 18-22 year old academic shooters (n=41) from Yakutsk city; 18-25 year-old other highly-skilled (n=16) athletes; and 13-17 year-old trainees of the local CYSS (n=72), including 21 males and 51 females). The sample was tested by the Ch.D Spielberger Anxiety Test and G. Münsterberger Attention Selectivity and Interference Immunity Test.

The study data showed a highly significant (p≤0.05) correlation between the individual anxiety and interference immunity in the CYSS group and in most of the other groups – that means that the athletes are still in need of special mental/ emotional control trainings – since their emotions were found periodically unstable due to different stresses, fairs and health disorders. It should be emphasized that a growing anxiety undermines the interference tolerance and, hence, the competitive shooting accuracy. It was concluded that timely and regular mental condition rating tests are necessary to identify the athletes most vulnerable to stressors with a special attention to the teenage athletes, and provide an efficient mental self-control training service and support in the individual competitive behavioral model shaping process.