This study arose as a result of two squash players, one male one female, seeking advice on how to improve their mental approach to playing. They both felt that their game suffered badly through too much anxiety. After preliminary interviews it was decided to use a programme of stress inoculation training to help them learn to control their anxiety. In order to obtain baseline measures of anxiety, both subjects completed a state anxiety questionnaire on five occasions, immediately prior to playing important league or team matches. They were then given eight training sessions. On completion of the training, subjects were asked to complete a further five state anxiety tests immediately prior to analogous matches. There was a considerable decrease in self-reported anxiety levels and both players reported that their performance had improved. It is argued that stress inoculation training is potentially very useful as a technique for controlling anxiety in certain competitive sports.
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