Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-26-2023



Objective: The objective of this study is to review how much of a role mental factors, such as optimism and having a positive mental attitude can have on endurance sport performance.

Methods: Nine peer reviewed studies were included in this research, one cohort study, one individual case study, four randomized control trials, and three questionnaires were included. Primary endpoints showed the importance of improving mindfulness, enrolling in a mental training program, cortisol production, the negative physical and emotional effects of losing, and the benefits of having a higher emotional intelligence with trait emotional intelligence (EI) Scores.

Results: Perceived physical strain is decreased in athletes who have more emotional intelligence. The stress response elicited by the act of falling behind or losing can have a snowball effect and decrease an athlete’s performance.

Conclusion: More research needs to be conducted in order to directly prove that being optimistic and positive can improve racing times and performance.

Keywords: Emotional intelligence, optimism, fatigue, stress, performance, mood, mental toughness, endurance, athlete.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Noah Vanderhei has a special interest in Sports Medicine and plans on working in Orthopedics/Sports Medicine following graduation. He is a proud member of the Indiana Academy of Physicians Assistants, the American Academy of Physicians Assistants, and the Valparaiso University Physicians Assistant Student Society. He is an Assistant Coach of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams, as well as a former athlete here at Valparaiso University. Inspired by his former coach, Mike Straubel, and for the benefit of his former teammates and athletes, he will be presenting “A Qualitative Study on Optimism in Endurance Sports".