A grounded theory of young tennis players use of music to manipulate emotional state

J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2007 Oct;29(5):584-607. doi: 10.1123/jsep.29.5.584.


The main objectives of this study were (a) to elucidate young tennis players' use of music to manipulate emotional states, and (b) to present a model grounded in present data to illustrate this phenomenon and to stimulate further research. Anecdotal evidence suggests that music listening is used regularly by elite athletes as a preperformance strategy, but only limited empirical evidence corroborates such use. Young tennis players (N = 14) were selected purposively for interview and diary data collection. Results indicated that participants consciously selected music to elicit various emotional states; frequently reported consequences of music listening included improved mood, increased arousal, and visual and auditory imagery. The choice of music tracks and the impact of music listening were mediated by a number of factors, including extramusical associations, inspirational lyrics, music properties, and desired emotional state. Implications for the future investigation of preperformance music are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Emotions*
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Music Therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tennis / psychology*