Peak Performance

Peak Performance

Investigating the Optimal Psychological State for Peak Performance in Australian Elite Athletes

Ruth Anderson, Stephanie J. Hanrahan, and Clifford J. Mallett

The University of Queensland

Published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology


The aim of this study was to investigate the optimal psychological state for peak performance in Australian elite athletes. World championship and Olympic athletes (n = 17) and coaches (n = 6) from rowing, swimming, and diving were interviewed about the psychological states that contribute to peak performance. Results indicated that peak performance is characterized by the automatic execution of performance. A proposed model for the optimal psychological state identifies self-regulation, control, and trust as processes that assist athletes to transition from experiencing a diversity of psychological factors during competition to the automatic psychological state of peak performance.