Leveraging Visual Analogue Mood Scales (VAMS) for Enhanced Sports Performance

In the realm of competitive sports, the physical prowess of athletes often takes center stage. However, psychological factors, particularly mood and emotional state, play a pivotal role in determining an athlete’s performance and overall well-being. Here, we delve into the Visual Analogue Mood Scales (VAMS) – a tool that’s increasingly gaining traction among athletes and coaches for its effectiveness in monitoring and enhancing mental states.

What is Visual Analogue Mood Scales (VAMS)?

VAMS is a psychological assessment tool designed to gauge an individual’s mood state. Unlike traditional mood questionnaires that rely on fixed responses, VAMS uses a visual approach. It typically consists of a series of lines or sliders marked with contrasting mood states at each end (e.g., happy vs. sad, energized vs. tired). Athletes indicate their current mood by marking a point on the line that best represents their feeling.

The outcome of using VAMS can be multifaceted:

  1. Immediate Mood Assessment: It provides an immediate snapshot of an athlete’s mood, which can be critical in a high-performance sports setting.
  2. Trend Analysis: Over time, VAMS can help in identifying mood patterns, highlighting periods of stress, fatigue, or emotional well-being.
  3. Informed Decision Making: Coaches can use this data to tailor training programs, competition schedules, and recovery periods.
  4. Enhanced Communication: It serves as a communication tool between athletes and coaches, fostering a better understanding of the athlete’s psychological state.

Why VAMS is Useful for Sports Performance

  1. Predicts Performance: Mood states can be strong predictors of performance. Positive moods often correlate with better performance, while negative moods can be a warning sign of potential underperformance.
  2. Monitors Overtraining: It helps in detecting early signs of overtraining and burnout, which are critical for long-term athlete development.
  3. Customized Training: Coaches can customize training based on mood states, optimizing both physical and mental preparedness.
  4. Psychological Well-being: Regular monitoring of mood can contribute to the overall psychological well-being of athletes, which is essential for peak performance.

How Coaches and Athletes Can Use VAMS

  1. Regular Monitoring: Incorporate VAMS into the daily or weekly routine. This regular check-in can provide valuable insights into an athlete’s psychological state.
  2. Pre and Post-Competition Analysis: Use VAMS before and after competitions to gauge the impact of competitive stress and recovery status.
  3. Tailored Interventions: Based on VAMS data, implement psychological interventions like mindfulness, relaxation techniques, or motivational strategies.
  4. Open Communication: Use the VAMS as a conversation starter for deeper discussions about an athlete’s mental health and coping strategies.
  5. Training Adjustments: Modify training loads and intensity based on mood states, optimizing performance while reducing the risk of mental fatigue.


The Visual Analogue Mood Scales offer a simple yet effective way for athletes and coaches to tap into the psychological aspects of sports performance. By regularly utilizing VAMS, teams can foster a more holistic approach to training, where mental health is given as much priority as physical fitness. This can lead to not only improved performance but also a more sustainable and fulfilling athletic career.

Remember, while physical skills get you in the game, it’s often the mental strength that sets champions apart. Embrace VAMS as a tool to harness this strength!

SELFLOOPS has integrated the Visual Analogue Mood Scales (VAMS) on the website and smartphone applications.


van Rijsbergen GD, Bockting CL, Berking M, Koeter MW, Schene AH. Can a one-item mood scale do the trick? Predicting relapse over 5.5-years in recurrent depression. PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46796. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046796. Epub 2012 Oct 3. PMID: 23056456; PMCID: PMC3463530.