Stress and Emotions; The Influence of Demands on Football Referees’ Decision Making
University of Wales
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The purpose of this present study was to use qualitative methods to explore the influences on decision making of referees with varying skill level and experience, following an exposure to demands in the competition environment. Four referees consisting of level one, two, four and five classifications volunteered to participate in semi-structured interviews of 60-90 minutes duration to discuss the influences of demands on their decision making. A cross-case analysis of participant responses allowed for an exploration of the referee’s stress process when exposed to demands. Significant variations in appraisals of the demands faced, emotions, coping strategies utilised and subsequent influences on decision making between the more experienced level one and two referees, and the lesser experienced level four and five referees were identified. The study demonstrated elite referee’s greater ability to control emotions and implement effective coping strategies to maintain the execution of optimally informed, uninfluenced decision making. The degree of influence on non-elite referee’s decision making was also found to intensify considerably following an exposure to a combination of demands in the competition environment. Practical implications of the findings, strengths and weakness of the study, and recommendations for the direction of future research were also included.
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