THE ANTECEDENTS AND FUNCTIONS OF SELF-TALK AND THEIR EFFECTS ON HIGH PERFORMANCE SAILING
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The present study explored the antecedents and functions of self-talk in relation to the effectiveness of communication in high performance sailing. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six British Olympic Development Squad double-handed sailors. The data was analysed using causal networks (Hanton et al., 2007). Seven primary antecedents emerged from the data, which influenced (n = 7) communication effectiveness. These comprised; environmental conditions, performance in race, teammates communication, stage in race, boat handling, other boats and emotional state. Self-talk was shown to serve a number of positive functions, specifically; maintenance of perceptual field, increased understanding and meaning of information, increased memory, thought sharing, changed type of communication, increased perceptions of control, instructional, motivational, communication purpose and recognition of emotional state. Negative functions comprised decreased focus, decreased communication and decreased task relevant information. Communication was found to both influence and be influenced by self-talk, which in-turn influenced communication effectiveness. The causal networks provided a detailed description of the pathways through which self-talk influenced communication. The findings are discussed in relation to existing empirical research.
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