AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF IMAGERY FUNCTIONS AND (UNCONTROLLABLE) SOURCES OF SPORT-CONFIDENCE
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this study was to quantitatively investigate the use of functions of imagery upon sport-confidence. A sample of 120 (20+/-0.3 years) athletes, representing 9 team-sports and of 5 competitive levels completed the Movement Imagery Questionnaire-Revised (MIR-R; Hall & Martin, 1997), Sources of Sport-Confidence Questionnaire (SSCQ; Vealey, Hayashi, Garner-Holman & Giacobbi, 1998) and the Sport Imagery Questionnaire (SIQ; Hall, 1998). The MIQ-R screened for imagery ability, and Cronbach Alpha failed to replicate the internal reliability of the nine-factor structure of the SSCQ (Vealey et al., 1998). Situational favorableness and vicarious experience factors were eliminated from the study and the remaining sources labelled controllable or uncontrollable. Due to the dominance of athletes’ dependence upon uncontrollable sources of sport-confidence "high uncontrollable" and "low uncontrollable" groups were created. A one way repeated measure analysis of variance (ANOVA) was run between the two sport-confidence groups and the five functions of imagery. Findings of this study suggested that athletes highly reliant upon uncontrollable sources of sport-confidence used the imagery functions cognitive specific (mean low uncontrollable (MLU)= 23.58, mean high uncontrollable (MHU)= 28.00), cognitive general (MLU= 22.24, MHU= 26.10), motivational specific (MLU= 27, MHU= 28.00) and motivational general-mastery (MLU=24.98, MHU=27.43) significantly more than those who do not rely so heavily upon uncontrollable sources. In addition, motivational general-mastery was the function most used by all athletes and was thought to most likely enhance sport-confidence levels. Practical implications of this study suggested practitioners should not shape interventions based upon Vealey et al.’s (1998) broad domains but instead the controllability of the sources of confidence. Also, functions of imagery should be practiced to help protect athletes’ belief in sport and maintain sport-confidence if availability of a source were to be removed. Future research should look to establish the application of confidence sources as either controllable or uncontrollable and investigate the differences between the use of imagery and confidence dependent upon athlete’s gender and competition standard.
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