The perception of home advantage and its effect on self-confidence from the viewpoint of female football players.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Literature suggests that there is evidence that playing at home may be advantageous for performance. However, there is little understanding of how athletes perceive playing at home and which factors influence this perception. There is further lack of research focusing on female athletes. There is seemingly an inherent link between home advantage and Vealey’s (1998) sports confidence model, as environmental comfort is highlighted as a source of confidence akin to the perceptions of playing at home. The purpose of this study was to investigate perceptions held by female footballers surrounding home advantage and its relationship with confidence. This study adopted a qualitative methodology using two semi-structured interviews. Four female football players were selected of this study. Each participant completed two interviews, one after a home game and one away after an away game. The results were separated by location into home and away, then related to home advantage and sport confidence throughout. Importantly, all participants perceived that home advantage existed and believed that it was important. In line with Carron and Courneya’s (1992) game location framework, the results showed that participants felt the crowd, travel, familiarity and referee were all contributing factors to the relationship between confidence and perceived home advantage. Additional factors that merged from the results were preparation and pre-game routine. The results of this study may help coaches and practitioners to understand the participant’s perceptions of influential game location factors. Individuals may draw upon this information to maximise home advantage and increase participant’s self-confidence.
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