A Qualitative examination of sport-confidence within semi professional
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The study aims were twofold. To determine where (N=6) (27.17 + 6.01) male semiprofessional football players were more self-confident playing in relation to game location. To build upon this, the study aimed to explore the factors that positively or negatively impacted upon one’s sport-confidence within various game locations. The rationale of the study was due to the paucity within research of sport-confidence and the home advantage considering the semi-professional football player. Despite being long-standing, the lack of understanding within the home advantage phenomenon is apparent. In light of this and the study aims, qualitative research methods were utilised in order to comprehend the underlying mechanisms of sport-confidence in relation to game location better. Within this, semi-structured interviews were conducted while the raw data was content analysed using an integrated analysis approach. The results were presented in a series of schematic models and narrative forms in order to clarify the higher order themes. The study reported five of the six participants to be more confident playing at a home venue as opposed to an away one. While, the factors that were found to have a bearing on one’s sport-confidence within game location included; crowd influence (support, pressure and abuse), mental preparation (environmental comfort, crowd reputation and travel time), physical preparation (arrival time and travel time) and tactical preparation (performance accomplishments, evaluation of opposition, environmental comfort and team set up). With regards to theoretical implications, the study reinforced the interactive nature in which game location factors exist, that can arguably explain why the home advantage has been so difficult to comprehend within research. In relation to practice however, this study provides recommendations in line with literature to optimise the impact of the sport-confidence of semi-professional football players within various game locations. The study demonstrated limitations in relation with credibility and so, a longitudinal prospective study is advised to further enhance this research area.
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