The intensity and direction of perceived competitive anxiety, self-confidence levels and the effect these have on performance in elite trampolining
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of the current study was to qualitatively analyse the perceived symptoms of competitive state anxiety in elite trampolinists, to examine how they interoperated these symptoms in relation to their performance and how they viewed confidence as a predictor of performance. The participants consisted of three elite male trampolinists and four elite female trampolinists who aged 18-22 (Mage=20.2 & SD=1.25). Consistent with qualitative methods, semi-structured interviews took place, were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis of the interview transcripts included inductive and deductive methods. Elite trampolinists interoperations of their cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms were established in the form of four causal networks displaying causal streams. The causal networks display that participants identified four symptoms perceived as facilitative and seven symptoms perceived as debilitative. Interestingly, there were four somatic symptoms and one cognitive symptom perceived to be facilitative by some performers and debilitative by others. The causal streams also showed that all symptoms perceived as facilitative lead to an increase in performance and all symptoms perceived as debilitative lead to a decrease in performance. Self-confidence was found to have a positive linear relationship with performance and high levels of self-confidence were deemed to protect against debilitating interoperations of competitive anxiety. A common theme performers portrayed was to reduce the negative effects of anxiety, with the use of coping strategies such as imagery and breathing techniques. Practical implications suggest that cognitive restructuring programmes and intervention strategies should be implemented by coaches to instil facilitative anxiety perceptions and high self-confidence levels in to their performers thus, increasing the probability of enhancing performance.
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