Stressors and expected performance of soccer athletes: the role of sport confidence and cognitive appraisal

Catarina Morais*, Clara Simães, A. Rui Gomes, Beatriz M. Gonçalves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aimed to provide a framework for how athletes evaluate stress before a competition and how stress relates to cognitive appraisal, sport confidence, and expectations of performance. Participants were 327 youth male athletes, aged 15- 19 years (M=16.90; SD=1.00), who competed in the Portuguese National Football League and completed a questionnaire 24-48 hr before their match, using the critical incident methodology. Results revealed that opponents were the main source of stress for athletes and that the more athletes stress about their opponents, the more they tend to perceive the situation as threatening (and less challenging), the lower their perceptions of coping and sport confidence which, in turn, predicted lower expectations of individual and collective performance. In sum, perceiving the stressful situation as either a challenge or a threat predicts young athletes' sport confidence and, consequently, expected performance when dealing with stressful competitive situations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Clinical Sport Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Challenge perception
  • Coping perception
  • Football
  • Perception of control
  • Threat perception

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