Exploring team-confidence sources and how confidence influences performance

Ian Maynard, Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom

Theme: Anxiety, stress, and emotions

Poster Number: 83

Program ID: POS-2

Presentation: October 4, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


It has been reported that confidence modifies how athletes think and feel about what happens to them in sport (Vealey, 2001). The present study adopted Vealey's (2001) integrative model of sport confidence as a conceptual framework to (a) explore sources of team-confidence and (b) to understand how confidence influences athletes' cognitions, affects, and behaviors to impact on team-performance. The participants were 12 female field hockey players (Mage = 23.6 years) competing, as a team, in the English National League. A focus group interview was conducted to identify sources of team-confidence and also factors that debilitated it. Individual follow-up interviews were conducted to understand how confidence influences athletes' thoughts, feelings and behaviours. To analyze the interviews, QSR*NVIVO 9 was used to conduct a thematic content analysis (Lincoln & Guba, 1995), and emerging themes were presented to two researchers for discussion and agreement throughout this process. Team-confidence sources were captured by five higher-order themes (i.e., togetherness, training/preparation, influential leadership, previous game experience, positive game-play). Debilitating factors included previous experience, loss of player, pressure, and disruption to routine. When team-confidence was perceived to be higher, several key themes emerged capturing athletes' thoughts (e.g., trust, process/task focused, positive talk), feelings (excitement, increased effort, assertive), and behaviors (e.g., risk-taking, unity in play, non-verbal communications). During periods of perceived lower team-confidence key themes were identified to capture athletes' thoughts (e.g., outcome concerns, focus on opposition, fear of errors), feelings (e.g., nervous, frustration, panic), and behaviors (hesitant, negative body language, out of position/team-sync). The study findings demonstrate that sources of team-confidence can differ from an individual's sources. Togetherness (i.e., support, professional appearance) and leadership from captains on the field can play an important role in maintaining team-confidence. Understanding the mechanisms underpinning why (e.g., the thought processes) confidence influences team-performance can assist in tailoring sport-specific interventions.

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