INSIDE THE RED ZONE: AN EXISTENTIAL PHENOMENOLOGICAL LOOK AT THE EXPERIENCE OF ANGER IN COMPETITIVE TENNIS PLAYERS
Hilary Cornelius, Pine Crest School, USA
Theme: Anxiety, stress, and emotions
Poster Number: 3
Program ID: POS-1
Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Despite the vast research that is available about emotions and their effects on sport performance, little is known about the experience of anger during tennis competition. Current theories about emotion and sport performance look to examine the predictability of behavior during competition however do not give voice to the first person perspective of anger during competition. Qualitative research about emotional experiences during sport competition is limited. This study attempted to address this gap in the research by analyzing ten different interviews from a qualitative existential phenomenological perspective. The ten participants in this study ranged from age 18 to 43 years. All participants in this study had competed in tennis at a NCAA Division I college level or a professional level. During the interviews, each participant was asked, “When you think about your experience with anger in tennis during competition, what stands out for you?” Those interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative analysis of the interviews revealed meaning units, themes and sub-themes. The final thematic structure revealed Maturity as a ground from which all themes emerged. From that ground two dimensions were discovered: Elements of Anger, and Management of Anger. Those dimensions contained four themes within Elements of anger, and six themes within Management of anger. The results of this study found the theoretical ground, Maturity to be central to each participant’s experience as many struggled when dealing with anger at a young age, but gradually learned how to cope with it through experience. The current research has found some new findings based on these interviews. The results of this study offer practical implications for those who support competitive tennis players such as, coaches, sport psychology professionals, and parents who hope to gain understanding into this emotional experience to help those who struggle in dealing with anger in tennis.