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Pre-competitive confidence, coping, and subjective performance in sport

Levy, Andrew R.; Nicholls, A. R.; Polman, R. C.J.


Andrew R. Levy

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Professor Adam Nicholls
Professor of Psychology/ Leader of the Sport Psychology and Coaching Group

R. C.J. Polman


The primary aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between confidence and subjective performance in addition to exploring whether coping mediated this relationship. A sample of 414 athletes completed a measure of confidence before performance. Athletes also completed a measure of coping and subjective performance after competing. Correlational findings revealed that confidence was positively and significantly associated with subjective performance. Furthermore, mediational analysis found that coping partly mediated this relationship. In particular, task-oriented coping (i.e., mental imagery) and disengagement-oriented coping (i.e., resignation) had positive and negative mediational effects, respectively. Additionally, athletes who employed mental imagery generally coped more effectively than those using resignation. These findings imply mental imagery has the potential not only to improve confidence, but also subsequent performance, while resignation coping may have the opposite effect. Overall, these results lend some credence to Vealey's integrated sports confidence model.


Levy, A. R., Nicholls, A. R., & Polman, R. C. (2011). Pre-competitive confidence, coping, and subjective performance in sport. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 21(5), 721-729.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 23, 2009
Online Publication Date Mar 10, 2010
Publication Date Sep 14, 2011
Journal Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Print ISSN 0905-7188
Electronic ISSN 1600-0838
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 5
Pages 721-729
Keywords Self-belief; Coping effectiveness; Imagery; Self-efficacy; Instrument development; Anxiety strategies; Players; Conceptualization; Orientation moderator models
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