Anxiety And Self-confidence Levels Of Elite South African Crawl Stroke Swimmers And Its Relationship With Performance

Por: Ben Coetzee, Hans de Ridder e Heinrich Grobbelaar.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Optimally developed psychological skills are regarded as important determinants of sport success. The effect of certain
skills, such as anxiety and self-confidence on swimming performance has received considerable attention in the
literature [1-4]. Unfortunately, little information exists on the current sport psychological skill levels of South African
swimmers, and the effect thereof on their performances. The purpose of this study was, therefore, firstly to determine
the somatic and cognitive anxiety as well as the self-confidence levels (and the perceived effect of these constructs
towards performance) of elite crawl stroke swimmers. The second purpose was to determine the correlation between
these constructs and the performances of these swimmers.

27 swimmers (15 male, 19.0±3.36 yrs, 12 female, 17.7±2.45 yrs) were tested during the 2001 South African National
Swimming Championships. The Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-II (CSAI-II, [5]) with an additional perception
scale as well as a general questionnaire were used to gather information regarding the type and frequency of sport
psychological skills used by these swimmers.

No significant gender differences were observed for any of the measured construct levels. Statistically significant
correlations were revealed for the females, pertaining to the perceived effect of somatic (200m) and cognitive anxiety
(400m & 800m) on performance. The results of the female swimmers are reported in Table 1.

These findings support the notion that swimmers do not spend enough time on the psychological preparation for
swimming competitions, even though it is indicated as important determinants of success. It emphasises the role that
coaches, Sport Scientists and Sport Psychologists need to play in the development of a broad range of optimally
developed sport psychological skills for enhanced swimming performances.

[1]. Burton, D (1988). J Sport & Exercise Psy, 10, 45-61
[2]. Hanton, S. & Jones, G (1995). Int. J. Sport Pscyhol., 26, 512-523.
[3]. Hanton, S. & Jones, G (1997). Psychological Reports, 81, 1139-1147.
[4]. Hanton, S. & Connaughton, D (2002). RQES, 73, 87-97.
[5]. Martens, R. et al. (1990). Competitive anxiety in sport. Champaign, Ill. : Human Kinetics Publishers

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