Psychountaki, M., & Zervas, Y. (2000). Competitive worries, sport confidence, and performance ratings for young swimmers. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 91, 87-94.

Young swimmers (boys = 77; girls = 66; aged 11-12 yr) completed trait and state questions to measure competitive worries and sport confidence in noncompetitive and competitive settings. Tests used were the Trait Competitive Worries Inventory for Children, the Trait Sport Confidence Questionnaire for Children, the State Competitive Worries Inventory for Children, and the State Sport Confidence Questionnaire for Children. Performance measures were coaches' ratings of each swimmer's particular performance outcomes in a competition compared to previous performance outcomes and the extent to goals were achieved.

There were significant relationships between the trait and state measures, General Self-confidence, and performance ratings between the two meets. There were significant differences in state variables among swimmers with moderate or high and low trait scores. Performances were also different between swimmers with high and low General Self-confidence and positive thinking in races. Trait General Self-confidence and trait Confidence in Unfavorable Situations were the most important predictors of young swimmers' performances.

Confident and competent swimmers perform better than those who are worried, lack self-direction (confidence), and have an habitual negative and/or insecure disposition. Mental skills training that produces confidence and strategies for pre-competition and competition behaviors are likely to produce more favorable trait characteristics in deficient age-group swimmers.

Implication. Young swimmers who are insecure and negative are not likely to perform well in competitions.

[Resource: Rushall, B. S. (1994). How to develop healthy attitudes towards racing in age-group swimmers. Spring Valley, CA: Sports Science Associates. Published in Sydney, Australia, by New South Wales Swimming Association Incorporated.]

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