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The Psychological Characteristics of Performance Under Pressure in Professional Rugby Union Referees / Denise Hill; Nic Matthews; Ruth Senior

The Sport Psychologist, Volume: 30, Issue: 4, Pages: 376 - 387

Swansea University Author: Denise, Hill

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DOI (Published version): 10.1123/tsp.2015-0109

Abstract

This study used qualitative methods to explore the stressors, appraisal mechanism, emotional response, and effective/ineffective coping strategies experienced by elite rugby union referees during pressurized performances. Participants included seven male rugby union referees from the United Kingdom...

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Published in: The Sport Psychologist
ISSN: 0888-4781 1543-2793
Published: 2016
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa35679
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Abstract: This study used qualitative methods to explore the stressors, appraisal mechanism, emotional response, and effective/ineffective coping strategies experienced by elite rugby union referees during pressurized performances. Participants included seven male rugby union referees from the United Kingdom (Mage = 27.85, SD = 4.56) who had been officiating as full-time professionals for between 1 and 16 years (M = 4.85, SD = 5.42). Data revealed that the referees encountered a number of stressors, which were appraised initially as a ‘threat’, and elicited negatively-toned emotions. The referees were able to maintain performance standards under pressure by adopting proactive, problem- and emotion-focused coping strategies which managed effectively the stressors and their emotions. However, the use of avoidance-coping, reactive control, and informal impression management were perceived as ineffective coping strategies, and associated with poor performance and choking. Recommendations are offered to inform the psychological skills training of rugby union referees.
Keywords: stress process, choking under pressure, clutch performance, coping
College: College of Engineering
Issue: 4
Start Page: 376
End Page: 387