The aims of this field-based study were to evaluate the effects of a cognitive intervention technique and to further examine the anxiety–performance relationship in semiprofessional soccer players. Participants completed a composite version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) 20 minutes before three soccer league matches. Two experimental groups, one suffering from debilitative cognitive anxiety (n = 8), one suffering from debilitative somatic anxiety (n = 8), undertook a 12-week cognitive intervention. Player performances were evaluated using intraindividual criteria. A series of two-way analyses of variance (group and event), with repeated measures on the second factor, indicated significant Group × Event interactions for cognitive anxiety intensity and direction, and somatic anxiety intensity and direction, yet failed to reveal significant interactions or main effects for the performance measures. This study provided partial support for the “matching hypothesis” in that a compatible treatment proved more effective in reducing the targeted anxiety in both experimental groups.
Ian W. Maynard and Martin J. Smith are with the Chichester Institute at Bishop Otter College, College Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 4PE, U.K. Lawrence Warwick-Evans is with the Department of Psychology at the University of Southampton, High-field, Southampton, U.K.