A Naturalistic Study of the Directional Interpretation Process of Discrete Emotions during High-Stakes Table Tennis Matches

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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The purpose of this study was to explore the directional interpretation process of discrete emotions experienced by table tennis players during competitive matches by adopting a naturalistic qualitative video-assisted approach. Thirty self-confrontation interviews were conducted with 11 national table tennis players (2 or 3 matches per participants). Nine discrete emotions were identified through the inductive analyses of the participants' transcriptions: anger, anxiety, discouragement, disappointment, disgust, joy, serenity, relief, and hope. Inductive analyses revealed the emergence of 4 categories and 13 themes among the 9 discrete emotions: positive direction (increased concentration, increased motivation, increased confidence, positive sensations, and adaptive behaviors), negative direction (decreased concentration, decreased motivation, too confident, decreased confidence, negative sensations, and maladaptive behaviors), neutral direction (take more risk and take less risk), and no perceived influence on own performance. Results are discussed in terms of current research on directional interpretation and emotions in sport.

Martinent is with the Centre de Recherche et d'Innovation sur le Sport, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, France. Ferrand is with the Centre de Recherche et d'Innovation sur le sport, Université de Lyon—Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Villeurbanne France.

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