The prediction of sporting performance is clearly important to athletes and coaches. It has been suggested (Bandura, 1977) that one's expectations are more important predictors of behavior than is previous behavior. Evidence to support this covers a number of tasks, including physical strength and sporting activities. The present study, involving 14 girl gymnasts, examines the accuracy of athletes' expectations, their coach's expectations, and their previous competition scores as predictors of competition performance. Athletes' expectations are found to be more accurate estimates than are previous scores, while coach's expectations are more accurate still. A person's expectations seem to be important variables even in sports requiring a high degree of physical skill, and this finding has important implications for sport psychology.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Christina Lee, Department of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia.