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This study examined feeling states prior to, during, and after best ever and worst ever competition in 85 skilled Russian athletes using metaphor-generation method (Hanin, 2000). Six situations elicited 510 idiosyncratic and functionally meaningful metaphors (67% animate and 33% inanimate agents) and 922 interpretative descriptors. Metaphors and descriptors reflected high action readiness in best ever competition and low action readiness in worst ever competition. Athletes used different metaphors to describe their feelings prior to, during, and after performance. Accompanying idiosyncratic descriptors had multiple connotations with different components of psychobiosocial state. Aggregated content of descriptors had high scores on optimal and low scores on dysfunctional state characteristics in best ever competition but not in worst ever competition. Future research directions and practical implications are suggested.
Yuri L. Hanin is Professor & Senior Researcher at KIHU-Research Institute for Olympic Sports in Rautpohjankatu 6, Jyväskylä, 47000 Finland. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Natalia B. Stambulova is currently with the Department of Social and Health Services at Halmstad University, Box 823 301 18, Halmstad, Sweden.