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The present study examines cricketers’ perceptions of emotional interactions between competitors. Semistructured interviews with 12 male professional cricketers explored experiences (i.e., emotions, cognitions, behaviors) relating to incidents during competition where they or an opponent attempted to evoke an emotional reaction (e.g., sledging). Cricketers described their use of sledging as aggressive actions and verbal interactions with the aim of disrupting concentration and altering the emotional states of opponents. They described experiencing a variety of emotions (e.g., anxiety, anger) in response to opponents’ attempts at interpersonal emotion regulation; linguistic analyses indicated that both positive than negative emotions were experienced. A range of strategies in response to competitors’ deliberate attempts at interpersonal emotion regulation were outlined. The present study extends previous research investigating interpersonal emotion regulation within teams by indicating that professional cricketers are aware of the impact of cognitions and emotions on performance and attempt to negatively influence these factors in competitors.
P. Davis and L. Davis are with the Dept. of Sport, Exercise, and Rehabilitation, Inst. for Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. Wills and Appleby are with the Dept. of Sport, Exercise, and Rehabilitation, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Nieuwenhuys is with the Behavioral Science Inst., Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands, and the Dept. of Exercise Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.