Self-Talk in a SCUBA Diving Context

in The Sport Psychologist
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Theory suggests that matching self-talk to sport demands can result in performance benefits, but the effects of self-talk in adventure-sport contexts that feature high risk (e.g., self-contained underwater breathing apparatus [SCUBA] diving) have not been studied. This research explored the effects of instructional and motivational self-talk in a high-risk adventure-sport context. Students (N = 78) enrolled in SCUBA diving courses were randomly assigned to self-talk (instructional, motivational) or control conditions; practiced self-talk and SCUBA diving skills; rated their levels of effort, confidence, and focus; and were evaluated during certification dives. Results indicated that participants gained confidence over time. The instructional-self-talk group reported being significantly more focused and confident during certification dives than the motivational-self-talk group. These results demonstrate the efficacy of matching self-talk to task demands in the high-risk context of adventure sports.

VanRaalte and Brewer are with the Dept. of Psychology, Springfield College, Springfield, MA. VanRaalte is also with Wuhan Sports University. Wilson is with the Kinesiology and Nutrition Dept., Abilene Christian University, Abilene, TX. Cornelius is with Psychology, University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs, CO.

VanRaalte (jvanraal@springfieldcollege.ed) is corresponding author.
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