This study examined the effectiveness of a logbook and paperclip technique on awareness of the use and content of negative self-talk as well as the motivation to change negative self-talk. Participants (n = 73) completed a questionnaire measuring these variables, and were assigned to either a control, paperclip or logbook group. Participants performed three typical training sessions over a three-week period. The logbook group completed a self-talk logbook after each session whereas the paperclip group carried out a paperclip exercise during each session. Upon completion of the training sessions, the questionnaire was readministered. ANCOVAs revealed no significant differences between the groups for motivation to change and awareness of the content of negative self-talk. However, the logbook group had significantly greater awareness of their use of negative self-talk compared with the control group. A qualitative analysis of the logbook group’s use of negative self-talk provided insights into the situations that prompted negative self-talk, the content of the self-talk, and also the consequences of using negative self-talk. Collectively, the findings offer some support for the use of the logbook technique in the applied setting.
Awareness and Motivation to Change Negative Self-Talk
James Hardy, Ross Roberts, and Lew Hardy
Reflections on the Maturing Research Literature of Self-Talk in Sport: Contextualizing the Special Issue
James Hardy, Nikos Comoutos, and Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis
Over the last 20 years research investigating self-talk in the context of sport has expanded rapidly enhancing our understanding of the construct. In the present article, we provide a brief historical review of the sports-oriented self-talk literature. In so doing we identify landmark investigations and review conceptual, research, and measurement themes present within the literature. We review this empirically based literature, distinguishing between three time periods: (1) the early foundations of self-talk research, up to the end of the 1990s; (2) the developmental years of systematic self-talk research during the 2000s; and (3) the modern day maturation of self-talk research, post-2011.
Effects of Self-Talk: A Systematic Review
David Tod, James Hardy, and Emily Oliver
This article presents a systematic review of the literature examining the relationship between self-talk and performance. “Second-generation questions” regarding potential mediators and moderators of the self-talk–performance relationship were also examined. A total of 47 studies were analyzed. Results indicated beneficial effects of positive, instructional, and motivational self-talk for performance. Somewhat surprisingly, two evidence-based challenges to popular current viewpoints on self-talk emerged. First, negative self-talk did not impede performance. Second, there was inconsistent evidence for the differential effects of instructional and motivational self-talk based on task characteristics. Results from the mediation-based analysis indicate that cognitive and behavioral factors had the most consistent relationships with self-talk. The findings are discussed in the context of recent theoretical advances, and the article includes recommendations for future research (e.g., the use of designs allowing the testing of meditational hypotheses) and for current applied practice (e.g., avoiding the use of thought-stopping techniques).
Chunking, Conscious Processing, and EEG During Sequence Acquisition and Performance Pressure: A Comprehensive Test of Reinvestment Theory
Eduardo Bellomo, Andrew Cooke, and James Hardy
This study was designed to test the theorized link between reinvestment, motor chunks, and conscious processing, to provide a thorough examination of reinvestment theory. The authors measured electroencephalographic power and connectivity alongside self-reported conscious processing and behavioral indices of chunking in a 2 (group) × 5 (block) mixed-model design. A total of 55 individuals acquired a motor sequence (blocks A1, A2, A3, and A4) by relatively explicit (errorful) or implicit (errorless) paradigms. Then they performed in a pressure condition (block T). Results confirmed that chunking characterizes both modes of acquisition. However, explicit acquisition resulted in quicker chunking, reduced conscious processing, and increased cortical efficiency (left-temporal high-alpha power). In support of reinvestment theory, self-reported conscious processing tended to increase under pressure among explicit trainees only. In contrast to reinvestment theory, this had no adverse effect on performance. The results endorse explicit acquisition as an effective mode of training and provide a new neurophysiological explanation of this phenomenon.
A Descriptive Study of Athlete Self-Talk
James Hardy, Kimberley Gammage, and Craig Hall
In this descriptive study, the four Ws (i.e., where, when, what, and why) of the use of self-talk were examined. Varsity athletes (78 male, 72 female), with a mean age of 20.68 years (SD = 1.90) read a self-statement oriented definition of self-talk and then answered the four questions in an open-ended format. Athletes reported using self-talk most frequently while partaking in their sports (when), at sport related venues (where). The “what” or content of self-talk use was categorized into five themes: nature, structure, person, task instructions, and miscellaneous. With regard to why athletes use self-talk, two main themes emerged from the data: cognitive and motivational. It was possible to further classify the two themes into seemingly specific and general levels, similar to Paivio’s (1985) classification of athletes’ use of mental imagery. Results for the present study provide descriptive data for the development of a conceptual frame work for the use of self-talk.
Valued Insight or Act of Insubordination? How Context Shapes Coaches’ Perceptions of Challenge-Oriented Followership
Marcus Gottlieb, Mark Eys, James Hardy, and Alex J. Benson
Effective leadership is a collaborative effort, requiring a degree of complementarity in how people enact roles of leadership and followership. Using a novel online vignette methodology, we experimentally tested how three contextual factors influenced coaches’ responses to challenge-oriented acts of followership, as well as investigated two potential mechanisms. Coaches (N = 232) watched videos of an athlete provided unsolicited challenge-oriented feedback to a coach. Videos varied by the (a) athlete’s status, (b) presence of third-party observers, and (c) stage of the decision-making process. Following the video, we assessed coaches’ evaluations of the athlete. Challenge-oriented followership was perceived more favorably when enacted by an athlete in one-on-one (vs. in a group) and before a decision has been reached (vs. after a decision is reached). Coaches may appreciate proactivity from athletes in positions of followership, but challenge-oriented followership behaviors enacted at the wrong time and place can elicit negative reactions.
A Closer Look at How Self-Talk Influences Skilled Basketball Performance
Behrouz Abdoli, James Hardy, Javad F. Riyahi, and Alireza Farsi
Empirical literature addressing the effectiveness of self-talk for expert performers is lacking. We addressed this shortcoming within the existent literature and examined the comparative effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on basketball free throw shooting accuracy and salient movement kinematics. We recruited 20 professional basketball players to participate in a 2 × 2 pre/post-test experiment. Free throw accuracy and movement patterns were recorded, with the latter subsequently used to calculate elbow–wrist coordination variability. Results indicated superior shooting accuracy and reduced movement coordination variability for instructional self-talk compared to baseline conditions, whereas no differences emerged for motivational self-talk. Findings from the study help practitioners to better guide skilled performers how best to use self-talk; an area in urgent need of further research.
About Hitting Golf Balls in the Water: Comments on Janelle’s (1999) Article on Ironic Processes
Craig R. Hall, James Hardy, and Kimberley L. Gammage
Transformational Leadership and Task Cohesion in Sport: The Mediating Role of inside Sacrifice
Lorcan Donal Cronin, Calum Alexander Arthur, James Hardy, and Nichola Callow
In this cross-sectional study, we examined a mediational model whereby transformational leadership is related to task cohesion via sacrifice. Participants were 381 American (M age = 19.87 years, SD = 1.41) Division I university athletes (188 males, 193 females) who competed in a variety of sports. Participants completed measures of coach transformational leadership, personal and teammate inside sacrifice, and task cohesion. After conducting multilevel mediation analysis, we found that both personal and teammate inside sacrifice significantly mediated the relationships between transformational leadership behaviors and task cohesion. However, there were differential patterns of these relationships for male and female athletes. Interpretation of the results highlights that coaches should endeavor to display transformational leadership behaviors as they are related to personal and teammate inside sacrifices and task cohesion.
Bulls in a China Shop: Narcissism, Intragroup Conflict, and Task Cohesion
Matt W. Boulter, James Hardy, Ross Roberts, and Tim Woodman
When given opportunities for personal glory in individual settings, people high in narcissism excel. However, less is known about narcissists’ influence in team contexts. Across two studies (utilizing cross-sectional and two-wave longitudinal designs) involving 706 athletes from 68 teams in total, we tested a conceptual model linking narcissism to task cohesion, via intragroup conflict, moderated by narcissistic group composition. We tested a new sports-oriented measure of intragroup conflict using Bayesian estimation and evaluated our theorizing using a multilevel conditional indirect effect hybrid model. Across both studies, we found that narcissism influenced perceptions of task cohesion via process conflict only, with a negative influence at low narcissistic group composition that was weakened (Study 1) or nullified (Study 2) at high narcissistic team composition. Collectively, these findings offer the first example of how narcissism influences task cohesion in team settings and the contextual effects of narcissistic group composition.