Coping under pressure: cognitive strategies for maintaining confidence among soccer referees

Wolfson, Sandy and Neave, Nick (2007) Coping under pressure: cognitive strategies for maintaining confidence among soccer referees. Journal of Sport Behavior, 30 (2). pp. 232-247. ISSN 0162-7341

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Referees are routinely subjected to a wide range of potential physical and psychological stressors, yet little is known about the extent to which these are perceived as aversive or the mechanisms which motivate officials to maintain their activities. The purpose of this study was to give experienced soccer referees the opportunity to offer explanations for and responses to criticism and abuse. A 4-page postal questionnaire was completed by 42 referees. Results indicated that an average of over 16 hours per week was spent on refereeing duties, and 71% of the respondents felt physically drained after matches. However, 100% asserted that the time and energy they put into refereeing was worthwhile. A number of strategies to cope with negative evaluations were noted. The referees expect to be the object of censure by players, coaches and spectators, but use external attributions such as people’s bias and lack of knowledge to explain dissent. While admitting to making errors, they perceive their misjudgements as representing opportunities to improve. Although respecting other referees and making use of support systems, they believe that their skills are superior to those of fellow officials. They also identify their devotion to soccer, rather than the desire for power and prestige, as the main reason for their involvement. The findings portray soccer officials as confident and resilient individuals who admit to occasional errors but interpret these are positive opportunities for self-improvement. A range of coping mechanisms serve to enhance self-esteem and help referees resolve the mismatch between their perceived competence and the criticism received from others.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soccer referees, Job stress
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Related URLs:
Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2008 12:28
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 12:20

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