Does In-The-Moment Strategic Self-Talk Affect Volleyball Officials’ Refereeing Efficacy?

Aubrey Aspen, Julius Jooste*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Self-talk in sport is a valuable self-help tool for regulating one’s emotions, thoughts, and actions. This study aimed to examine whether the use of in-the-moment, strategic self-talk enhances volleyball officials’ efficacy beliefs about their refereeing decisions in match-play scenarios. The relationship between officials’ general self-talk tendencies and commonly perceived refereeing efficacy in recent matches was also investigated. A between-subjects design powered by an online Qualtrics survey was employed to recruit 62 skilled volleyball officials (Mage = 54.69, SD = 13.15 years) who were randomly assigned to strategic self-talk (experimental) or unrelated pangram statements (control) groups. Before assessing two disputed match-play situations presented as video clips, the officials were instructed to verbally reaffirm three assigned statements. Officials were then asked to rate their confidence in the accuracy and fairness of their decisions in each scenario. They also completed the Automatic Self-Talk Questionnaire for Sports and the Referee Self-Efficacy Scales. The Mann-Whitney-U test found no significant variations in decision-making beliefs to the match-play scenarios between the groups. Further analyses revealed significant associations between the study variables with organic self-talk tendencies employed to “psych up” and convey “worry” to exert significant and opposing influences on various aspects of officials’ refereeing self-efficacy. Despite these influences, it is recommended that experienced officials may already have a reservoir of experiential acumen and metacognitive skills, which may necessitate a more protracted engagement with self-talk methods under social evaluative conditions to perceive confidence shifts in volleyball decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Early online date15 Jul 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jul 2024

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