What are athletes saying to themselves? Self-talk and motivation in youth tennis




Thibodeaux, Christopher Jordan

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The current study explores what young tennis players actually say to themselves and what they report they say, the associations between observed and reported speech, and the relation of self-talk to tennis performance, personal sport motivation, the coach climate, and coach promotion of self-talk. Twenty-eight tennis players (ages 9 to 17 years) were recruited from a competitive camp. They were video and audio recorded in practice while wearing a wireless microphone, and private speech was reliably coded into positive, negative, instructional, and motivational categories. Participants were also live-coded during match play using the Self-Talk and Gestures Rating Scale (STAGRS). Subjects also reported their self-talk on the Self-Talk Use Questionnaire (STUQ), the Automatic Self-Talk Questionnaire for Sport (ASTQS), and gave post-match examples of the private speech they used. Players also reported their personal motivation for sport using the Achievement Goal Scale for Youth Sports (AGSYS), indicated their self-efficacy for tennis, and gave their perceptions of the coach motivational climate using the Motivational Climate Scale for Youth Sports (MCSYS), and their coach’s promotion of self-talk.



Developmental psychology, Psychology, Motivation, Private speech, Self-talk, Youth sports, Youth tennis