Thinking Aloud: Stress and coping in junior cricket batsman during challenge and threat states



McGreary MJ, Eubank MR, Morris R & Whitehead AE (2020) Thinking Aloud: Stress and coping in junior cricket batsman during challenge and threat states. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 127 (6), pp. 1095-1117.

The present study examined stress and coping of cricket batsmen during challenge and threat states using the Think-Aloud method. Ten male elite-level junior cricket batsmen took part in the study. A repeated measures design was implemented, with participants verbalizing while both in (a) a threat state and (b) a challenge state. Participants were required to score 36 runs in 30 balls during the threat condition and 15 runs in 30 balls during the challenge condition. Verbalizations were subsequently transcribed verbatim and analyzed for stressors, coping strategies, and any other reoccurring themes. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to examine differences in the number of verbalizations made for each theme between conditions. Ten secondary themes were grouped into four primary themes; these included (a) stressors, (b) problem-focused coping, (c) emotion-focused coping, and (d) gathering information. There were significant differences( p≤0.05) between stressor verbalizations, with significantly more verbalizations made by participants during a threat state. No significant differences were found between any other themes. Thus, during a threat state, participants reported significantly more stressor verbalizations compared to a challenge state, while there were no significant differences in coping strategies reported (p>0.05). This finding offers a potential explanation for why athletic performance diminishes when in a threat state, as athletes then experience a greater number of stressors but do not report engaging in more coping strategies.

Concurrent verbalizations; stress; coping; cricket; think-aloud

Perceptual and Motor Skills: Volume 127, Issue 6

Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online08/07/2020
Date accepted by journal11/06/2020

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Dr Robert Morris

Dr Robert Morris

Associate Professor, Sport