Fluctuation of cognitive-emotional states during competition: an idiographic account
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The purpose of this paper is to describe athletes’ cognitive-emotional processes during competitions through an idiographic and ecologically valid study method based on verbal protocols and event sequential analyses. A world-class marksman and regional-level marksman filled in an affect grid after each shot during several competitions. Verbal reports were collected after each set by a delayed retrospective recall method and compared according to perceived performance periods. Event sequential analyses were conducted. The results showed distinct interpersonal patterns of affective states fluctuations and self-regulation strategies. Furthermore, intrapersonal patterns as a function of perceived performance were also identified. We suggest that the proposed methods are useful in studying athletes’ cognitive-emotional processes during ongoing competitions, as they ensure high ecological validity and provide in-depth information for more effective, individually-tailored interventions.