a1 University of Applied Sciences, Van Hall Larenstein (Wageningen UR), Postbus 411 6700 AK Wageningen, The Netherlands
a2 University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
Research into other sports has shown that excessive levels of anxiety can undermine motor function during performance. This study aims to investigate the effects of anxiety and self-confidence on equestrian performance. Forty riders (12 male, 28 female; 15 elite, 25 non-elite; 12 dressage, 17 showjumping, 11 eventing) completed the Revised Competitive Sport Anxiety Inventory 2 (CSAI-2R), which measures the levels of somatic and cognitive anxiety (arousal) as well as levels of self-confidence. Two-way between-subjects MANOVA tests were used to examine competence-by-discipline interactions and gender-by-discipline interactions in CSAI-2R scores. Post hoc analysis was conducted using one-way univariate ANOVA tests. Spearman's rank correlation tests were conducted between each of the CSAI-2R subscales according to competence, discipline and gender. Most important findings include lower somatic arousal and higher self-confidence in elite compared with non-elite riders, with 15.2 ± 4.4 vs. 19.0 ± 5.0, F1,34 = 5.8, P < 0.05; 31.5 ± 4.8 vs. 25.1 ± 7.4, P < 0.01, respectively. Negative correlations between cognitive arousal and self-confidence were found among elite riders, non-elite riders, showjumpers and female riders (r = − 0.69, P < 0.005; r = − 0.41, P < 0.05; r = − 0.52, P < 0.05; r = − 0.33, P < 0.05). Greater riding-specific skills in the elite rider may result in increased self-confidence. Lower levels of somatic anxiety may further increase fine motor skills in elite riders. Practical implications are that non-elite riders would benefit from sport psychological interventions increasing levels of self-confidence and reducing symptoms of somatic arousal to improve performance.
(Received September 21 2008)
(Accepted April 05 2009)