The Effects of Self-Focus On Affect and Vertical Jump Performance of NCAA Athletes

Thomas G. Hammond, Henry (Hap) Davis IV, Leonard Ziachowsky


Self-focused attention is often associated with a process of evaluation that has implications for affect, motivation and performance. However, this topic has received little attention in elite sport. Thus, the aim of this study was to understand the relationship between self-focused attention, affective responses and physical performance of successfully (n=12) and unsuccessful (n=12) NCAA athletes. Each athlete was presented with a self-focused and other-focused condition. They provided ratings of positive affect and then completed vertical squat jumps after each stimulus condition. Significant interactions were observed between stimulus condition and athlete performance group for all dependent variables. Successful athletes demonstrated significantly more positive affect, and greater jump height and energy output following the self-focused condition. The opposite trend was observed for unsuccessful athletes. These findings highlight the potential for self-focused attention to enhance or detract from sport performance based on the direction of self-discrepancies.

Keywords: self-focused attention, self-evaluation, elite athletes, positive affect, athletic performance

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