The Relationship Between Stress and Coping in Table Tennis

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Dora Kurimay, Alison Pope-Rhodius, Miran Kondric

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between cognitive competitive anxiety intensity and coping strategies in table tennis players. One hundred and two (102) US competitive table tennis players of age range from 10 to 60 filled out a Revised Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2R, Cox et al., 2003) at least 30 minutes before the start of their tournament match and a Modified Cope questionnaire (MCOPE; Crocker and Graham, 1995) 15 minutes after they finished their match. Our study found significant differences between low and high cognitive competitive anxiety groups with regard to the use of coping strategies. The high cognitive competitive anxiety intensity group used significantly more behavioral disengagement (avoidance coping, p ≤ 0.05), denial coping strategies (emotion focused coping, p ≤ 0.01) compared to the low cognitive anxiety intensity group. Our results suggest that there is some connection between anxiety intensity and coping strategies. If the cognitive anxiety intensity (for example, intensity from worrying) is very high, an athlete might be more likely to use avoidance coping (such as behavioral disengagement) and emotion-focused coping (such as denial and venting of emotions) compared to athletes who have low cognitive competitive anxiety. Furthermore, gender differences in cognitive anxiety and direction were found. Confidence management techniques such as positive self-talk, breathing techniques and visualization should be taught to athletes to assist them in coping with their competitive anxiety better and to enhance their performance.
DOI: 10.1515/hukin-2017-0007
Key words
avoidance, competitive cognitive anxiety, coping strategies, emotion focused coping strategies, mental toughness, table tennis

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