Beliefs and performance
The cognitions, or thought processes, in which an athlete engages may be critical to performance. A 1996 study by Williams and Leffingwell, Cognitive strategies in sport and exercise psychology, found several assumptions underlie the use of cognitive-behavioral inventions:
- Cognitions can affect athletic performance.
- These thought processes can be changed.
- This change can influence behavioral change, and therefore, improve performance.
They identified several areas of irrational beliefs that may affect an athlete’s performance. In particular, they indicated that perfectionist demands may cause a poor self-concept or feelings of inadequacy, which increase the likelihood of failure. However, they distinguish between perfectionist demands and perfectionist desires indicating that a perfectionist desire, which is achievable and not judgmental, may increase the likelihood of success. Other irrational beliefs include:
- Considering failure a catastrophe
- Basing self-worth on achievement
- Focusing on fairness in competition
- Generalizing from a single performance to overall competence