AbstractWomen athletes have expressed hesitation regarding adopting self-compassion in sport, stating that self-compassion may lead to complacency while self-criticism helps them achieve their goals in sport (Ferguson et al., 2014; Sutherland et al., 2014). However, quantitative research has identified that self-compassion is, and self-criticism is not, related to women athletes' sport performance perceptions (Killham et al., 2018). The contrasting findings suggest that the relationship between self-compassion and sport performance perceptions is complex. Moreover, perceived importance of competitive events might further impact how athletes perceive and relate to their sport performance experiences. The current study adopted a qualitative collective case study approach to explore and describe women athletes' self-compassion, sport performance perceptions around an athlete-identified important competitive event. Nine competitive women athletes between 19 and 27 years participated in one-on-one interviews before and after their self-identified event. Data were analyzed and are represented by a holistic case description, one overarching theme Continuing to Excel in Sport, and two sub-themes: (i) Re-framing Criticism and (ii) A Determined Approach. The generated themes indicate that the athletes benefit from a self-compassionate perspective during the preparing, competing, and reflecting stages of their important competitive events. Overall, the results highlight that women athletes utilize self-compassion to promote their sport performance perceptions when at different times and for a variety of reasons around their important competitive events to excel in sport. This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
Acknowledgments: This research was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).