Allen, S. M., Jones, V. M., & Sheffield, D. (2010). The Influence of Positive Reflection on Attributions, Emotions, and Self-Efficacy. The Sport Psychologist. Human Kinetics Inc. (24, 211-226)


When athletes participate in a meaningful competition they are constantly formulating in their minds what made them succeed or fail and understand the outcomes of those events.

The aim for this study was to explore whether using positive reflection on attributes, emotions, and self-efficacy after a competition was completed can influence an athlete. According to the research done on athletes, it is more desirable to perceive attributions as under control and unstable over time after a competition because they tend to precede good decision-making, bring postitive emotion and optimistic expectations for future performances (Allen, Jones, & Sheffiled, 2010).

Taking 80 students and staff, four different measurement assessments, and using a golf putting laboratory this study provided some significant changes associated with positive reflection. Positive reflection was identified as a successful strategy for developing desirable attribution ability, although there were no significant affects seen in emotions or self-efficacy. The findings support pervious research in that winning participants made attributions that were more internal, stable and personally controllable. This would suggest that reflecting back on positive aspects of prior performances could be a useful strategy for changing casual attributions. The main finding of interest is the relationship between the personal control an athlete feels that they have over a performance, relative to locus of causality, in correspondence with positive reflection on performance (Allen, Jones, & Sheffiled, 2010). Athletes are directing their attention toward aspects of performance rather than aspects of the overall competition through this reflection, which in turn will influence locus of causality and controllability.

This study also suggests that positive reflection has even more beneficial effects when athletes’ have underperformed, giving them the heightened sense of controllability and more clear future expectations of performance. Negative reflection can also have its benefits by allowing the athlete to recognize ones skill level and using reflection to help develop motivation to improve on these skills. Overall, as an athlete, coach, or sport psychologist we can now recognize the use of reflecting on positive aspects of players’ performance during postcompetition evaluations.