SELF-CONFIDENCE AND THE ACCURACY OF PERCEPTIONS OF ABILITY AMONG SKILLED AND NON-SKILLED GOLFERS: AN APPLICATION OF THE CALIBRATION PARADIGM
 
Fogarty, G., Else, D. and Graham, C., University of Southern Queensland, Australia
 
Do athletes know what they can do? That is, are athletes' self-reported beliefs about their competence actually in accordance with what they can do, or do these estimates represent systematic biases in self-judgement that lead to states of under-confidence or over-confidence? This question has obvious relevance, especially in the sports domain, where we are familiar with the concept of peoples' perceptions of their own ability, and the impact these perceptions have on performance. To answer this question we used the calibration paradigm to measure bias in a sample of 54 male golfers varying widely in age (13 to 75 years) and ability level (1 to 27 handicap). Golfers were required to fill out self-confidence questionnaires relating to putting and chipping skills. They were then required to complete a putting task and a chipping task (20 trials each) after first estimating how well they would perform on each of the tasks. The exercise was repeated once. Results indicated that golfers tended to be reasonably well-calibrated on the putting tasks but overconfident on the chipping tasks. Regarding ability level, better golfers set more conservative targets on both chipping and putting tasks and on the chipping tasks these turned out to be more realistic. They also made more realistic adjustments to their estimates following feedback gained on earlier trials. Discussion centers around the potential benefits of using the calibration paradigm in a range of sports as an adjunct to interventions by sports psychologists.