Background For football referees supervision of a match means significant mental burden. Referees experience higher level of anxiety and fear1 which are typical manifestations of negative pre-match states.2 As a result of a completed match levels of components of depression and exhaustion increase.1 Our goal was to verify the correlation between these two components.
Methods Our research sample consisted of 26 male football referees who supervise football competitions in one of the 14 regions of the Czech Republic. For evaluation of their subjective psychological experiences and states the standardised questionnaire SUPSO3 was used. The questionnaire was filled in twice: before the match and immediately after the match. Ratio of predominant temperament components was evaluated using standardised Belov's temperament test.4 In the statistical analysis Spearman's coefficient of rank correlation and partial correlation coefficient were used.
Results Pre-match values of anxiety and fear component statistically significantly correlate with the values of component of depression and exhaustion. This serial dependence remained stastically significant even after exclusion of implications of referees' temperament.
Conclusions Negative pre-match mental states of football referees worsen their ability to cope with the supervised match on a psychological level. “Pre-match fever” can lead to premature exhaustion, while apathy can lead to insufficient activation. Regulation of these negative pre-match states can improve coping with mental burden during a football match.
Pre-match preparation should therefore focus more on regulating the referees' actual mental state (“pre-start mental state”).
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