For this discussion, choose a specific theory that is releva…

For this discussion, choose a specific theory that is relevant to sport psychology and find the most current research in the literature related to this theory. Examples include motivation theories, self-efficacy, attribution theory, and leadership theories. Then, address the following: •Summarize current information related to the theory and analyze how this theory has developed over time. •Evaluate how the current theory can be applied in a current performance context.


In the field of sport psychology, various theories have been developed to understand and explain the psychological processes and factors that influence performance in sport. One such theory is the self-efficacy theory, which has garnered significant attention in recent years. The purpose of this discussion is to summarize the most current research related to the self-efficacy theory, analyze its development over time, and evaluate its application in a current performance context.

Summary of Current Information Related to Self-efficacy Theory

Self-efficacy theory, proposed by Albert Bandura, suggests that individuals’ beliefs about their capabilities to perform a particular task or achieve a specific goal influence their behavior, effort, and persistence in that domain (Bandura, 1997). In the sport psychology context, self-efficacy relates to individuals’ beliefs in their ability to perform sports-related tasks successfully, such as making a difficult shot in basketball or executing a complex gymnastics routine.

Numerous studies have examined the relationship between self-efficacy and sport performance, with the majority finding positive associations between higher self-efficacy and better performance outcomes across a range of sports (Feltz, Short, & Sullivan, 2008; Moritz, Feltz, Fahrbach, & Mack, 2000). For example, a study by Moritz et al. (2000) found that gymnasts who reported higher self-efficacy levels were more likely to perform their routines successfully and achieve higher scores in competitions. These findings suggest that self-efficacy plays a crucial role in enhancing athletes’ performance.

Over time, self-efficacy theory has undergone further development and refinement. Initially, Bandura proposed four sources of self-efficacy information: mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and physiological and emotional states (Bandura, 1997). Mastery experiences refer to an individual’s past successes and failures in similar tasks, which shape their belief in their ability to succeed in the future. Vicarious experiences involve observing others’ successes or failures in similar tasks, which can influence an individual’s self-efficacy beliefs. Social persuasion refers to verbal encouragement or feedback from others that can impact an individual’s confidence levels. Lastly, physiological and emotional states pertain to an individual’s interpretation of their bodily sensations and emotions as indicators of their capabilities.

Since Bandura’s initial formulation, subsequent research has expanded upon these sources of self-efficacy information. For instance, researchers have recognized the importance of imagery and visualization in shaping self-efficacy beliefs (Moran, 2010). Athletes who can vividly imagine themselves performing successfully are more likely to develop higher self-efficacy, as the mental rehearsal enhances their confidence and belief in their ability to achieve their desired outcome.

Another area of development in self-efficacy theory is the distinction between general and specific self-efficacy beliefs. While general self-efficacy refers to an individual’s overall confidence in their abilities, specific self-efficacy relates to their confidence in performing a specific task or skill (Moritz et al., 2000). Research has shown that specific self-efficacy beliefs are more influential in predicting performance outcomes compared to general self-efficacy beliefs (Schunk & Pajares, 2002). For example, a tennis player may have high general self-efficacy but lower specific self-efficacy in their serve. In this case, their serve performance may be compromised despite their overall confidence in their abilities.

Evaluation of the Current Theory in a Performance Context

The self-efficacy theory has significant practical implications in sport performance contexts. By understanding the different sources of self-efficacy information and how they influence athletes’ confidence, coaches and sport psychologists can design interventions to enhance athletes’ self-efficacy beliefs and subsequently improve their performance outcomes.

One practical application of self-efficacy theory is through the use of mastery experiences. Coaches can create training environments that provide athletes with opportunities to succeed and experience mastery. By carefully designing practice drills and gradually increasing task difficulty, athletes can build a bank of successful experiences that contribute to higher self-efficacy (Feltz et al., 2008). Additionally, providing athletes with immediate feedback and reinforcement during practice can further enhance their self-efficacy beliefs.

Another application of self-efficacy theory is through the use of vicarious experiences. Coaches can use modeling techniques, where successful performances by teammates or other athletes are observed, to increase athletes’ confidence in their own abilities (Moran, 2010). By seeing others perform successfully, athletes can develop a sense of “if they can do it, I can do it too,” which can bolster their self-efficacy beliefs and motivation to achieve similar outcomes.

Furthermore, coaches and sport psychologists can employ various psychological techniques to enhance athletes’ self-efficacy. For instance, providing verbal encouragement and positive feedback, known as social persuasion, can positively impact athletes’ self-efficacy beliefs (Bandura, 1997). A coach’s words of praise and support can instill confidence in athletes and positively influence their performance. Additionally, sport psychologists can work with athletes to identify and challenge negative self-talk and irrational beliefs that may undermine their self-efficacy (Moran, 2010).

In conclusion, self-efficacy theory has developed over time and is a relevant and widely researched concept in sport psychology. Current research supports the positive association between self-efficacy and sport performance. The theory has expanded to include additional sources of self-efficacy information, such as imagery and visualization, and distinguish between general and specific self-efficacy beliefs. The application of self-efficacy theory in sport performance contexts involves creating mastery experiences, using vicarious experiences, and employing psychological techniques to enhance athletes’ self-efficacy beliefs. By understanding and utilizing self-efficacy theory, coaches and sport psychologists can help athletes enhance their confidence, motivation, and ultimately, their performance outcomes.