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Managing pressure
Fear of failure
Stress management
self-efficacy in sport

What self-efficacy means

Self-efficacy is defined as an athlete’s confidence in their ability to perform successfully in their sport. Without confidence in their ability, an athlete is unlikely to be able to perform to the standard expected and reach their potential.

Faced with a specific situation in their sport, self-efficacy will be high if the athlete believes he or she is able to control his or her emotions and perform to the standard they themself expect and their coach and commentators expect.


Winning and performing well increase an athlete’s self-efficacy whilst performing poorly or erratically and losing tend to reduce an athlete’s self-efficacy.

Previous performance experiences have the strongest impact on whether an athlete feels confident about their ability to compete successfully but self-efficacy can be also increased through coaching and training, positive feedback and other mental skills training techniques such as positive self-talk, visualization and relaxation.

Keys to self-efficacy

Here are some keys to raising your confidence in your ability to perform successfully.

  Avoid comparing yourself to your opponent and focus on the things that you know you do well.  
  Be confident, positive, and optimistic that you will perform well in your next competition.  
  Use thought-stopping to block unwanted thoughts and help refocus your attention on the task in hand.  
  After errors and setbacks, acknowledge what went wrong, refocus on the task in hand and avoid thinking about the past.  
  Increase your sense of well-being by expressing positive feelings and emotions to others.  
  IUse mental skills techniques such as relation, visualization and positive self-talk.  


Watch this video

To develop your understanding of how self-efficacy works, watch this video about self-efficacy, motivation and goal revision.


Read this book

Read The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How by Daniel Coyle.