An examination of athletes' self-efficacy and strength training effort during an entire off-season

J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Feb;26(2):443-51. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182254080.


Over the past 30-plus years in which self-efficacy (or confidence at a task) has been researched, findings have shown that in almost every domain of human functioning, self-efficacy positively relates to effort, persistence, and other adaptive behaviors. However, in the past decade, new research postulating that too much self-efficacy can lead to complacency and a subsequent downturn in behavior or performance has also experienced resurgence in the literature. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to test these opposing viewpoints regarding self-efficacy and effort for Division I athletes in a strength and conditioning domain over off-season training, a procedure yet to be undertaken. Subjects (N = 99), from 4 different sports (M(ag)e = 20.0 years, SD = 1.2 years), completed self-efficacy and effort measures at 4 distinct time points during off-season training. In addition, strength and conditioning coaches also rated each subject's effort--at each time point--so that a more valid measure of this construct could be attained. Results were analyzed using a multilevel approach and revealed that self-efficacy was positively, and significantly, related to the current effort that athletes exerted in strength training sessions. Consequently, practitioners are advised to structure strength and conditioning training sessions and the overall environment in ways that will positively impact the 4 proven sources of self-efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Athletic Performance / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion
  • Resistance Training*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult