Sport Confidence According to Bandura and Vealey
In any sport, an athlete’s performance and success can be directly linked to two major aspects, his physical aptitude, and his mental readiness. It is common knowledge that athletics involve physical ability and those with the most physical gifts tend to outperform those without them. But look a little deeper and you find that behind the brawn and power of the athletes body lies something just as important, the power of the mind. Sport psychology is a science devoted to understanding how an athlete’s mind works, before during and after a competition, it is a study of just how exactly an athlete thinks and why. The mind is one of the most important tools an athlete has at his disposal, it has the power to hold back the most physically gifted person, and at the same time push a less gifted person to greatness. A crucial part of the “mental game” in any sport is sport confidence and it is the focus of this paper. “Athletes refer to self-efficacy as confidence and often attribute successful accomplishments to being confident”. (Short 2008) Confidence in athletics is extraordinarily important for two main reasons. Firstly, an athlete with poor confidence may very well destroy his performance, not because he was unable to perform at his best, but because he didn’t believe that he could and therefore never even attempted what he was truly capable of doing. Secondly an athlete with high confidence may bolster his performance and push himself past where he was in practice, or marks he was expected to reach because he was so confident in his abilities that he was able to exceed his past achievements and reach for new goals. The different mindsets and linked performances are precisely what make confidence so tightly connected to success athletically. Sport confidence can be defined many different ways, but the focus of this paper will be a comparison between two psychologists theories on just what sport confidence means. These two psychologists are Robin S. Vealey and Albert Bandura. Each of these psychologists has a set theory on what sports confidence is and what it means, and this paper will be an in depths look at the similarities and differences between the two. In order to make an accurate comparison between the two theories of sport confidence, it is first necessary to understand each on its own. Bandura defines sport confidence as “belief in one’s capability to organize and execute the course of action required to produce given attainments.” (Bandura, 1997) Bandura believes that there are four fundamental elements involved with improving ones sport confidence. Successful Performance – the athlete must experience success within the intended sport for confidence to increase. Vicarious Experience – an athlete increases sport confidence by using some sort of model like for instance watching an instructional video. Verbal persuasion – this is more or less positive verbal reinforcement that builds confidence through confirmation of performance. Emotional Arousal – how excited an athlete is about a sport greatly influences how confident they will be about their performance. Bandura’s approach to sport confidence is to overcome certain elements on the path to building confidence, if one or more of these elements does not occur correctly the athlete is likely to have a stunted level of confidence in his sport, and as such his performance will not be the best possible. Vealey defines sport confidence as “the belief or degree of certainty individuals possess about their ability to be successful in a sport”. (Short 2008) Vealey’s theory includes a set of descriptive terms that combine to predict how an athlete’s performance is likely to go. The terms are; personality trait of sport confidence, competitive orientation, and situational state-specific sport confidence. The personality trait of sport...