(This is Part 4 of a Series I’m writing about regarding The Importance of Self Confidence in Athletics.  This series stems from a research paper I wrote in 2010 for my Master’s in Athletic Administration and Coaching.)

Because there are so many different ideas out there about developing self efficacy and Self Confidence, coaches can be easily overwhelmed.  Therefore, I think it is best for coaches to focus on Bandura’s four principles in building Self Confidence.

These four principles are:

1.  Performance accomplishments

2.  Vicarious experience

3.  Verbal persuasion

4.  Emotional arousal

Performance accomplishments are successes on the field/court that an individual or team have accomplished.  Michael Jordan said it best when he said “My whole NBA career I always thought back to the 1982 NCAA Championship game.  I’m not saying that you can’t be confident in the clutch if you’ve never made the big play before – obviously, I was already confident before that shot.  But that one moment initiated so much.  Every shot after that, I felt I could make (Raedke/Burton 2008).”

The main way that I plan to use performance accomplishments to build confidence is through practice goals that we will have as a team.  We will use these practice goals as a standard of success/failure.  I will have one or two practice goals each day, that’s it – not too many and not too few.  This goal will be posted for all players to see and we will reflect upon it immediately after practice.  This goal will be developed using the SMARTEST strategy that Dr. Tammen covered in class.  Towards the beginning of the season together, the coaching staff will set very attainable goals to help to build the confidence early.

Vicarious experience is helping athletes experience success indirectly, though either modeling or imagery.  Modeling is watching others demonstrate how to perform a skill or strategy.  Imagery is a mental idea of how to perform a skill or mentally rehearse a learned skill (Burton/Raedke 2008).  I already have something in my “09 file” for modeling to my players a great picture of success that definitely applies to our football team.  It is an article and picture of the recent 50-1 Kentucky Derby winner that was last place at the ¼ pole, the ½ pole and the ¾ pole.  It wasn’t until the last quarter of the race that he came on strong to win.  I am going to show my kids the two pictures that I found in Sports Illustrated – one with the all of the horses at the half way mark and one with all of the horses at the finish line.  The point of showing these pictures and talking about this story is to teach the athletes that it is not how you start, it is how you finish.  I will apply it in a variety of ways to my team.  Although this horse did not play football and we are not watching him perfect the skills that my boys will use, I will use this modern day sports story to illustrate an important aspect of confidence – vicarious experience.  We will also watch this horse race to see just how this horse was able to stay in the game to win the race.  There are times; I just know it, throughout the course of this season that we will come back to this story.

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