Self-efficacy & Confidence

Believe you can and you’re half way there

What is self-efficacy?

Self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to initiate and execute skills and behaviours necessary for achieving your goals. In simpler terms, it is the belief you have in yourself to carry out a skill or level of performance which contributes to you reaching your goals.

Important note: Your outcome expectations do not equal your self-efficacy beliefs.

Your level of self-efficacy can be measured using 3 dimensions


Whether you believe you can complete the task


Your confidence at completing the various components of the tasks at different levels of difficulty


The extent to which this belief transfers to other tasks or situations

When developing self-efficacy, consider the process and the outcome from these three angles. By understanding the dimensions of self-efficacy you are able to plan and direct your efforts more productively. For example, when considering the strength of your self efficacy, if you conclude that you are confident in completing the task at a ‘medium’ difficulty level but not at a ‘hard’ level, then you can adapt your physical and mental skills training to account for varying degrees of difficulty in order to build on the strength of self-efficacy

Types of self-efficacy beliefs


Belief in ability to cope with threats, stress, pain, negative thoughts


Beliefs if group members to organise and carry out group actions


Belief in ability perform successfully against someone else


Belief in capability to learn new information and behaviour


Belief in ability to organise and prepare effectively for competition


Belief in ability to influence motivation, thoughts, emotions and behaviour

Sources of self-efficacy


Increase in self-efficacy after mastering a skill or performance.


Self-efficacy from the encouraging and motivating words of others.


Seeing other people successfully perform and mirroring their behaviour.


Self efficacy from imagining or visualising your success.


Mood, stress and other physiological states can influence your belief about your own ability to perform successfully.


Self-efficacy based on emotional condition. Positive emotions can increase confidence and lead to a successful performance.

Outcomes of self-efficacy






What is confidence?

Confidence is the belief that you have the the capabilities and internal resources to be successful. As with self-efficacy, people develop confidence in various ways.

Types of sport confidence

Skill Execution

Belief in ability to perform a skill technically correct and successfully


Belief in ability to produce certain outcomes or hit targets

Physical Factors

Belief in physical capability e.g. strength, speed, stamina, to help you achieve set goals

Psychological Factors

Belief in ability to deal with adversity e.g. nerves, changes, expectations and stress.

Superiority to Opposition

Belief that your ability is greater than that of your opponent.

Tactical Awareness

Belief in your ability to understand strategies useful for optimal performance in different situations

What is the difference between self-efficacy and self-confidence?

Self-efficacy is a perceived belief about your abilities to perform a skill or task which, affects your behaviour. In turn, this behaviour can affect your self-efficacy. For example, you may strongly believe in your ability (high self-efficacy) to land a big name, high paying client for your firm. However, you may not feel confident or positive when it comes to close the offer.

Confidence is a positive emotional state which can influence our self-efficacy. However self-efficacy does not always influence confidence. Self-confidence is less skill or task specific and draws on your trust in a wider range of resources. For example, you may not believe in your ability (low self-efficacy) to score a basket from half way on the court. However, you may approach the task confidently and optimistically and try your best.

References, Resources and Reading

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review84, 191-215.

Self-efficacy mechanisms in human agency. American Psychologist, 37, 122- 147.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman.

Beck, J. W., & Schmidt, A. M. (2018). Negative relationships between self-efficacy and performance can be adaptive: The mediating role of resource allocation. Journal of Management44(2), 555-588.

Beaumont, C., Maynard, I. W., & Butt, J. (2015). Effective ways to develop and maintain robust sport-confidence: Strategies advocated by sport psychology consultants. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology27(3), 301-318.

Hays, K., Maynard, I., Thomas, O., & Bawden, M. (2007). Sources and types of confidence identified by world class sport performers. Journal of Applied Sport psychology19(4), 434-456.

Leo, F. M., González-Ponce, I., Sánchez-Miguel, P. A., Ivarsson, A., & García-Calvo, T. (2015). Role ambiguity, role conflict, team conflict, cohesion and collective efficacy in sport teams: A multilevel analysis. Psychology of Sport and Exercise20, 60-66.

Vealey, R. S., Chase, M. A., & Cooley, R. (2017). Developing self-confidence in young athletes. Sport psychology for young athletes, 121-132.