The Relationship Between an Effort Goal and Self-Regulatory Efficacy Beliefs for Division I Football Players

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Gilson, TA, Heller, EA, and Stults-Kolehmainen, MA. The relationship between an effort goal and self-regulatory efficacy beliefs for division I football players. J Strength Cond Res 27(10): 2806–2815, 2013—When training for sport, it can be argued that self-regulation—or how athletes attempt to learn new skills—is vital for success. However, self-regulation means little if athletes cannot apply it in the throes of adversity. Specifically, the confidence one has to use self-regulation skills (i.e., self-regulatory efficacy [SRE]) when faced with adverse conditions can contribute to positive or negative behavioral implications when examined in conjunction with an athlete's current goals. Therefore, the purpose of this study was twofold: (a) determine if athletes who hold an effort goal when training for sport will have higher SRE scores; and (b) assess the relationship between effort goals and SRE, as the strength of one's effort goal increases. In phase 1, interviews with 11 Division I athletes were conducted to determine the most salient dissuading conditions athletes experience when training for sport. This process resulted in 27 factors that were implemented into a questionnaire for phase 2. During this latter phase, 402 Division I football players (Mage = 20.1 years, SD = 1.3 years) completed a 2-part goal statement along with an SRE questionnaire. The results indicated that athletes who held a criterion effort goal related to training (n = 362) had significantly higher SRE scores when compared with athletes who did not report having an effort goal F(27,401) = 1.89, p < 0.01. Additionally, as athletes' effort goal increased, stronger SRE beliefs resulted for all dissuading conditions, with all p values <0.05. Based on these results, practitioners are encouraged to facilitate goal setting sessions early and often with athletes as a way to combat the negative effects of low SRE beliefs.

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