Measuring athletes' self-efficacy for deliberate practice: Initial development and analyses


Research has substantiated the role of deliberate practice (DP) in the acquisition of expertise but none has considered psychological characteristics enabling athletes to navigate Ericsson et al.'s (1993) three constraints to DP (Baker & Young, 2014). This study examined the initial factorability and concurrent validity of items assessing self-efficacy to navigate resource (6 items), effort (3 items) and motivational (3 items) constraints. Sixty-six athletes (30 m, 36 f, ages 13-17), from six (regional to international) performance levels, also provided amounts of DP and pertinent concurrent measures. A 3-constraint factor model, CFI = .93, SRMR = .06, RMSEA = .08 (90% CI .03 - .12) showed superior fit to a 1-factor model, CFI = .68, SRMR = .12, RMSEA = .17 (90% CI .14 - .20). Pearson correlations (partialling out age) between each scale and performance level, DP and physical preparation were non-significant, ps > .17. However, resource efficacy correlated with future sport self (r = .25, p = .04) suggesting athletes who are more efficacious practicing without resources more strongly foresee themselves as reaching the upper echelon of sport in the long-term. Further, effort efficacy correlated with consideration of future consequences (r = .36, p = .003) suggesting athletes who are more efficacious practicing when they are fatigued/lack energy report a greater focus on the long-term consequences of their training. Partialling out performance level, older athletes reported higher motivation efficacy (r = .26, p = .04) meaning they have greater efficacy to practice even when unmotivated or not improving.

Acknowledgments: This research was funded by a grant from the Research Development Program and the Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Ottawa.