The Importance of Self Confidence in Performance
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
STOLZ, S. L. (1999). The Importance of Self Confidence in Performance. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 2. Available online at Retrieved April 25, 2017 .

The Importance of Self Confidence in Performance
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (
AbstractThe purpose of this experiment was to determine whether individuals in a room of 30, were able to perform motor tasks under positive and negative situations. Also the experiment was to determine to what affect the comments had on the subjects performance outcome. I used two experimental groups and one control group. I used one experimental group and gave them a lot of encouragement and positive words. In the other experimental group, I gave them a lot of negative and non -encouraging words. The students were randomly assigned to these groups. The 30 subjects were students living in Vaselakos Hall on campus at Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph, Missouri. The items I used were a garbage can, eight nerf balls, masking tape, a tally sheet, and fake questionnaires. The questionnaires were given to fool the students into thinking that they were going to be good, bad or average at the ahead task. Then while students received either positive or negative comments they shot five baskets each, as I tallied their score to the number made out of five. The results showed that the students who received the negative encouragement and the poor grade on the questionnaire did more poorly than the students that received positive encouragement and good grades on the questionnaire. Although eight of the 30 students considered themselves athletic, there was no difference in shots made between the athlete and non-athlete with reference to what I would tell them. Therefore, I found the main interaction for the Group was significant, f (2,24) = 7.258, p = .003. These results have shown that there is a significant affect of self-confidence and self-efficacy in performance

The Importance of Self Confidence in PerformanceWhat do you think would happen if someone told you that you are not a good hitter prior to a baseball game? How would this affect your performance? How would this affect your self -confidence? Would you be able to hit, or would your confidence influence failure during an evaluative achievement situation such as hitting? Does a person gain confidence and performance from "put -downs"? Any negative comment will affect the self- confidence in athletes and/or individuals and will make it difficult for them to perform. It is this effect, that I will be examining. Cox (1998) proves this point with an example of an experience that destroyed one child`s desire to achieve success in sport:This is the story of a child named Johnny who had not yet succeeded in hitting a baseball off of a tee (T-ball). One day, after several attempts, the boy, for the first time in his young life, succeeded in hitting the ball. Overcome with happiness and joy, the boy jumped up and down with glee as his parents and other fans cheered his success. In his excitement, however, he forgot that he was supposed to run to first base. In anger, his volunteer coach grabbed him and said "Johnny, you dummy, you can`t even run to first. You will never get another chance to bat on my team." Needless to say, Johnny became a sports drop out. Johnny`s experience could have been one of the greatest in his life, but an untrained, insensitive volunteer coach turned it into one of his worst.

I have played sports all of my life and I have experienced success and adversity. The success I experience comes from coaches that are positive, encouraging coaches. I find it very hard to accomplish and do well at a task when I am hearing negativity and put -downs from a coach. Therefore, I would like to determine if self-confidence and self-efficacy affect a players performance. From experience within sports, I have found that negative talk and discouraging words can only impede performance tasks. This became something I wanted to further research and see if my theory about confidence affecting performance was backed by other research.As well as the effects of negative comments like the Johnny`s experience, there are effects from positive comments. Now, what do you think would be a result if someone told you right before a game, that you were a great hitter? I think most of us would assume that our self-confidence would increase and the likeliness of a greater outcome will arise. (Cox, 1998) states that successful sport experiences develop self-confidence and the motivation to achieve success. This shows the affect that successful performances correlate with self-confidence, as I hope my experimental findings will also. Research has been done within the sport literature that has also indicated the possible facilitative effects of anxiety on performance. (Edwards & Hardy, 1996) have conducted a series of investigations to explore the potential influence of directional perceptions of anxiety on the anxiety-performance relationship. Results from this study have consistently revealed that cognitive anxiety can have a facilitative effect upon performance. Specifically, Edwards & Hardy (1996) states that cognitive anxiety symptoms were perceived to be more facilitative and less debilitative in athletes producing good performances than in those producing poor performances.Edwards & Hardy (1996) mentioned that research has indicated that self-confidence is an important predictor of performance that is at least partially independent of cognitive anxiety. This research backs my hypothesis that confidence affects performance outcome. Hardy (1996) suggested that self-confidence may in some way protect against possible negative anxiety effects by moderating the anxiety-performance relationship. With the knowledge I had prior to this research I knew of Bandura`s Self-efficacy Theory as well as what factors build self-efficacy. The four factors are successful performance, vicarious experience, emotional arousal and verbal persuasion. I thought a lot about the correlation between verbal persuasion and my theory of confidence affecting performance. My ideas were that if negative and positive talk affect a persons self-confidence and self-efficacy than this may affect their performance on a motor task.The causal relationships in Bandura`s model of self-efficacy were examined in a field setting. Male and intercollegiate baseball players completed self-report measures over a nine-game period during a baseball season. Perceptions of self-efficacy, competitive state anxiety, effort expenditure and objective hitting performance were measured. George(1994) states that over the past three decades, the construct of self-confidence has received a lot of attention from sport science researchers. Self-confidence is one of the most frequently cited psychological factors thought to affect athletic performance and it has also been called the most critical factors in sport (George 1994). A lot of research on self- confidence has examined it`s relationship with motor performance. Hence, support from George (1994) has been found for the notion that self-confidence is related to motor skill performance, including athletic performance. As an athlete and possible future coach, I think it is necessary to find out the importance that confidence and self-efficacy has on performance. It is also necessary to find out what degree of importance this effect has on an individual athlete. Players are always looking for ways to succeed, and if along the way they discover ways that hinder their athletic performance this too can create a successful athlete.The purpose of my study was to see the effects that confidence has on the performance of athletes. I hoped to show that confidence plays an important role to the outcome of performances. I had also hoped to prove that positive or negative comments from the experimenter do affect the performance of the subjects during a given task. With this study, I hoped to prove that confidence does have a significant impact on performance tasks.

ResultsIn my results, I found that there is a significant decrease in the performance of individuals with lowered self-confidence. I also found that there is a significant increase in the performance of individuals with higher self-confidence. To find the significance I did a 3x2 between subjects ANOVA. I found that the main interaction effect for the Group was significant, f (2,24) = 7.258, p = .003. I did a follow up Tukey HSD and found that group one was different than group three, meaning that group three`s scores went up and group one scores went down as a result of what I told them. I also found that the Athlete main effect was significant, f (1,24) = 36.880, p = .000, with the athletes doing better than the non-athletes. Lastly, the Group by Athlete interaction was not significant. There was no difference in shots made between the athlete and non-athlete with reference to what I would tell them. A graph is included that also indicates the significance that I have found (Figure 1).

Discussion The results of this experiment clearly showed that affecting someone`s confidence will affect their performance. This experiment also showed that it didn`t matter whether or not the individual was an athlete or a non-athlete. Furthermore telling someone they are bad at a task will hinder their performance in that task. Also, telling someone they are good at something will increase the performance in that task. The Bortoli and Robazza experiment (1997) has clearly shown that in the motor and sport domain, the confidence which subject places on his own capacities is one of the most important factors affecting performance. Self-efficacy is synonymous with an individuals belief that he/she is competent and can succeed in a particular task. An individual who enjoys a high level of self-efficacy enters a competitive situation with enthusiasm and self- confidence. Bandura`s theory of self-efficacy states that self-efficacy is fundamental to competent performance (Bandura 1997). Bandura`s model suggests that self-efficacy is enhanced by successful performance, vicarious experience, emotion arousal, and verbal persuasion. These successful performances raise expectations for future success, as failure lowers these expectations, feelings of self-efficacy lead to improved performance, while a lack of those feelings results in slackening performance. One limitation in this experiment may have been the acting that I, as the experimenter played. Another limitation may have been if the subjects noticed that the questionnaires were not accurately graded, but randomly given. The risks of this experimental project were minimal to none. The Vaselakos Hall students were debriefed immediately after the experiment. The benefits were also minimal to none as well. As with all experiments debriefing is essential, as especially in this case since experimenter bias is necessary. To further the research of this experiment I would look at the age and sex of the subjects as well as really examining the subjects past athletic history. I would also change the settings and see if there is a difference in indoor or outdoor settings. To further research, I would have conducted the experiment individually, to subjects, to control for group interaction. I would do repeated studies to further prove my hypothesis. The results that I found in this study, I believe would generalize to these other situations of future research.

References Bandura, Albert (1997). Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman.Bortoli, Laura; Robazza, Claudio (1997). Italian version of the perceived Physical Ability Scale. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 85, 187-192.Cox, R. (1998). Sports Psychology: Concepts and applications. Missouri: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Edwards, T. & Hardy, L. (1996). The interactive effects of intensity and direction of cognitive and somatic anxiety and self-confidence upon performance. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 18, 296-312.George, T. R. (1994). Self-confidence and baseball performance: A Causal examination of self-efficacy theory. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 16, 381-399.

Figure CaptionsFigure 1. Compared the three groups of students and their performance level depending on whether I gave them positive or negative comments. This graph also shows no significance in athlete and non-athlete level of performance.

Figure 1

Submitted 5/3/99 11:02:24 AM
Last Edited 5/3/99 12:02:29 PM
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