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Running Head: SELF-EFFICACY AND PERFORMANCE

Final Research Document


Effects of the New Agility Test on Self-Efficacy in Pre-Adolescent Hockey Players
Submitted by:
Tyler Romas
Stephanie Vojvodic
Kevin VanHaaren
Kin 4320-YH
Instructor: Dr. Erin Pearson
April. 7, 2014

SELF-EFFICACY AND PERFORMANCE

Introduction
Most youth hockey players at the competitive level have tremendous amounts of
pressure on them to perform, both by parents and coaches. Every parent and child has
that dream that they are going to be the next successful story in the world of pro sports.
The ability to execute tasks, in game and in training, goes a long way in determining
whether or not a child will be successful. Self-efficacy is ones belief in their ability to
perform a particular activity. The effect self-efficacy has on ones success and
performance in sport is an interesting question to pose. Psychologists such as Albert
bandura have long studied self-efficacy and its link to task completion. Bandura
concluded that there are four main sources of self-efficacy. For the purpose of our thesis,
we compared two of Banduras sources; mastery learning and vicarious learning. Mastery
learning is based on the belief that ones previous experiences determine their ability to
complete a task. Success builds a robust belief in one's personal efficacy. Failures
undermine it, especially if failures occur before a sense of efficacy is firmly established
(Bandura). Vicarious learning is based on the belief that social models influence an
individuals rate of success. Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort
raises observers' beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable
activities required to succeed (Bandura). The opposite can also said to be true for
vicarious learning, so observing another person fail can lower an individuals self-efficacy
and belief that they can complete said task.
Our research centered on the effectiveness of the two mentioned sources of selfefficacy proposed by Bandura. Through youth hockey groups, we attempted to identify

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which learning strategy has the largest impact on youth hockey players performing the
New Agility Test, which is a standard hockey fitness test. Our rationale is simple.
Teachers, coaches and players alike are always looking to get the biggest edge when it
comes to sport performance and effectiveness. By examining the mastery and vicarious
learning styles, we can gather information that provides insight as to which source is the
most effective when challenging young athletes with new skills and tasks. Keeping in
mind that every individuals learning process is unique, we acknowledge that depending
on the childs questionnaire score and personality type, they will respond to the
challenges in a slightly different manner. This is still useful however, as finding a trend
between confidence/self-efficacy levels and learning will provide beneficial knowledge to
coaches and teachers dealing with children of different self-efficacy levels. Learning
styles and self-efficacy were tested using the New Agility Test exercise. We chose this
agility test as it is a fairly straightforward activity, one that requires little explanation.
The agility test is also relevant to our participant group, as it engages the glutes,
hamstrings and quads, which are the key muscle groups used in the sport of hockey. The
participants in our study were pre-adolescent peewee level hockey players, aged 12-13.
This age group was chosen due to the fact pre-adolescence males generally have yet to hit
puberty, which should provide for their development and strength levels to be fairly
similar.
For the purpose of our study, self-efficacy acted as the dependent variable and the
types of learning (mastery, vicarious) served as the independent variables. The extent to
which the independent variables had an effect on the independent variable formed the
basis of our research. The objective of our study was to examine the relationships among

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learning styles and levels of self-efficacy. We hoped that the results of this study could
provide important information about effective teaching and learning strategies when
dealing with youth athletes. We initially came up with two hypotheses that were based on
the results of task success or failure in each learning style. Our first hypothesis predicted
that mastery learning would produce greater increases in self-efficacy than vicarious
learning. However, if failure occurred during mastery learning, we thought vicarious
learning would be more effective. We believed this because failure to complete a task
through mastery learning may cause an individual to believe that it cant be done.
However, if one fails to complete a task when learning through vicarious experiences
they may be more motivated and confident in their ability to successfully complete the
task as they have already seen it completed and know that it can be done.
Literature Review
Construct of Self-Efficacy
Within the sports domain there has always been interest in discovering new and
improved ways of enhancing human function, to give an athlete that competitive edge
necessary to maximize their performance capabilities (Feltz & Lirgg, 2001). Due to the
high degree of interest within this field, there has been considerable research done in
hopes of proving, through robust empirical evidence, that a particular variable can be
manipulated to increase an athletes overall sports performance. That being said, Albert
Bandura first proposed a theory of human functioning that emphasizes the role of selfbelief in the publication: Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive
Theory, in 1986 (Pajares, 2005). Within this publication he explained the construct of
self-efficacy, which is defined as, the belief in one's own ability to learn or perform a

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particular behavior at a designated level (Bandura, 1977). More specifically, its the
belief that one holds about their capability to perform a specific task at a specific level,
based on cognitive appraisals of their ability, regardless of actual objective skill level of
that particular individual (Bandura, 1977). Banduras (1977) theory acknowledges that
skill level and incentive factors do play a role in performance, however he contends that
they are not necessarily required to produce desired behaviors. According to this
information, high self-efficacy alone can sometimes produce successful outcomes
(Bandura, 1977). Since Bandura coined the term way back in 1977, much research has
been done to support the power that a persons beliefs about themselves hold, in relation
to actual behavioral outcomes (Zimmerman, 2000). These self-efficacy beliefs have been
shown to provide the foundation for motivation, wellbeing and personal accomplishment
in all areas of life, including sport performance enhancement, which is the focus of this
review (Pajares, 2005).
Self-efficacy differs in one main way from all other related motivational
constructs, such as outcome expectations, self-concept, locus of control and selfconfidence, in that it is task specific and dynamic (Zimmerman, 2000). Being so, it
allows self-efficacy to be a far better predictor of future performance (Zimmerman,
2000). Many studies have compared the various global traits mentioned above to selfefficacy providing support for this statement. Shell, Murphy and Brunings 1989 study,
compared self-efficacy to outcome expectations and found that self-efficacy played a
much larger role in variability of results. This study supports Banduras (1977) prior
research, which concluded that self-efficacy was the most accurate predictor of future
performance compared to other similar constructs. In another study by Hattie (1992) and

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Wylie (1968), researchers found that self-efficacy was consistently related to individuals
academic performance and less so to self-concept, once again supporting Banduras
claims. No other research was found to disconfirm these findings, so this study will
reflect those findings and only aim to measure the strength of the reciprocal relationship
between prior performance, self-efficacy and future performance. Almost all of the
research articles assessed in this review are based off of the work of Bandura and mention
his findings within their own specific research area, regardless of what that may be.
Dimensions of Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy can vary on several dimensions that affect performance including
magnitude, generality as well as strength (Bandura, 1977). Magnitude is the level of selfefficacy beliefs at varying degrees of task difficulty. For example, when tasks are ordered
in level of difficulty, self-efficacy of an individual may only extend to the simpler task, or
it may include the most difficult one (Bandura, 1977). Generality is the ability of an
experience to create specific mastery expectations within the confines of a specific task,
others more generalized sense of efficacy extending considerably beyond the treatment
situation (Bandura, 1977). Over time people can experience many situations, which
increase their self-efficacy beliefs in different areas and help to influence self-efficacy
beliefs going into tasks that may be unfamiliar. That being said, self-efficacy measures
have more predictive value when tasks are familiar (Pajares & Miller, 1994). Selfefficacy beliefs are especially easy to extinguish when the person is a novice and does not
have a robust level of personal efficacy beliefs, however if the person has developed a
substantially high overall level of self-efficacy they are more likely to persist even when
met with failure (Bandura, 1977). Although self-efficacy tends to be a task specific

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construct, enhanced self-efficacy can generalize to other situations, as mentioned


previously, and improvements in behavioral functioning transfer not only to similar
situations but to activities that substantially differ as well (Bandura, 1977). Measures of
generality of self-efficacy are rarely included in research studies on sport, which was the
basis for our study (Feltz, & Lirgg, 2001). Finally strength of self-efficacy is the degree
to which one believes in their capabilities of performing a given task (Bandura, 1977).
Weak expectations are easily extinguished through disconfirming experiences (Bandura,
1977). Those who start out with higher strength of self-efficacy will cope and continue
with efforts to improve at a task despite disconfirming experiences (Bandura, 1977). As
well, people who persist will gain corrective experiences that reinforce their sense of
efficacy and eliminate defensive behavior. Overall, people with high self-efficacy will
employ increased coping behavior, effort expenditure, and amount of time trying to
overcome obstacles and adverse experiences, which will lead to successful behavior and
thus better performance outcomes (Bandura, 1977). People with low self-efficacy, on the
other hand, fear and tend to avoid threatening situations they believe exceed their coping
skills, resulting in performance failure and further reduction in subsequent self-efficacy
levels (Bandura, 1977). All of the above efficacy expectations help to better predict the
complex relationship between self-efficacy and its effect on subsequent performance.
Sources of Efficacy Information
The first and most influential source of self-efficacy information is performance
accomplishments, which are based on personal mastery experiences (Bandura, 1977).
They promote behavioral accomplishments and extinguish fear arousal by providing the
individual with immediate feedback based on their actual performance (Bandura, 1977).

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Success increases self-efficacy beliefs, while repeated failures decrease them (Bandura,
1977). Because it has been shown to have the most robust impact on self-efficacy beliefs
we hypothesized that it will be the best predictor of future self-efficacy when
performances are successful. One potential problem, that we hypothesized with mastery
learning, is that failure is more likely to be attributed to the actual individual completing
the task because their own behavior influences their performance outcome directly.
During mastery situations the individual has no one else to blame for their failure,
therefore their self-efficacy will be more likely to drop. This will also be the case with
subsequent successful performances, compared to performance during other forms of
learning. Although Bandura suggests it is the most effective way to influence selfefficacy, there has not been much research done to compare it to other forms of
information.
The second source of information is vicarious experience, which has also been
found to be an effective source of self-efficacy and learning (Bandura, 1977). It consists
of watching others perform a task or behavior followed by the person cognitively
appraising that information to determine if they can perform the behavior or task
themselves, based on what they have seen. Vicarious learning encompasses attentional,
retention, motor reproduction and motivational processes and occurs before the actual
behavior is attempted (Manz & Sims, 1981). If any of these processes are lacking or
impaired, the observer is less likely to exhibit the desired behavior (Manz & Sims, 1981).
One potential positive attribute that we found for vicarious leaning, in regards to failure,
is that the individual will most likely attribute it to the models performance and not their
own, thus maintaining high self-efficacy beliefs and subsequent performance. Pajares

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(2005), suggests that it is especially useful in situations in which young people have little
or no prior experience from which to gage judgment. As far as actual models go, peer
models have been shown especially useful in these situations (Pajares, 2005). Bandura
(1977, 1997) also suggests that similar models be used to optimize self-efficacy beliefs.
As well, Gould and Weiss (1981) found that the similarity between the model and
individual had the greatest influence on individuals perception and performance. Similar
peers were shown to have high observer effect in the academic domain as well, Schunk
explains that students see people like them performing the task and they believe they can
too (Schunk, 1989). On the hand Landers and Landers (1973), found conflicting results,
which undermine those results mentioned previously. Their results showed that when
learning a new task model competence was more important than model similarity to
performance (Landers & Landers, 1973). For this study we used a video model that
participants can relate to, as opposed to someone that is far superior to them in talent.
There has been much research on this being effective form of modeling and only one
study suggesting otherwise (Bandura, 1977, 1997). On top of these factors, if a model
meets with success, the observer is more likely to model behavior (Manz & Sims, 1981).
This has been also shown when models display signs of apprehension or difficulty but
still complete the task, because observers can relate to overcoming challenges on the way
to obtaining success (Manz & Sims, 1981). Types of modeling can include traditional
live modeling, symbolic modeling, self-modeling as well as participant modeling, which
encompasses both modeling and mastery experience all in one. Different studies show
contradictory results when determining which variables within a modeling situation are
most effective in increasing perception and performance (Samson & Solmon, 2011).

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Self-modeling which is made up of the individual repeatedly observing the correct or best
parts of his/her own performance and using it as a model for future performance has
shown conflicting results (Dowrick & Dove, 1980). There has not been much research
on this to date so more needs to be done. Winfrey and Weeks (1993) found no significant
effects on self-efficacy on balance beam performance using self-modeling videos with
female gymnasts. Singleton and Feltz (1999) found the opposite, concluding that
collegiate hockey players shown several weeks of self-modeling video tapes showed
greater shooting accuracy and increased self-efficacy for game performance compared to
controls. Due to the little empirical evidence found on self-modeling we opted for more
researched and proven forms of modeling to eliminate any confounding variables.
Factors like model attractiveness, credibility, high status and competence, and similarity
have all been suggested to increase successful outcomes, with varying results based on
the specific study conducted (Manz & Sims, 1981). Much human behavior is developed
through modeling, so it makes sense that modeling will increase self-efficacy (Bandura,
1971). A study conducted by Manz and Sims (1981) on vicarious learning as a source of
behavioral change in organization, supports positive benefits of vicarious learning within
an organizational domain. Observational learning is one of the most widely advocated
methods of teaching motor skills in educational and sports settings (Rink, 1998). This
has been proven within the motor learning domain with McCullagh and Weiss study in
2001, Black and Wrights study in 2000 and in Ashford, Bennett and Davids study in
2006. It has also been proven successful in the sport psychology domain in a study by
McCullagh and Weiss 2001. Based on findings in Harrison, Preece, Blakemore, Richards,

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Wilkinson and Fellingham (1999) both types of information, mastery and vicarious, will
be successful in promoting athletic achievement.
Varying Domains of Testing
Self-efficacy theory developed within the domain of clinical psychology for
treatment of anxiety, then successively moved to other domains of psychosocial
functioning including health and exercise behavior (McAuley, 1992; McAuley &
Mihalko, 1998; Oleary, 1985), and sport and motor performance (Feltz, 1998).
Two decades of research in the academic domain have shown that self-efficacy is a highly
effective predictor of students motivation and learning, which in turn are large predictors
of actual performance (Zimmerman, 2000). Studies have confirmed its discriminant and
convergent validity in predicting outcomes such as students activity choices, effort,
persistence and emotional reactions (Zimmerman, 2000). Within the academic domain,
Schunk (1996) contradicts Bandura by saying that if the requisite ability and knowledge
or skill is lacking no amount of self-efficacy can produce performance competence. He
argues that students often have minimal to no skill prior, so self-efficacy for a particular
task is meaningless because without the skills they will fail regardless (Schunk, 1996).
Just to reiterate, Bandura (1977) suggested that prior skills were not a necessary
requirement for success. To overcome this issue, Schunk (1996) assessed self-efficacy
towards learning as opposed to performance and found similar results. This study
resolves the issue towards that novice learner, determining that self-efficacy still
influences individuals readiness to learn particular tasks, thus eventually making them
more likely to achieve it. Another issue that Schunk pointed out is that unskilled students
may perceive low task difficulty when in fact the task is highly difficult, which could lead

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to over confidence and non-accurate relationship results (Schunk, 1996). Students may
also judge efficacy high so not to appear incapable (Schunk, 1996). Self-efficacy
construct is also one of the most influential psychological constructs thought to affect
achievement striving in sport (Feltz, 1988). For example US athletes at the Nagano
Olympic Games rated self-efficacy and team efficacy among top factors reported to
influence their performance (Gould, Greeleaf, Lauer, & Chung, 1999).
Research has been done in the sports domain, supporting Banduras earlier findings.
Moritz, Feltz, Fahrbach, and Mack (2000) conducted a meta-analysis and found that
concordance between self-efficacy measures and performance measures showed the
largest relationship. Relationship ranges from high .79 (Martin & Gill, 1991), to low .01
(McAuley, 1985), to negative correlations (McCullah, 1987). Feltz and Lirgg (2001)
suggest investigations that showed low correlations, either used a non-traditional measure
of self-efficacy, had long time lag in between measures or had low concordance between
self-efficacy and performance measures. There is considerable variation within studies,
which seems to point to contradictory results, however most research still showed the
positive relationship average was .38, which is significant (Moritz, Feltz, Fahrbach &
Mack, 2000). This study also found that highest correlations between self-efficacy and
performance were found when participants performed familiar tasks compared to novel
ones. Although there have been studies done in the sports domain, there is a gap in the
research on how learning styles affect self-efficacy in athlete populations. Within a
health domain, self-efficacy has been shown effective in altering: smoking cessation and
relapse, weight control, pain management, compliance with various medical regiments,
cardiac rehab, exercise adherence, and exercise performance (Lewthwaite, 1990). Overall

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the majority of studies support Banduras original findings that there is a positive
relationship between self-efficacy and performance.
Guidelines for Self -Efficacy Questionnaires
In 1977 Bandura provided guidelines for how to measure self-efficacy beliefs
within varying domains of study. Because self-efficacy is a task-specific construct, the
measures for it must also be task-specific, so most of the literature reviewed here
produced their own unique questionnaires to achieve this. For example, a students
efficacy beliefs may differ for a history test as opposed to a chemistry test, so selfefficacy questionnaires must also differ to more accurately predict performance for both
types of tests. Barling and Abels study conducted in 1983 is just one out of hundreds
who created their own self-efficacy questionnaire. In their specific study, they measured
self-efficacy in the domain of tennis performance and tailored their questionnaire to
reflect this. Similar to other studies, we created our own self-efficacy questionnaire
based off modified forms of empirically sound measures used in past research. It was also
suggested to assessing self-efficacy before and after performance because it reflects a
causal relationship ( Zimmerman, 2000). We did this with our pre and post tests.
Ryckman, Robbins, Thorton, & Cantrell (1982), developed the Physical Self-Efficacy
Scale (PSE), to provide a more generalized measure of self-efficacy in the sport and
physical activity domain. We modified the measures used on this particular scale to
better reflect our task.
Reciprocal Relationship
Bandura (1986) proposed a reciprocal relationship between self-efficacy and
performance, where by self-efficacy influences performance, and performance influences

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subsequent self-efficacy. Triadic reciprocally is the view that personal factors in the
form of 1) cognition, affect, and biological events, 2) behavior and 3) environmental
influences create interactions (Bandura, 1986). Behavior is a product of complex
interaction of personal, behavioral and environmental influences (Samson & Solmon,
2011). Eg. Student receives a B, the B is meaningless until the individual interprets in
and what behavior follows as a result. Human thought and human action are viewed as a
product of dynamic interplay of personal, behavioral and environmental influences. How
people interpret the results of their own actions informs and alters their environments and
the personal factors they possess which in turn form and alter future actions (Pajares,
2005). There are substantial amounts of research to support this relationship in various
domains (Beattie, Lief, Adamoulas, & Oliver, 2011). In the sports domain (Moritz, Feltz,
Fahrbach, & Mack, 2000), in military research (Sherer et al, 1982), organization research
(Stajkovic, & Luthans, 1998), health (Orbell, Johnston, Rowley, Davey, & Espley, 2001),
and in the education domain (Multon, Brown & Lent, 1991). Although there is
overwhelming evidence to support it, some researches still have criticisms. Feltz (1982)
and McAuley (1985), found that correlation between sport skill performance and
subsequent self-efficacy scores were stronger than the correlation between self-efficacy
scores and subsequent performance scores. Because of the discrepancy in results
between these studies we hope to answer the question by producing comparative results.
Beattie, Lief, Adamoulas, and Oliver (2011), also challenge this relationship. They tested
this hypothesis in a golf putting performance study and found that self-efficacy had a
weak non-significant relationship with subsequent performance (Beattie, Lief,
Adamoulas, & Oliver, 2011). Vancouver, Thompson and Williams (2001), found

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performance accomplishments had a strong positive relationship with subsequent efficacy


however self-efficacy had a negative relationship with subsequent performance. Their
rational behind this is that increased self-efficacy beliefs make an individual
overconfident and will negatively affect performance. The few studies that propose to
contest the reciprocal relationship all produced insignificant results so it is fair to say that
the research is overwhelming on the side of Bandura.
Conclusion
Overall, self-efficacy is found to be the most critical variable mediating
behavioral change and this can be seen in countless domains (Lewthwaite, 1990). Most
research done in sport is with non-athletic population, in contrived non-realworld settings
(Feltz, 1992). We attempted to add to the athletic population studies to further support or
deny the relationships applicability to diverse populations, resulting to more
generalizability overall. Bandura (1977), suggest slightly exceeding self-efficacy beliefs
are best.
For our study we also took into account Coffee, Rees & Hanslams 2009 study,
suggesting that to compose a situation optimal for self-efficacy the individual needs to
know that outcomes are controllable and unstable, thus they have the opportunity to be
successful. We made sure to explain the performance goal so that the individuals could
accurately understand the task demands (Helper & Chase, 2007). If they were unaware
as to what the goal is, they would not accurately judge their capabilities to perform the
task (Bandura, 1997).

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Methodology
Population, Sample, and Setting
The original target population for this study was going to be pre adolescent male
hockey players from various Thunder Bay hockey teams that partake in hockey groups at
the Canada Games Complex. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the study
population had to be switched to pre adolescent hockey players from the Ignace Minor
Hockey Association. These hockey players were required to assess their own selfefficacy in both sport performance and everyday activities, both before and after a
learning strategy had been implemented. The final sample consisted of subjects that met
the specified criteria. These criteria required that the individuals had no previous injuries
related to hockey within the past 3 months. They were also required to have participated
in organized physical activity at least 2 to 3 days per week. Participation in the study had
to be voluntary, anonymous and confidential, as demographic data collected included age,
experience, and perceived self-efficacy.
Recruitment Methods
We recruited participants through the Ignace Minor Hockey association by
approaching the coach from the PeeWee level hockey team. Once permission was
granted from the coach and parents, we began our recruitment process to find kids that
met our criteria. Each of the above coaches, players and parents were provided with a
cover letter as well as face-to-face interview to answer any potential questions they may
have had.

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Protection of Human Rights


The study was presented to the appointed Ethics Review Board (ERB) at
Lakehead University for approval. After approval from the Lakehead University ERB, a
letter of intention was sent to both Ignace Minor Hockey Association and the coach of the
hockey team to request permission to conduct the study. The players who agreed to
participate in the study were given a cover letter, informed consent form and Par Q form.
The cover letter was to be read to each participant followed by a question period to
ensure that each participant understood all aspects of the study. Each participant was
informed to return the blank permission form if they wished not to participate in the
study. Potential risks to participants included decreased self-esteem, depression, scrapes,
cuts, bruises, twisted ankles and even broken bones in extreme cases. These were
possible injuries in the case that the agility test was unsuccessfully completed. Potential
benefits to the participants included an increased self-esteem and an increased personal
awareness on how to improve their own performance for advancement and training.
Procedures
After approval from the Lakehead University ethics community, data collection
was implemented in mid-March. All participants were given specific follow up
instructions. The questionnaires used were printed on different colors in order to
distinguish between pretest and posttest. Participants were initially asked to complete the
2 pretest questionnaires, one consisting of twelve questions and the other seven. These
measured perceived self-efficacy in general and sport specific, previous experience in
related tasks, their physical activity levels, and their medical history. The pretest
questionnaires were then given back to the researchers and stored in a secure location so

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only the researchers could see the results. The Participants were randomly assigned to
one of the two different groups. The vicarious learning group was shown a video of the
agility test being completed, and then asked to perform the task based on what they saw.
The mastery learning group was explained the specifics of the agility test, given one
practice trial that was followed by the real timed trial. Following completion of the timed
trials, both groups were required to complete the post test questionnaires to measure the
participants perceived self-efficacy again.
Instrumentation
Research Design
The study implemented a quasi-experimental, repeated measures design. With
this type of design, relationships between selected dependent and independent variables
can be examined (Burns & Grove, 2005). Data was collected 2 times, before learning
with pretest and after learning with posttest. A Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire
(PAR-Q +) form was the first to be completed to determine whether or not the
participants were fit to partake in the task at hand. Following approval to proceed, two
instruments were used in the study to evaluate the effects of two different learning
strategies on self-efficacy levels. The General Physical Activity Self-Efficacy
Questionnaire (Bandura, 1977), pre-test and post-test, consisted of twelve questions using
a confidence rating scale, with scores ranging from 0 percent = cannot do at all to 100
percent = certainly can do. The Agility Test Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (Bandura,
2005), pre and post-test, consisted of seven questions and used the confidence rating
scale, with scores ranging from 0 percent = cannot do at all to 100 percent = certainly can
do.

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Methods of Data Analysis


Data collected from the pre and posttest questionnaires was scanned and entered
into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, SPSS program. A t-test analysis was
used to compare the results from the pretest and posttest scores to explore if there was
significant change in self-efficacy of the students in performing the agility test after a
learning strategy had been implemented.
Results
Self-Efficacy and Mastery Learning
A paired sample t test was conducted to evaluate whether a statistically significant
difference existed between the mean self-efficacy scores before and after a mastery
learning intervention. Table 1, shows the mastery learning results including the pre and
post self-efficacy levels.
Paired Samples Statistics
Mean
Mastery

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

Pre

72.0167

8.03396

4.63841

Post

74.3800

3.47331

2.00532

Table 1: Mastery Learning Results: N = number of participants, Mean refers to the mean
of all three participants self-efficacy results.
Table 2: Vicarious Learning

Results: N = number of participants.

Mean refers to the mean of all three participants self-efficacy results. VAR00003 = Pretest, VAR00005 = Post-test.
Table 2 indicates that the results of the paired sample t test were not significant, t(2) =

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-.36, p > 0.05, n2 = 0.67, indicating that there is not a significant increase in self efficacy
scores from the pre-test to the post-test. The mean increase between pre and post selfefficacy for the mastery learning group was 2.36 points, with a 95% confidence interval
for the difference between the means of 72.02 to 74.38. Mastery learning did produce an
increase in self-efficacy as indicated by table 2, but this increase was not substantial or
significant, therefor the researchers accepted the null hypothesis. The effect size was
moderate based on Cohens conventions.
Self-Efficacy and Vicarious learning
Again a paired sample t test was conducted to evaluate whether a statistically
significant difference existed between the mean self-efficacy scores before and after a
vicarious learning intervention. Table 3, shows the vicarious learning results including the
pre and post self-efficacy levels.
Paired Samples Statistics
Mean
Pair 1

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

VAR00003

64.2367

4.74652

2.74040

VAR00005

69.9000

7.84067

4.52681

Table 3: Vicarious Learning Results: N = number of participants, Mean refers to the mean
of all three participants self-efficacy results.
Table 4: Vicarious Learning Results: N = number of participants. Mean refers to the mean
of all three participants self-efficacy
results. VAR00003 = Pre-test,

VAR00005 = Post-test.
The results of the paired sample t test were not significant, t(2) = -1.97, p > 0.05, n2 =
0.67, indicating that there is not a significant increase in self efficacy scores from the pre-

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test to the post-test. The mean increase for the vicarious learning group was 5.66, with a
95% confidence interval for the difference between the means of 64.24 to 69.90. The
researchers accepted the null hypothesis. By comparing tables 2 and 4 it can be noted
that both learning strategies produced increases in self-efficacy and in each case were
insignificant. It can also be noted that the vicarious group produced greater increases in
self-efficacy than did the mastery group, which is the opposite of what literature and the
researchers had suggested. The effect size was moderate based on Cohens conventions.
Learning Strategies and Completion Times
The results from the paired sample t test were again not significant, t (2) = 1.91, p
> 0.05, n2 = 0.67, indicating that there was not a significant increase in the scores from
the mastery group (M= 13.98, SD=0.55, N=30) compared to the vicarious (M=12. 96,
SD=0.67, N=30). The mean increase was 1.02, with the 95% confidence interval for the
difference between the means of 12.95 and 13.97, the researchers accepted null
hypothesis.
Paired Samples Statistics
Mean

Std. Deviation

Std. Error Mean

Mastery

13.9767

.55248

.31897

Vicarious

12.9567

.67323

.38869

Table 5: Agility Test Completion Times: N = number of participants. Mean refers to the
mean of all three participants completion times.

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15
14
Time (s) 13
12

Participant 1
Participant 2
Participant 3

11
Vicarious

Mastery

Table 6: Agility test completion times for each participant: Mastery learning group times
= 13.54, 13.11, and 12.22 seconds. Vicarious learning group times = 14.33, 14.26, and
13.34 seconds.
Table 5 and 6 show the completion times for the mastery and vicarious learning groups.
As shown above all three of the vicarious participants produced faster times than did the
mastery learning group (Figure 6). With a mean of 12.96 (Figure 5) the vicarious
learning group was 1.02 seconds higher than the mastery group who had a mean time of
13.98 seconds (table 5). Again these results were opposite what the literature and
researchers had indicated.
Discussion
The results of this study show that both of the learning strategies implemented
prior to agility testing, mastery and vicarious, produced increased levels of self-efficacy
pre-to-post testing. This means that each strategy can be effective at increasing sports
performance because level of self-efficacy is directly correlated to level of performance
(Bandura, 1977). Therefore, increasing levels of self-efficacy will subsequently lead to
increased levels of performance. This is what was expected based on previous research

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23

within the sports domain as well as within various other domains that the concept of selfefficacy has been previously studied (Multon, Brown, & Lent, 1991; Samson, & Solmon,
2011; O'Leary, 1985). That being said, it is important to note that none of the results
from this study were significant so it is impossible to have full confidence in the findings.
In addition to supporting what was previously expected, the research findings also
produced various unexpected results. The most surprising finding was that vicarious
learning was more effective than mastery learning when it came to both self-efficacy and
time to complete the agility test. Thus, with the vicarious group, self-efficacy was higher
and time scores to complete the agility test were lower, which correlates with a better
performance outcome. These findings contradicted the original hypothesis of this study,
which was that mastery learning would be more effective. These findings go against this
studys original hypothesis as well as Banduras (1977) early research, which was the
basis for the hypothesis. Just to reiterate, Banduras research states the opposite, which is
that mastery learning is more effective than vicarious learning in the acquisition of new
skills (1977). Due to the considerable amount of research suggesting the opposite of our
findings, and total lack of research suggesting the opposite, it was determined that these
findings were most likely inaccurate. The most likely explanation for the conflicting
results was due to the extremely small sample size in which the findings were drawn from
(Aron, Aron, & Coups, 2006). The findings in this study may have been different if a
larger sample size was tested. Once again these findings were not significant which leads
to further support for inaccurate results.
When analyzing results, it is also important to note that failure never occurred
during testing, which was originally anticipated during testing with some individuals.

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24

Because of this, there was no way to accept or reject the second hypothesis in this study,
which was that when failure did occur during mastery learning, vicarious learning would
be more effective. The specific population sample of athletes that was chosen for this
study was most likely the reason for the lack of failure present. If a less athletic
population was tested the failure rate may have been higher and this variable could have
then been tested and analyzed.
There were several limitations for this study, the main one being the small sample
size that was tested. The study had a total of six participants, which only allowed for
three participants in each experimental condition. Due to this small sample, it is hard to
say for certain whether or not the results would reflect and be comparable to actual results
of the larger hockey player population. They may in fact be accurate, however no
definitive conclusions/inferences can be made based on this study because of this
limitation. The small sample size was in part due to limited access to participants, given
that there was only a modest amount of individuals who fell within the age range and
hockey groups to begin with. On top of that, time became a large limiting factor, both in
regards to the time available to test the athletes as well as the specific time of year testing
fell on, as it was their playoff season and consequently made it harder for participants to
find the time to participate in the study. Lastly, the accuracy of the timing of the agility
test may have been slightly off, as a stop watch was used to calculate times as opposed to
timing gates or an electrical device. That being said, at best the times were off minutely
and this is only mentioned for the sake of noting it.
In regards to future research, there is still a great deal of room for further
investigation looking specifically at how learning styles affect self-efficacy in the

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25

professional athlete population. As previously mentioned, most research in the past has
been on novice performers, which is why this study focused on this specific population.
This study attempted to test the effectiveness of two learning strategies, both mastery and
vicarious, because there was lack of comparative research between the two in the past.
Although conclusions were drawn, this is only one study and being so has limitations to
how much weight its findings hold. There needs to be more studies conducted in the
future that analyze the same variables in order for more definitive conclusions to be
drawn. Further studies can expand on this research study to see if the results will be the
same or if they would differ. If other researches want to replicate this study it is advised
that timing gates be used instead of stop watches to insure optimal accuracy of agility
testing time results. Another recommendation is for further studies to include more
practice trials during the mastery learning session. This study only allowed for two trails
which may not have been enough to produce maximum performance results during
testing and thus may have influence overall results. It may also be beneficial for future
studies to include both sexes instead of just males, as well as various age groups. This
way results can be applied to the greater overall population of athletes instead of the
limited population that this study targeted. In addition, this study looked at the two
learning strategies separately. It may be beneficial to combine both strategies and
compare self-efficacy and performance to the individual conditions to see if it would
result in the highest improvements. The last recommendation for future research would
be to include self-modeling as a means of vicarious learning. This study only used a
videotaped demonstration of the test done by another individual as a means of vicarious
learning application. Self-modeling is made up of the individual repeatedly observing the

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26

correct or best parts of his/her own performance and using it as a model for future
performance has shown conflicting results (Dowrick & Dove, 1980). It would be
interesting to see which type of application would be more effective at producing
favorable results especially because there has not been much research on this to date so
more needs to be done. Winfrey and Weeks (1993) found no significant effects on selfefficacy on balance beam performance using self-modeling videos with female gymnasts.
Singleton and Feltz (1999) found the opposite, concluding that collegiate hockey players
shown several weeks of self-modeling video tapes showed greater shooting accuracy and
increased self-efficacy for game performance compared to controls. More research could
provide a more definitive conclusion, which is not available at this time.
Overall, although results were not significant and differences between groups
were minimal, it was apparent that regardless of experimental condition, self-efficacy
increased from pre-testing to post-testing, thus confirming that both strategies are
effective at producing positive results. This is beneficial information for both coaches and
athletes because it shows that both learning strategies positively impact performance
outcomes, which is the main objective for professional athletes. This main finding from
the study supports Banduras research as well as countless other prior studies on selfefficacy and adds to the current literature within the sports domain (Bandura, 1977;
Bandura, 1994; Bandura, 1997; Moritz, Feltz, Fahrbach, & Mack, 2000).
Conclusion
The reality is that sport continues to trend in the direction that emphasizes
competitiveness and specialization. No longer do kids that play high level sports simply
stick to honing their skills by playing the game. Specialized training has become a

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27

business in itself as every fitness coach claims to have the program that is the key to
improving in-game performance. The original intent of our research was to determine
which learning strategy, vicarious or mastery, had the largest impact on self-efficacy and
sport performance. The hope was that the results would provide sufficient evidence
revealing the most effective way to teach new skills and improve sport performance in
youth.
By selecting a timed test like the New Agility test, we were able to quantitatively
compare the two most influential sources of self-efficacy as described by Bandura (1977).
Both learning groups did prove to increase self-efficacy among the youth hockey players.
The results of the analyses, however, showed that the findings were not significant
enough to stake claim that either learning type is more effective than the other. We still
believe though, that given the findings in our research, self-efficacy learning techniques
can be effective means of improving ones sport performance. Self-efficacy and academic
performance have been studied, but more extensive research is needed in the field of selfefficacy and sports in order to definitely prove its effectiveness. If coaches and players
could possess techniques, drills and tools that improve their self-efficacy when
performing sports and sport related tasks, it might prove to be what is needed to get the
extra advantage on their opponents.

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