In this short piece, I provide coaches with an intervention that will help protect your bowler's confidence when they suffer a defeat or perform poorly. It is based on research and best practice. Try this easy-to-use and implement intervention if you want to develop a team of bowlers who will not be shaken when failure happens. As we know from research, champions are able to move-on after a set-back. This will help you to build champions.
Self-efficacy is the belief in yourself that you are able to perform specific tasks. For athletes, this is critical for success. As I always say Knowledge plus Practice leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to confidence. Brown et al. studied the impact of self-efficacy interventions on adolescents in netball and soccer.
Those athletes that received interventions in three areas (personal mastery, encouragement and motivation, vicarious mastery) were shielded mentally after losing in a competition. Those athletes who did not receive the self-efficacy interventions had their self-efficacy reduced significantly after a loss.
In other words, their feelings that they could be successful in the sport were diminished after losing. So, although the intervention didn’t increase self-efficacy, it protected the confidence and motivation of the athletes after suffering a loss in competition. Consequently, these athletes were more resilient in their mental game due to the coach interventions.
Coaches, to ensure that your athletes improve their self-efficacy, lead them through the following exercise frequently during the season. Have your athletes keep a journal and respond to the following 6 statements in the 3 domains (personal mastery, encouragement, vicarious mastery). This should be done frequently to help develop a strong resiliency and to develop the quality of these three domains. Specifically, you could have your athletes do this collectively on a biweekly or monthly basis. Or, you can do an interview with each athlete on a rotational basis as part of a on-going one-on-one meeting process.
1. Personal Mastery
a. Think about something you did well during the competition.
b. Think about winning you next event and how you will feel.
2. Encouragement or Positive Feedback
a. Think about a time when your coach praised you.
b. Think about a time when your coach showed confidence in you.
3. Vicarious Mastery
a. Think about a great athlete who failed at first and then succeeded.
b. Think about a great athlete who works harder after losing so s/he can win in the future.