Weiss, M. R., Wiese, D. M., & Klint, K. A. (1989). Head over heels with success: the relationship between self-efficacy and performance in competitive youth gymnastics. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 11, 444-451.

It has been consistently shown that self-efficacy is a strong predictor of performance, however, the large proportion of research has been conducted with adults. The relationship is also supported in the few studies conducted with highly competitive children.

Results. In 22 young male gymnasts the most frequent worries were: "What my parents will say if I don't perform well," "Letting my parents down," "Remembering routines," "What my teammates will say if I don't perform well," and "Letting my coach down." [Note the degree of external control in these statements.]

The least frequent worries were: "Making mistakes," "Improving over my last performance," "Equipment being different," "Performing to my ability level," and "Getting injured."

The study showed partial support for previous findings that gymnasts who had higher efficacy expectations were more successful than those with lower expectations. Precompetitive anxiety was not predictive of performance as has been found in other studies. The particular finding of this study was that correlations between self-efficacy and performance varied depending upon the specific event; the vault was lowest (r = .27), still rings (r = .36, parallel bars (r = .54), floor (r = .59), pommel horse (r = .66), and high bar highest (r = .84).

Implication. Self-efficacy plays a role in performance outcomes in youth sports. Its strength of effect/relationship may be dependent upon the particular activity in question. Those activities where much control is perceived (e.g., high bar) are likely to be more effected than those where control is less (e.g., vault).

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