Slobounov, S., & Yukelson, D. (1997). Self-efficacy and movement variability of Olympic-level springboard divers. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 9, 171-190.

Movement variability, self-efficacy, self-evaluative reactions, and expert evaluations of springboard dives in Olympic athletes were studied.

It was found that the more difficult an intended dive, changes in factors occurred. Specifically, self-efficacy declined with an increase in difficulty and preparatory movement variability also declined with dives that are more difficult.

As practice progressed, self-efficacy and accuracy of self-evaluative reactions increased. As dives were practiced, no matter what their degree of difficulty, self-efficacy for performing the dives improved over the course of the practice set. Self-evaluation increases indicated that the divers became more satisfied with their performances as the practice set progressed. The nature of athlete's self-evaluations was marginally consistent with those of the coaches' evaluations (r = .68).

Implication. High-level athletes appear to "try harder" at practice, the more important the practice item. This is demonstrated by reduction in physical performance variability with increased skill difficulty. With repetitive success at practice items, athlete's self-efficacy and self-evaluations increase. These features indicate that for elite athletes, practices should contain:

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