Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise vol:47 issue:7 pages:1470-1484
Purpose. Although it is generally accepted that team confidence is beneficial for optimal team functioning and performance, little is known about the predictors of team confidence. The present study aims to shed light on the precursors of both high and low team confidence in two different sports. A distinction is made between sources of process-oriented team confidence (i.e., collective efficacy) and sources of outcome-oriented team confidence (i.e., team outcome confidence), which have often been confounded in previous research.
Methods. In a first step, two qualitative studies were conducted to identify all possible sources of team confidence in basketball and in soccer. In a second step, three quantitative studies were conducted to further investigate the sources of team outcome confidence in soccer (N = 1,028) and in basketball (N = 867), and the sources of collective efficacy in basketball (N = 825).
Results. Players perceived high-quality performance as the most important factor for their team outcome confidence. With regard to collective efficacy, team enthusiasm was perceived as most predictive determinant. Positive coaching emerged as second most decisive factor for both types of team confidence. In contrast, negative communication and expression by the players or the coach was perceived as the most decisive predictor of low levels of team confidence. At item level, all studies pointed to the importance of team confidence expression by the athlete leaders (i.e., leader figures within the team) and the coach.
Conclusion. The present manuscript shed light on the precursors of high and low levels of team confidence. Athlete leaders and the coach emerged as key triggers of both upward and downward spirals of team confidence, thereby contaminating all team members.
We are grateful to Dries Bloemen and Mario Hendriks for their assistance during the data collection.