Ludwig Wittgenstein made his thoughts rizomatic rather than arboreal.   In other words, instead of starting from the roots and working in a methodical way to bring things under one rule, a rhizome approach is a network with diverse forms, no particular foundation, for ever increasing connections, but following lines in much the same way as an evolutionary tree.   I have taken this analogy and applied it to learning.   As the above diagram portrays, learning comes at us from many directions, in many forms and no particular structure to it.   We just LEARN.


Self – Efficacy in Football.

An individual’s belief about their ability to perform football tasks successfully.

Self – Efficacy can be described as an individual player’s sense of being able to manage themself effectively and successfully in the domain of football.  An individual player’s belief about their ability to perform football tasks successfully.   This has a large influence on how they feel about themselves, how they think, and subsequently how they play or coach.

Self-efficacy is based on a belief that people can intentionally influence, control and direct their actions to make things happen. Our self-efficacy in football is shaped by four main factors:

Enactive mastery experience – the valuable experience players gain from performing football skills successfully.   A sense of success and mastery provides the individual with an ‘I can do it’ attitude towards future tasks.   Failing a task can undermine this sense and may not build self-efficacy.

Vicarious experience – this refers to the experience a player gains when they see others execute football skills and techniques successfully.   These modelling effects are strongest when the model is someone we can relate to, such as a peer.   “If they can do it so can I”.

If they can do it, so can I.”

Verbal persuasion – this refers to the verbal feedback we get from others such as teammates and coaches.   This feedback is influential in motivating the player to further efforts, however, the feedback must be realistic and within the confines of the player’s abilities.   Negative feedback can affect the player’s confidence and damage his/her self-efficacy.

Feedback is influential in motivating the player to further efforts.

Our physiological and affective state – feelings caused by anxiety and stress (butterflies or depressed moods) provide us with important information about our sense of efficacy.   Strong feelings and reactions act as a cue to warn us about our feelings of success or failure on a task.

 Feelings caused by anxiety provide information about our self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy is strongly related to effort and task persistence.   Individuals with high self-efficacy beliefs are likely to exert effort when faced with difficulties and they are likely to persist at their game provided they have the required skills.

Self-efficacy is strongly related to effort and task persistance.

Parents, Coaches and Teachers are key models in children’s social environments.   Research indicates that exposing young footballers to good adult models influences their self-efficacy for learning and performing well.

Coaches are key models for young footballers.

A way to raise self-efficacy is to demonstrate that even the most experienced footballers went through periods where they felt inadequate, and yet they were able to come through the ‘down times’ and become successful.   There are very few top players who have been able to exhibit excellence and total assurance from the beginning of their careers.

 Even the most experienced footballers have ‘down times’.

Instructional Self-Efficacy.

Coaches should develop high self-efficacy in relation to their ability to help their charges to learn the game.   The Coach ought to develop his/her own competences in order to influence their players.   The Coach can expand their capabilities by studying the game, attending coaching courses, developing their knowledge in areas of leadership, group dynamics and psychology.   This helps to increase his/her influence on the players towards their improvement.

Top Coaches and Managers ‘study’ the game.

Coaches with low self-efficacy may avoid areas of coaching which they may believe are beyond their capabilities, unfortunately, this can affect the long term development of their players and result in them not reaching their full potential as footballers.   In effect, the Coaches self-efficacy can be a vital contributor to the overall achievement (or lack of) of a player.

Becoming more knowledgeable about the game increases confidence and self-efficacy when discussing and dealing in football matters.   One is able to consider and examine football issues at a deeper level.   Self-efficacy affects whether footballers think in positive or negative ways.  How they motivate themselves and persist during difficulties, how they handle their emotions during periods of stress, how resilient they are to setbacks, and what choices they make at crucial times.

Players and coaches with strong self-efficacy will choose challenging tasks and set high, but achievable goals within the football environment.   They will spend much effort, time and persistence working on these goals.

Influences on Football Efficacy Expectations.

A large part, in the building of self-efficacy in footballers, is through gaining success by applying themselves to tasks over a period of time, and constructing a history of success through effort and persistence.

Efficacy expectations can be furthered by modelling the appropriate football skills of others (vicarious experiences).   Observing similar peer models performing a football task or skill successfully can raise the observers’ self-efficacy, “if he/she can do it so can I.”

Footballers can influence their efficacy expectations by learning and using management and coping strategies in order to keep on track of their objectives.   By maintaining a positive attitude to their progress in the game, and overcoming the inevitable setbacks, which are bound to occur, in a career in football.

A high self-efficacy will help the footballer to set their own personal standards and focus on maintaining and progressing them.   Getting feedback from respected people is also an important element in the footballer’s advancement.

Getting feedback from respected people is also an important element in the footballer’s advancement.

Research has shown that self-efficacy and achievement were raised more by observing a peer model than by observing a teacher or no model at all.   A Coach may model a skill perfectly, however, this may seem out of reach of the learning player, whereas, a peer demonstrating the skill to a lesser degree, shows that the skill is within the reach of them.   Using various players to model the skill may increase the probability that the learner will perceive themselves as similar to at least one of the models.

 Self-efficacy is raised more by observing a peer model than by observing a teacher, or no model at all.