The Role of Self-Efficacy, Effort, and Achievement Goal Orientation on Strength Training Performance in Division 1 Track and Field Athletes



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Self-efficacy and achievement goal orientations are predictors of affect, behavior, and performance in sport and exercise. These traits contribute cognitively to subjective exercise experiences, which are important for promoting behavior in the training environment. The purpose of this study was to: (a) examine the relationships between daily effort, task-specific self-efficacy, and perceived performance with positive well-being and psychological distress following a strength training workout, (b) examine the relationship between effort and perceived performance for the squat, bench press, and Olympic lift tasks, and whether trait achievement goal orientations and self-determined motivations impacted these relationships, (c) determine whether variations in daily perceptions of stress and recovery impacted task-specific self-efficacy at the beginning of a strength training workout. Data was collected from 29 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 track and field athletes in a pre-season training block via electronic survey. Demographic data, 3 x 2 achievement goal orientations and self-determined motivations were collected once prior to the training block. Perceptions of stress, recovery, and task-specific self-efficacy were collected prior to each training session. Perceptions of effort, performance, and subjective exercise experiences were collected after each training session. For each research question, multilevel modeling explained variance within and between individuals. Daily measures were nested within trait measures. Findings were as follows: (a) At the day-level, increases in perceptions of effort and performance related to positive subjective exercise experiences. In addition, when self-efficacy was low, higher efforts and perceptions of performance mitigated negative subjective experiences. Athletes higher in trait self-efficacy reported more positive responses to training sessions. (b) Increases in daily effort were related to higher perceptions of performance. For the squat task, athletes with mastery-approach orientations showed a stronger relationship between daily efforts and perceived performance. The effort-performance relationship did differ between athletes for the Olympic lifts, but 3 x 2 goal orientations could not explain this difference. (c) Perceived stress moderated the relationship between perceived recovery and self-efficacy for a workout, bench press, and Olympic lift task. The relationship was significant on days athletes had average or above average stress levels, and non-significant on low stress days. In conclusion, increased perceptions of recovery, effort, performance, and self-efficacy can enhance psychological responses to strength training sessions in college athletes. Findings are discussed in relation to practical recommendations for coaches in the strength training environment.



Achievement goal orientation, Perceived effort, Perceived performance, Self-efficacy, Strength training, Subjective exercise experiences