A Study on the Self-Efficacy of Elite Coaches Working at the Turkish Coca-Cola Academy League

### Abstract

As defined by Bandura, self-efficacy is an individual’s belief about her/his ability to perform well in a given situation. The purpose of this study was to determine the levels of self-efficacy amongst elite professional Turkish soccer coaches. One-hundred twenty-three coaches from 41 professional soccer clubs in four different regions of Turkey, training U14 and U15 age groups voluntarily participated in this study. This study used the Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES) comprising four specific efficacies (motivation (ME), game strategy (GSE), teaching technique (TTE) and character building (CBE). According to the total coaching efficacy scale, results suggested that participating coaches’ self-belief in efficacy was at highest levels (M=8.26, SD=.49). Coaches’ self-belief in the sub-scale of character development efficacy was at highest (M=8.60, SD=.54), whereas self-belief in game strategy was at lowest levels (M=8.03, SD=.61). One of the most important findings of the study was that coaches’ self belief in the sub-scale of motivation efficacy differed according to the category in which they work (t=2.049, p<.05). Game strategy efficacy differed significantly according to marital status (t=2.417, p<.05); and type of coaching certificate (t= 2.186, p<.05). A higher degree of self-belief regarding motivation efficacy amongst coaches training young teams compared to professional-level coaches was due to the athletes they worked with. In many cases, it is easier to motivate young players rather than professionals. Coaches’ self-improvement in motivation will definitely have a decisive impact on their success in professional sports.

**Key words:** coaching efficacy, elite coaches, professional sport, soccer

### Introduction

Extensive research about the behavior exhibited by individuals throughout their lives suggests the existence of many factors influencing human behavior. One of these factors is self-efficacy (4,5). The social cognitive theory focuses on how the individual learns new information and behaviors by observing, imitating an individual or by taking the individual as a model (1). This theory suggests that one of the most important roles in the individual expression of personal behavior is the individual’s level of self-efficacy.

First mentioned by Bandura (4), the concept of self-efficacy is defined as one’s belief in his or her own ability to perform a certain type of task. Self-efficacy is specific to a certain task and is dynamic (10,14). In other words, it is open to change over time with new information, experience and learning (14). The individual makes a comparison between expected performance and his or her own capacity (12). In the scope of the concept of self-efficacy, the need for a high degree of self-belief to be successful in a specific behavior stands out as one of the most important factors in exhibiting that behavior.

Sometimes knowledge and skill might not be adequate for successful behavior. On most occasions people may know the correct course of action, yet be unable to act accordingly. Self-efficacy stands out as an important bridge between knowledge and behavior. Personal level of self-efficacy influences an individual’s perspective and behavior toward the action. Positive or negative feedback received by the individual in response to his or her abilities and competence results in the strengthening or weakening of the individual’s own belief in his or her self-efficacy (18). Studies suggest that individuals with high self-efficacy tend to be more resilient in the face of obstacles to accessing sports activities (6). They also have heightened levels of social skills (2) and are more eager to take bigger risks (16,17).

Performance build-up in soccer requires long periods of time. What constitutes the fundamental elements required by soccer training throughout this long process is a topic of enduring discussion (3). The most important issues in this context are accurate organizational structures; correct training models; adequate club facilities; environmental conditions and, maybe more than anything, coaching efficacy. It is stated that the athlete’s learning process becomes much more rapid, efficient and thorough, if the format of competitions and training participated in by children are developed with consideration to their mental, psychological and motor abilities (24). At this point, while it is fundamental for a coach to believe in his or her self-efficacy in the context of building up athlete performance (20), this characteristic demands constant enhancement (19).

Based on the notion that coaches can be perceived as teachers, the Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES), developed by Feltz, Chase, Moritz & Sullivan (8), is the only published scale to date that is used frequently in studies on coaching efficacy (11,16,17). D.L. Feltz, et al., (8) define coaching efficacy as coaches’ self-belief in their capacity to influence an athlete’s level of performance and learning. Consisting of 24 items and four sub-scales, the psychometric characteristics of the scale are supported by exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis (8).

The majority of studies on the topic have been conducted on individuals in the United States. Others include Tsorbatzoudis, Daroglou, Zahariadis & Grouios’s study (22) on professional team coaches in Greece and Gencer, Kiremitci & Boyacioglu’s study (9) on Turkish coaches in the disciplines of basketball, soccer, tennis and handball. This latter concludes validity and reliability findings coherent with Feltz et al.’s study (8). The present study addresses significance in terms of CES examining the self-efficacy levels of Turkish elite professional soccer coaches.

### Method
#### Participants

The study group consisted of 123 coaches working for the U14 and U15 age groups within the Turkish Coca-Cola Academy Leagues, founded in the 2008-2009 soccer season. Coaches actively work for 41 professional soccer clubs distributed amongst five regions established for this league; all participated voluntarily in the study. The sample group participating in the study consisted of males only, with ages varying between 22 and 60 (M=38.6, SD=7.9).

#### Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES)

Data for the study was collected using the Coaching Efficacy Scale (CES) developed by Feltz et.al. (8). Total Coaching Efficacy (TCE) consists of 24 items within four sub-scales including: (a) Motivation Efficacy (ME – 7 items), (b) Game Strategy Efficacy (GSE – 7 items), (c) Teaching Technique Efficacy (TTE – 6 items), and (d) Character Building Efficacy (CBE – 4 items). Items were scored on a 10-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (not at all confident) to 9 (extremely confident), and each item was preceded with a prefix, “How confident are you in your ability to …” The scale contains items such as “How confident are you in your ability to motivate your athletes?” identified by ME; “How confident are you in your ability to understand competitive strategies?” identified by GSE; “How confident are you in your ability to detect skill errors?” identified by TTE; and “How confident are you in your ability to instill an attitude of fair play among your athletes?” identified by CBE.

Scale validity and reliability for the sample of Turkish coaches has been conducted by Gencer et. al. (9). Exactly identical to the original, the Turkish adaptation of the scale, grouped under four sub-scales, reached significantly similar results to the original scale (8) with a variance rate of 59.8%. Although the Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for factors creating the scale were relatively coherent (between .80 and .87) with original scale values, the Cronbach’s coefficient for the entire scale was exactly identical. Values (x2=468,21, df=238, normed chi-square (NC, x2/df)=1.97, p<.05; RMSEA=0.069, S-RMR=0.062, GFI=0.84, AGFI=0.80, CFI=0.91, NNFI=0.89) obtained from confirmatory factor analysis of the scale indicate that the model adapts to data at admissible levels.

### Procedure

Using a face-to-face interview method, researchers personally presented coaches with AYÖ, the Turkish version of the Coaching Efficacy Scale and the scale forms containing questions collecting information on coaches. Researchers provided detailed information to participating coaches about the purpose of the study and how the questionnaire should be completed, although this information was delivered in writing on the documents. Researchers distributed questionnaires on the third day of a training seminar and collected them the same day.

### Data Analysis

Obtained data was subject to t-test using the SPSS 15.0 program in order to clarify whether there was a statistically significant difference between the Total Coaching Efficacy (TCE) and its sub-scales: Motivation Efficacy (ME), Game Strategy Efficacy (GSE), Teaching Technique Efficacy (TTE), and Character Building Efficacy (CBE), or differences among it and age groups, marital status, education level, athletic career, coaching certificate, coaching level and years in coaching. Coaches’ ages, sporting backgrounds and coaching backgrounds were divided in to two groups after taking sample group averages.

### Results

Sample group average age was considered for data analysis and samples were gathered under two age groups, age 39 and less, and age 40 and over. Pursuant to this grouping, 78 (63.4%) of participant soccer coaches were age 39 and under and 45 (36.6%) were age 40 and over. A total of 100 (81.3%) soccer coaches were married and 23 (18.7%) were single. An investigation on coaches’ levels of education indicated that the majority of participating coaches were university graduates (n=77, 62.6%). (Table 1)

All coaches participating in the study played soccer as licensed athletes in their past sports careers. While 47 (38.2%) of the coaches played at an amateur level, 76 (61.8%) of them played at a professional level. An investigation on coaching certificates showed that 87 (70.7%) of the coaches hold UEFA B Licenses while 36 (29.3%) hold UEFA A Licenses. A majority of coaches work for the youth teams of professional soccer clubs (n=95, 77.2%).

Coaches participating in the study had been working in this profession between 1 and 23 years (M=7.87, SD=5.88). The sample group’s average years in the career were considered for data analysis and samples were gathered under two groups; eight years and fewer, and nine years and more. According to this grouping 78 coaches (63.4%) with less than eight years experience, and 45 (36.6%) with more than nine years experience, participated in the study (Table 1).

Coaches’ average belief in self-efficacy was determined to be M= 8.26, SD=.49. The level of Character Building, one of the sub-scales rendering beliefs on self-efficacy, was found to be at highest levels (M=8.6, SD=.54). The Character Building sub-scale was respectively followed by Teaching Technique (M= 8.22, SD= .58), Motivation (M= 8.17, SD= .57) and Game Strategy (M= 8.03, SD= .61) (Table 1).

The t-test results obtained from the study reveal that the efficacy and efficacy-related sub-scales of coaches participating in the study did not differ by age group, level of education, athletic career or years in soccer coaching. However, coaches’ belief in efficacy, when related to the strategy sub-scale, revealed significant difference by marital status (t= 2.417, p=.021) and coaching license (t=2.186, p=.032). Similarly, belief in efficacy when related to the motivation sub-scale differed significantly as well by the category coaches worked in (t= 2.049, p=.046) (Table 1).

Table 2 presents the correlations between total coaching efficacy (TCE) and coaching efficacy sub-scales. Correlations among dimensions of coaching efficacy ranged from 0.46 to 0.80, and correlations of TCE with dimensions of coaching efficacy ranged from 0.75 to 0.92 (Table 2). These relationships are coherent with the hierarchical structure suggested by previous studies (8,16).

### Discussion

Studies have shown that there is a positive relation between individuals’ increasing level of education and occupational efficiency, and that an individual’s contribution to the society was directly proportionate to the level of education. Based on population, Turkey ranked 15th in the world for level of education (7). Approximately 62.6% of coaches participating in our study were university graduates, suggesting that the education levels of these coaches were considerably above the national average.

Besides the high level of education among coaches participating in the study, the fact that most of them (61.8%) had previously played soccer at a professional level, along with the fact that 70.7% held a UEFA B License and 29.3% held a UEFA A License, was perceived as the reason for a considerably high degree of self-efficacy (M=8.26, SD=.49). In 2008, the Turkish Soccer Federation started an initiative to update certificates in accordance with UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) criteria and with this objective gave priority to developing the competence of coaches joining the Turkish Coca-Cola Academy League. Being informed on latest updates and receiving relevant training has contributed positively to the self-efficacy of coaches comprising our study group, and, in comparison with other studies (8,15,23), they presented a higher level of self-efficacy.

When compared to other sub-scales that constitute coaches’ belief in self-efficacy, Character Building was found to be at the highest levels (M=8.6, SD=.54). This finding is supportive of findings from other studies (8, 11, 15, 16, 23) conducted on coaching efficacy. One of the fundamental purposes of establishing the Coca-Cola League was exemplified by the slogan “Good Individual, Good Citizen, Good Athlete.” Bearing this slogan in mind, and considering the group coaches work for, highest levels of perceived self-efficacy in this sub-scale was highly significant. As a matter of fact, Lidor (13) underlined the necessity for ensuring the execution of plans and procedures directed at character-building within sports activities. Considered from a social perspective, character-building is undoubtedly very significant.

The Character Building sub-scale was respectively followed by Teaching Technique (M=8.22, SD=.58), Motivation (M=8.17, SD= .57), and Game Strategy (M=8.03, SD=.61). Mean values determined for these three sub-scales were calculated to be higher than those given in other related studies (8, 11, 15, 16, 23). The positive values, classified under these four sub-scales as the positive values which successful coaches are expected to have, were valuable in terms of their contribution to athletes. Game Strategy-related self-efficacy perception of coaches was identified to be lower than other sub-scales, which is important in regard to game strategy, being a decisive factor in game results.

Obtained t-test results revealed that the efficacy and efficacy-related sub-scales of coaches participating in the study did not differ by age group, level of education, sports career or years in soccer coaching. These findings are unsupportive of Tsorbatzoudis et al.’s finding (22) that, unlike inexperienced coaches, experienced coaches perceive themselves to be technically more competent in terms of coaching experience. However, this condition could be explained by the fact that coaches participating in our study had a higher level of experience. Teams joining the Turkish Coca-Cola League are some of the most elite clubs in Turkey, and these clubs are rigorous in choosing coaches. These two factors were considered to be the reason for such a result.

Coaches’ belief in efficacy related to the GSE revealed significant differences by marital status (t=2.417, p=.021) and coaching certificate ownership (t=2.186, p=.032) (Table 1). Familial responsibilities of married coaches might lead them to believe that they are more competent than do single coaches in the strategy sub-scale. In fact, strategy is very closely related to experience. That coaches with UEFA A License have further experience in the game of soccer than UEFA B License holders might help explain the difference emerging once again in the strategy development sub-scale.

It is interesting to note that belief in efficacy related to the motivation sub-scale differed significantly by the category coaches worked in (t=2.049, p=.046) (Table 1). Youth team coaches having more self-efficacy than professional team coaches in the motivation sub-scale is completely relative to experiences coaches have with soccer players. It is perhaps easier to motivate youth team players aspiring to become professionals for upcoming games than it is to motivate those who have already reached the professional level. Concepts of fame and money that engage in professional sports, after a while, cause a gradual sense of fulfillment, and this presents itself as coaches having difficulty in motivating players. More so, compared with youth team coaches, professional team coaches face further difficulties due to various other responsibilities and diversifying interests of older players. Therefore, considering experiences, it appears logical that youth team coaches perceive themselves to be more competent in terms of motivation than do professional team coaches.

### Conclusion

Besides being well educated, elite soccer coaches participating in the study also had good careers as athletes and coaches, explaining the high degree of self-efficacy among them. It was interesting to see that the degree of GSE, the capacity of directing the team during a game, was higher amongst married coaches than those who were single. It was logical to see a higher degree of GSE in coaches holding a UEFA A certificate compared to UEFA B certificate holders. The most interesting result from the study was the varying degree of motivation among coaches depending on their position. This suggests coaches’ need for knowledge and experience about the concept of motivation increased parallel to the significance of the league they worked for.

### Applications in Sport

Self-efficacy is an effective structure demanding improvement for efficiency from the coach. The fact that this effective structure transforms over time in light of newly acquired information and experiences demonstrates the need for meticulously organized coach training programs and even coach appointments. Respective federations and/or organizations have a great deal of responsibility in this matter.

### Acknowledgments

The author wishes to express his sincere thanks to Assistant Professor Dr. Melih Balyan for his support and cooperation in this study.

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### Tables

#### Table 1. Descriptive statistics of coaches and t-test results related to the Coaching Efficacy Scale

Motivation Efficacy Game Strategy Efficacy Teaching Technique Efficacy Character Building Efficacy Total Coaching Efficacy
39 & less 78 63.4 8.19 .58 8.01 .62 8.28 .60 8.57 .54 8.26 .50
40 & over 45 36.6 8.15 .56 8.06 .60 8.13 .53 8.64 .54 8.24 .48
t-value .420 -.480 1.439 -.763 .171
Marital Status
Married 100 81.3 8.21 .56 8.1 .6 8.26 .54 8.61 .55 8.29 .48
Single 23 18.7 8.03 .61 7.76 .6 8.08 .72 8.52 .51 8.1 .53
t-value 1.264 2.417* 1.121 .759 1.627
Education Level
High school & lower 46 37.4 8.17 .57 8.1 .58 8.23 .56 8.63 .54 8.28 .49
University & higher 77 62.6 8.17 .57 8 .62 8.22 .59 8.58 .54 8.24 .49
Sporting Background
Amateur 47 38.2 8.17 .56 7.98 .58 8.18 .62 8.63 .49 8.24 .47
Professional 76 61.8 8.18 .58 8.07 .63 8.25 .55 8.58 .57 8.27 .50
t-value -.062 -.777 -.593 .537 -.295
Coaching Certificate
UEFA B 87 70.7 8.15 .59 7.96 .62 8.19 .61 8.57 .55 8.21 .50
UEFA A 36 29.3 8.23 53 8.21 .55 8.31 .48 8.66 .50 8.35 .45
t-value -.731 2.186* -1.171 -.883 -1.451
Coaching Level
Youth 95 77.2 8.23 .57 8.03 .61 8.26 .57 8.64 .51 8.29 .48
Professional 28 22.8 7.98 .55 8.04 .61 8.1 .60 8.45 .60 8.14 .50
t-value 2.049* -.009 1.258 1.540 1.389
Coaching Background
8 years & less 78 63.4 8.18 .57 8 .62 8.24 .60 8.57 .57 8.25 .50
9 years & more 45 36.6 8.17 .58 8.1 .58 8.19 .54 8.64 .49 8.28 .47
t-value .087 -.944 .484 -.796 -.337
Total 123 100 8.17 .57 8.03 .61 8.22 .58 8.6 .54 8.26 .49

* p < .05

#### Table 2. Pearson correlations between dimensions of coaching efficacy and total coaching efficacy

Game Strategy Efficacy Teaching Technique Efficacy Character Building Efficacy Total Coaching Efficacy
Motivation Efficacy 0.80 0.74 0.60 0.92
Game Strategy Efficacy 0.71 0.46 0.88
Teaching Technique Efficacy 0.75
Character Building Efficacy 0.75
Total Coaching Efficacy

p < .001

### Corresponding Author

**R.Timucin Gencer, PhD**
University of Ege
School of Physical Education and Sports
Bornova, Izmir, Turkey, 35100
+90 232 3425714 (office)
+90 532 3030610 (mobile)

### Author Bio

R.Timucin Gencer, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Sport Management at the University of Ege. He played basketball as a professional from 1990-1997. He was also the assistant coach of the Turkish National Basketball Team U-16 men who won the European Championship Title in 2005.