As Saturday’s pay-per-view approaches, the excitement heightens between fight and sport fans alike, as Floyd “Money” Mayweather rolls (most probably in one of his many Royces) into Las Vegas to rekindle his rivalry with recent foe and Argentinian hardman Marcos Maidana. In what many consider a formality, Mayweather will be looking to etch another W onto his currently unblemished 46-0 record, thus propelling him further into the reckoning to be considered GOAT, whilst silencing doubters along the way, who consider age to be catching up with the 37year old veteran, who’s last 2 wins have come surprisingly via majority decisions. The bout is a rematch of the pairs previous May encounter, which surpassed critic and fan expectations alike, with Maidana enjoying far more offensive success on the usually untouchable Mayweather, exposing frailties within the P4P kings armoury, and leading to a public outcry for the pair to go toe to toe once again. Both athletes will be in peak physical condition- No doubt. Maweather may be considered guilty of taking the challenge of Maidana lightly prior to the first bout, therefore if Maindana is unable to defeat an off guard Mayweather what chance does he stand September 13th. For Maidana one of his greatest challenges leading into the fight will be his ability to prepare psychologically, in particular addressing any Self-Efficacy issues which may have surfaced following defeat in the pair’s latest match up. Legendary boxing coach Cus D’Amato was no stranger to the importance of psychology in determining performance, quoting “fights are won and lost in the head” (Schinke & Ramsay 2009).
So what is Self-Efficacy and what impact can it have?
Self-efficacy has been defined as an individual’s belief in their capabilities to execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments (Bandura, 1977) with the general consensus agreeing self-efficacy is one of the primary psychological constructs associated with achievement in sport (Moritz et al, 2000).. In plain English, it is considered a form of situation specific confidence; in Maidana’s case how certain he is he can beat Mayweather, and is considered to be one of the greater predictors of performance. Research conducted into identifying relationships between self-efficacy and performance has provided a clear indication that striving to increase levels of self-efficacy can be beneficial towards performance (Daroglou 2011). Moritz et al (2000) meta-analysis was able to establish a moderate correlation between self efficacy and performance, when comparing results obtained through 45 studies and 102 correlations, and subsequently identified that 16 percent variance in performance could be directly attributed to self-efficacy. Therefore, it is essential Team Madana ensure their warrior has the right mindset leading into the fight, in particular as he is going into battle with someone he has already failed to conquer.
Bandura (1977, 1986) identified four sources of information which determine efficacy judgements within individuals, these include; vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion, physiological states & performance accomplishments (considered to have the greatest influence).
Performance accomplishments are based on individual experiences and effect self-efficacy through cognitive processing of such information (e.g. how successful Maindana believed he was in his first bout with Mayweather). Warnick & Warnick (2007) illustrates the importance of dictating athletes belief of performance as they identified defeats were associated with defeats in future performance, with reasoning behind this associated to self-efficacy levels. When athletes achieve repeated/perceived success efficacy expectations will increase, whereas repeated/perceived failure will lead to a decrease (Bond, Biddle & Ntoumanis, 2001), therefore it is essential failure is attributed towards external and unstable characteristics to ensure no detrimental impact upon efficacy.
The relationship between performance accomplishment and self-efficacy has been studied vigorously (Bruton et al, 2013), with the implications of failure on future performance and efficacy judgements illustrated within Gernigon & Delloye (2003). Female sprinters who were provided feedback associated with failure after performance in a task displayed decreased self-efficacy from first to second trial (p<0.01, ES= 0.36), leading to a substantial decrease in performance.
Despite many applauding Maidana’s performance against Mayweather, he was still quite convincingly beaten; and it was more the fact that critics expected a complete walk over and easy payday for the P4P king as opposed to a stellar performance from Maidana. It is essential Maidana deflects any reasoning behind failure in the first bout towards uncontrollable factors, in order to ensure his performance accomplishments are of a positive nature, subsequently leading to high strength of efficacy judgement and greater potential for successful performance in the upcoming bout.
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About Darren Armstrong
A recent bachelor of science in Sport and Exercise Science, with qualifications obtained through Leeds Metropolitan University. An individual who has worked in various sporting environments aiding teams/athletes, with roles held including: strength and conditioning coach, nutritionist, psychologist and performance analyst.