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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 42-51

Exploring collective efficacy sources in the experiences of elite handball players: A qualitative study

1 Faculty of Sport Sciences, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran
2 Department of Urban Studies, Jahad Daneshgahi, Isfahan Branch, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication3-Apr-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Zohreh Meshkati
Faculty of Sport Sciences, Islamic Azad University Isfahan (Khorasgan), Isfahan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jepr.jepr_3_16

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AIM: The aim of the present study was to explore collective efficacy sources in the experiences of elite handball players of Iran national team.
METHODS: A qualitative phenomenological design was adopted. The sample under investigation included the handball players of Iran national team in 2014 that were selected through purposive and snowball sampling technique. The participants were eight men and four women voluntarily took part in the study. To collect data, semi-structured interviews were used.
RESULTS: The results of the study were divided into two main dimensions, namely, team's internal sources and team's external sources. The internal sources included reliable characteristics of the coach, in-team interactions, team's achievements, and team cohesion. The external sources included financial and psychosocial supports.
CONCLUSION: The research findings were complementary and special to other studies. Thus, it is recommended that the researchers pay more attention to the issue of collective efficacy sources in national handball team.

Keywords: Collective efficacy sources, phenomenology, qualitative research, semi-structured interviews, thematic analysis

How to cite this article:
Mohammadi Z, Meshkati Z, Zhianpour M. Exploring collective efficacy sources in the experiences of elite handball players: A qualitative study. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2018;4:42-51

How to cite this URL:
Mohammadi Z, Meshkati Z, Zhianpour M. Exploring collective efficacy sources in the experiences of elite handball players: A qualitative study. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Dec 8];4:42-51. Available from: https://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2018/4/1/42/229134

  Introduction Top

“We have to believe that we can make it!” Anyone who has been part of a sport team is familiar with this kind of statement.[1],[2] Bandura [3],[4],[5] considers self-efficacy as one's belief in his/her abilities required to obtain a certain outcome. Collective efficacy indicates the use of this concept at a group level and is defined as “group's shared belief in its conjoint capability to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given levels of attainment” (page 477). Most of the studies done so far in this regard used collective efficacy as one of the variables under investigation in the group [1] and indicated that there has been a positive relationship between collective efficacy and other variables, including team cohesion,[6],[7],[8] individuals' efforts,[9] and group goals.[10] Moreover, research has shown that there is a bidirectional relationship between collective efficacy and team performance, for example, ice hockey teams.[11],[12] As Bandura [5] does not consider collective efficacy simply as the sum of self-efficacy beliefs of individuals; however, as a result of the interactions, coordination, and dynamism of all team members, this dynamism plays a vital role in emerging of new needs and desires in the team. Furthermore, Bandura [13] regards collective efficacy as a state and assumes collective efficacy similar to the self-efficacy which is affected by different sources of information. According to Bandura, efficacy beliefs (effectiveness) are made up of some fundamental sources [2],[14],[15] including performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states.[16] Few studies have so far supported this classification. Besides, recent studies have added other sources to this classification as well including Vealey et al.,[17] who developed the sources of efficacy using Bandura's theory of efficacy and considered nine sources for athletic confidence. Chase et al.,[18] in a qualitative study of identifying the sources of self-efficacy and collective efficacy among female basketball players, obtained other sources among which the most important self-efficacy and collective efficacy sources were social comparison and success in the past performances, respectively. Investigating beliefs and sources of self-confidence among successful world champion athletes, Hays et al.,[19] while confirming the efficacy sources suggested by Bandura, obtained other sources including psychological/physical fitness social supports. In another qualitative study, Ronglan [1] while investigating collective efficacy sources in one season of handball Olympic and World Champion League indicated that previous performance analysis of the team, team preparation for the next match, common customs, and persuasive actions were among the sources of collective efficacy during one season of the matches. Investigating the sources of collective efficacy in volleyball, Fransen et al.[2] found additional efficacy sources beyond the sources suggested initially by Bandura the most important of which was the interaction among the members of the team.

The literature review of studies conducted so far shows that different factors can predict collective efficacy in athletes. According to Bandura's framework,[4] there are four sources of collective efficacy. However, it seems that the structure and quantity of the sources suggested in this framework will change once the type and demographic information of the athletes are changed so that other sources have been added in some population. As said by Vealey et al.,[17] organizational culture (e.g., competitive level, motivational climates, and aim of sport), individual characteristics of the athlete (e.g., personality and attitude), demographics, and competitiveness affect the sources and predictive factors of sport confidence.[19] On the other side, cultural or ecological validity has been suggested.[20] This issue is related to the effects of the social and cultural factors of the research study which influence the human behaviors in one way or another since the purpose of the study is that findings and references are in line with the main culture and context of the study.[21] To measure perceived collective efficacy, Bandura [22] and Feltz et al.[23] suggested two methodological approaches. The first approach includes individual interpretations of the members concerning their personal capabilities to perform specific functions they can do in the sport team. The next deals with the interpretations of the members' opinion about the capability of the groups to function as a team.[24]

A variable such as efficacy beliefs is not obtained easily. This indicates that athletes have fostered such beliefs over time. Thus, the researcher in this study intended to investigate collective efficacy sources from the view point of Iranian athletes whose performance was outstanding in the society. In the same way, it has been observed that most theories have quantitatively been investigated and generalized so far. It seems that Iranian sport society is faced with a limited number of qualitative studies. Few studies have been done regarding the efficacy sources among athletes in Iran, particularly qualitative studies in which the researcher can directly reach the experiences of the professional athletes in Iran and use them. Thus, this study resorted to the qualitative research design in investigating the collective efficacy sources in elite handball players of Iran national team.

  Methods Top

The sample of this study consisted of eight male athletes and four female athletes selected from the Iran national team. They ranged in age from 20 to 32 years and had the experience of playing in the national team for 8–12 years. The sample was selected through purposive and snowball sampling technique. Adequacy of the sample size depends on satisfying this condition. Accordingly, to reach saturation, 12 handball players were interviewed. If no additional nonrepetitive information is obtained from the interviews, it is said that the sample reaches saturation. In this study, a qualitative phenomenological design was used. In this study, the researcher, making use of a phenomenological design, made an attempt to describe, interpret, and explain the experiences of the athletes regarding collective efficacy sources based on the lived experiences in developing this category as the starting point of confidence or efficacy is the internal experience of the athletes, in which the personal perceptions and senses clarify the statements and are explained for the researcher. Data were collected using semi-structured in-depth interviews. All the one-to-one interviews were conducted using open-ended questions. The interviews are taken by the main researcher. Moreover, a checklist of the points to be asked was provided for the researcher so that the process of the interview was constantly checked. However, flexibility was also observed against the new and novel trends in this process. Interviews lasted between 25 and 40 min. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. Before transcribing the data, the researcher listened to all the interviews so that he/she can have a better understanding of the issue. To ensure trustworthiness, the interviews were all checked against the recordings immediately once the data were transcribed.

The design of the study was thematic analysis, which is a way of identifying, analyzing, and reporting the existing patterns in the qualitative data. This approach is a process of analyzing textual data and changes the diverse and sparse data to the rich and detailed data.[25] According to Braun and Clarke,[25] a theme is something important about the research questions representing some levels of patterned response or meaning in the data set. In this study, the below three-step thematic analysis was used. Step 1: Descriptive coding – studying and extracting the related parts out of the text and defining descriptive codes; Step 2: Interpretive coding – classifying the descriptive codes and interpreting the meaning of each class based on the research questions and field of study; Step 3: Integration – extracting the key themes from the data set as a whole by looking through the interpretive codes theoretically or empirically and finally drawing a graph indicating the relationship between different levels.[26] To increase trustworthiness, it is necessary that the recorded events be the ones that really have taken place. Thus, the findings of the study including the codes and concepts were consulted with the supervisor of the study and two experts in the field of qualitative research studies. Moreover, objectivity was preserved by setting aside the personal beliefs and biases. Furthermore, authenticity of the findings was confirmed by the participants.

  Results Top

The findings and codes of this study were obtained from three levels of descriptive, interpretive, and explanatory coding concerning the experiences of the handball players about the collective efficacy. In the first step of the thematic analysis, i.e., descriptive coding, 118 descriptive codes were extracted from 12 interviews which were represented in 71 unrepeated descriptive themes. In the interpretive coding, 11 interpretive themes emerged through a continuous comparison of the formed categories. Finally, in the third step, five explanatory codes obtained from the themes emerged out of the interviews which the researchers report them in two main dimensions [Table 1]. The model of the study was finally proposed [Appendix 1 [Additional file 1]]. Participants described the collective efficacy as “trusting the ability of the whole group to reach the final success or win.” Concerning reaching this efficacy, participants referred to a number of points some of which were related to the inside of the team and some of them were tied with the outside of the team. Thus, the researchers classified them into two main dimensions of “in-team sources and external sources.” Each of these dimensions has explanatory codes [Appendix 2 [Additional file 2]]. First, the in-team sources codes included reliable characteristics of the coach, in-team interactions, team's achievements, and team cohesion, which all included other interpretive codes as well. Second, the external sources included financial and psychosocial supports. This code included four interpretive codes of family support, financial support, media support, and spectator supports.
Table 1: The way of extracting the descriptive and interpretive codes

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Sources within the team, based on statements by participants in those experiences are said to participants within the team and help the team to achieve success achieved.

Reliable characteristics of the coach (an explanatory code)

The first emerged theme of the in-team sources can be called as the reliable characteristics of the coach. Meanwhile, the participants mentioned that the coach ought to have a number of abilities and knowledge including psychological knowledge, technical knowledge, and team unification.

Psychological knowledge (an interpretive code)

Indeed, participants believed that coaches could increase the collective efficacy in the team by enjoying these abilities and knowledge. For example, pertaining to the psychological knowledge, one of the participants said, “The first important thing for a coach is to have the science, knowledge, and ability over his/her career. For me, the science of psychology is the most important one. Effective communication is absolutely important.”

From the participants' points of view, if a coach has the ability to set up positive communication with all the players of the team, he/she can inspire confidence in the players. One of the participants in this regard states, “A coach ought to know that dealing with all the players is not the same in every circumstance. Each player has their own personal traits. The fact that how a coach deals with each player and points out their mistakes to them goes back to the coach's knowledge of psychology. All these points help the coach give confidence to the players.”

Technical knowledge (an interpretive code)

According to the participants' statements, coaches' scientific ability accelerates progress in players' collective and individual technique. In the participants' opinion, scientific knowledge, academic education, and coach's being up to date can significantly affect type of training, preparing the team, and teaching technique to the individuals. One of the participants believes “There was some extra light training which everybody mockingly said what training we are doing. I myself asked why we do this training. And now I see the results, for example, our players are not fed-up with the training; all the bodies are ready and prepared; all the training sessions are going on smoothly according to the updated science without any injuries in the joints. All these show that the coach's knowledge is of high rank.”

Team unification (an interpretive code)

The participants pointed to the unifying role of coaches in the team and attributed the primary responsibility of creating integrity and unification in a team to the coach.

In the participants' views, each team has a series of special and particular rules, norms, and values which are set up through time, and all the team members are required to observe in order to reach the principal goal. One of the participants says, “The path causes us unconsciously move to the common goal. There is also some law and order which is little by little created during the camp. For instance, we have to get up at a specific time and have breakfast, then go training. Most coaches have some rules when they come to the camp and everyone has to obey them.”

In-team interactions (an explanatory code)

The second constructive in-team experience is “in-team interactions.” Communications among players, or in-team interaction, refer to positive and friendly communications among the players in a team. It includes interpretive codes such as appropriate communication of teammates, cultural convergence, trustworthiness, and stars leadership.

Appropriate communication of teammates (an interpretive code)

Appropriate communication of teammates is the first interpretive code of interactions among players, which refers to the appropriate reactions of players in all circumstances. The participants recognize teammates' encouragement and support, particularly at the time of foul, injury, and success, as a factor in believing efficacy. These supports would foster friendship among team members in time. One of the participants believes “Teammates' communication is so important. If someone attempts to score a goal, they will succeed or fail. But if the teammates cry out and encourage them shouting, 'You can! You will score boy!' this will build up the spirit. If I get this team energy, I will score a goal, I bet!”

The participants put emphasis on friendship and would interpret it as the underlying principle of in-group interaction which is created by accepting other cultures and reciprocal trustworthiness.

Cultural convergence (an interpretive code)

The second interpretive code is cultural convergence which refers to teammates' attempt to perceive and integrate cultural differences. The players of each team closer together in terms of cultural integration will further interactions within the team. To give an example, one of the interviewees maintains “I'm originally from Yazd. When I came to the national team, I had some problem with my accent. They made fun of my accent a bit, but they got used to it little by little. There are players from all over the country, from North, Ahvaz, Esfahan, etc., We all get to know each other's cultures and get used to them. Our goal is our national team, which we are all a member of.”

Trustworthiness (an interpretive code)

The first significant source of increasing collective efficacy in teammates is the trust on their performances. In particular, trust on teammate's performance plays an important role when they are given a golden chance in critical and crucial moments which are decisive in indicating team's success. One of these athletes says, “When I pass the ball to my teammate, I want them to score a goal. Woe, when they hit the ball to the bar or lose the ball. The second time, when they go for an attack, I will be scared to death and fear that they might waste the chance.”

Stars leadership (an interpretive code)

Stars leadership is the last code in this regard. In the participants' views, teammates have special trust on the performance of the athletes who have won championship as well as their leadership in team. One of these athletes believes “I attempt to see what plan our captain has for attack since he has won the title of the best handball player for many times. My teammates and I want to follow his plan.”

Team achievements (an explanatory code)

Team achievements are one of the explanatory codes which indicate team members' experience in team and individual success. In other words, team achievements are past titles and success which each member of the team has played a role in accomplishing. In the participants' viewpoints, team achievements are not only the success but also the failure which was considered as enjoyable failure. The participants consider failure as a way to success in future. One of the interviewees says, “You can't say that this is the success which generates efficacy belief. Sometimes, failure can form into belief for us. This is because we gain a series of experience as Iran has entered the international arena and facing great handball teams of the world is a valuable experience for us.”

Team cohesion (an explanatory code)

The last explanatory code of collective efficacy in in-team sources is team cohesion. It can be inferred from the participants' interviews that cohesion in team spirit is achieved when all the members of the team utter the same words, respond to the same calls, express the same excitements, and cry out the same mottos.

Team motivation (an interpretive code)

Team motivation is one of the interpretive codes of team spirit solidarity. It is any kind of team motivation that team members acquire besides each other. One of the participant's states: “Progress and team success has turned into a team motivation for teammates and everybody tries to realize this motivation.”

Team excitements (an interpretive code)

The second interpretative code is team excitements. It was inferred from the participants' interviews that team excitements are in fact collective behaviors of the members such as anger, happiness, fear, or stress. These feelings sometimes erupt in a desirable way which generates positive energy and sometimes are expressed in an undesirable way conveying negative energy, such as failure sorrow, to individuals. In this regard, one of the participants says, “Being together teaches us how to be all happy or how to put up with the failure we've had so that nobody blames the other. This belief is held that we are all one team and we all have to behave in one single way.”

Team meetings (an interpretive code)

The last interpretive code is team meetings. One of the points referred to and by the participants was sessions or meetings which were held before or after the competitions by coaches for the team members. In these meetings, team analysis, pointing out the weaknesses and strengths of the team, and the rival and planning for the next match were discussed. One of the interviewees talks about the team meetings in this way: “Coaches of high rank would set up some meetings before and after the games so that all the guys express their ideas. Some points were made which sometimes upset them. However, everyone would find about their weak and strong points. These meetings contribute to eliminating some annoyance in the match.”

The athletes' experiences of external efficacy sources

In regard to the athletes' experiences of external efficacy sources, two main explanatory codes of financial and sociomental support are observed which include four interpretive codes: family financial and mental supports, team financial and mental support, media support, and spectator support.

Support (an interpretive code)

The participants named family support as a factor for their peace of mind in different conditions and situations. In addition to its encouraging role in initiating the sport career, family acts as a reliable support in continuing the career, especially for athletes whose hometowns are far from the capital and women in particular. Many players paid for the costs of travel to the national team camps through their families. There were some participants whose families were against their sport career but continued their career despite all the disagreement. One of the players says, “We can say that most of our players achieved this level of their sport career through their families' support. There was some time when we didn't have any money to buy the tickets for our travel. Families both financially and emotionally supported us by attending the stadiums and cheering up both their children and the whole team.”

The female participants considered family support more important than male participants did because in case of lack of financial support, they cannot put up with financial crisis. Some participants were raised in an athletic family, so they did not face any disagreement when they started their sport career and enjoyed their family's support from the early stages. These factors have played a significant role in carrying out their career. One states, “My parents blessing helped me reach this level. I never forget that my father prayed for our team's success and kept telling me 'no pain, no gain!' If my dad had not supported me financially, I could have not attended the training sessions because I had no income. As you know, women's sport has no income in Iran.”

Financial and emotional support of the team (an interpretive code)

The second interpretive code is financial and emotional support of the team. In this regard, it is worth pointing out that if the team members enjoy financial and residential amenities, emotional security will be dominant in the team and team satisfaction will be realized. One participant believes “The team must be financially provided for and equipment and amenities be prepares. This will make players think that they are important and they will play more seriously.”

Media support (an interpretive code)

It was mentioned by the handball players and female athletes that the media, as the most important sources of information, ignore broadcasting the time table of the matches and even announcing the results of the competitions although these sources can act as a strong support for the players. Due to this ignorance and lack of attention, feeling of no support and unworthiness are experienced by the players in the society. They call for more public broadcasting and advertising the above sport so that sport discrimination is removed. One interviewee maintains “Handball has not gained a place among neither men nor women in Iran. Developing and disseminating sport will be more fruitful through TV and media, but it rarely occurs. Not only is handball disappearing but also other team sport, except for football.”

Spectator's support (an interpretive code)

The participants were interested in spectators' presence in the stadiums because their attendance acted as a powerful motivation for their favorable performance. Some participants favored their own team's fans in the stadiums and not the rival team's. The female participants call for both the rival and their own fans. Many women were interested in men's presence in the stadiums because their presence shows how much value men place on women's sport and community. One of the participants says, “I like to see the fans in the stadiums because it gives me much motivation. Even if we are playing away, their presence is effective and excites me, but it can have negative influence as I might play badly. If there is no spectator, players never feel that this is a match and keep saying that 'Is this a match or a training session?' This influence our performance. I prefer the stadium to be crowded. It seems that spectators can make us believe that we can win, whether they encourage us or boo us.”

  Discussion Top

There is a paucity of literature investigating sources of collective efficacy in team sport in Iranian national teams. This study attempts for the first time to discover collective efficacy sources in handball players in Iran. The special purpose of this study has been to pinpoint theses sources among the athletes who had experiences during their sport career. Therefore, the methodology used in the study is phenomenology. According to the findings of the study and the interviews of the participants, some diverse components other than Bandura's efficacy sources [5] have played a role in the efficacy of handball players. Although some of the stated components, based on the participants' experiences, confirm Bandura's classification, the researchers of the study presented the results of the collective efficacy sources of these athletes in a new classification based on the experiences of their sport career. In this classification, collective efficacy sources were included in two parts: in-team sources and external sources. Each of these parts consists of interpretive and explanatory codes. Reliable characteristics of the coach, in-team interactions, team achievements, and team solidarity make up explanatory codes of in-team efficacy sources. In external sources, financial and socioemotional supports are explanatory codes and its interpretive codes include financial and emotional support of family, team financial and emotional supports, media supports, and spectators support.

In a qualitative study on individual and collective efficacy sources of female student basketball players, Chase et al.[18] considered external components as effective in addition to in-team factors. They regrouped these sources in two groups of external and in-team. According to the experiences of the participants of this study, in-team and external sources were separated from one another. The first stated source is the trustworthiness of the coach. Trust is of those sources that strengthen interactions, extend communications, and facilitate predictability of others' behavior. Trust is a valuable source for a team's efficacy. The participants counted some features for coaches' trustworthiness. Watson and Chemers [27] added leadership efficacy to the collective efficacy sources. Myers et al.[12] maintained that few official coaches were among skilled athletes, that is, these coaches never achieved any considerable level of professionalism during their sport career as a player. Consequently, athletes never look up to them as a source of trust.[24] In a study on predicting sources of self-confidence in young wrestlers of Iran championship, Abdolalizadeh et al.[28] reported coaches' support, especially those that had gained some titles before, as the predicting source of self-confidence in wrestlers. Ramzaninezhad et al.[8] pointed to the positive relationship between collective efficacy, coaches' behavior and team cohesion, and team performance in the teams playing in Iranian volleyball league. Dithurbide et al.[7] pointed out the positive relationship between coach efficacy and team efficacy.

According to their experience, it seems that athletes believe that the most important need of a team is an effective coach who leads the team to success and achievement. Professional players have had the experience of working with different coaches and are able to easily distinguish an effective coach from an ineffective one.

In this study, the quality of relations among players has been analyzed which has been included in the descriptive code of in-team interactions. A part of the findings was in line with those of Fransen et al.,[2] which investigated collective efficacy sources in volleyball. They have pointed to the positive interactions and the subsequent enthusiasm as the most important collective efficacy source in players before and after the match and reported that discouraging and incorrect gestures and behavior are the causes of inefficacy. Ronglan [1] has described the same situation in handball and emphasized the role of happiness and livelihood during the match in increasing group efficacy and building up team standards. The results of a research by LeCouteur and Feo [29] reveal that intimate relations among players during the match act as a significant factor in match creativity and weak and unemotional relations play an essential role in team collapse. Future research can indicate if strong and intimate relations can influence group efficacy.

According to the participants' experiences, players' interaction is made up of performance trust, cultural convergence, and friendship (correct reactions) among members. The participants know that strong and positive relations with other members of the team have some advantages, and they should trust one another in critical moments and help their friends.

The participants also pointed to cultural convergence in team as Iranian national teams choose players from around the country with diverse and different religions, ethnicities, and cultures. These players do not know each other; however, when they gather in one team, a team identity is formed and individuals interact with each other. In proportion with team identity and common goal of the team, the capacity of integrating customs and culture of other teammates increase. Ronglan [1] has referred to the common customs and etiquettes among players of a team and recognizes it as a factor for strengthening the collective efficacy beliefs. In future teams, players should be able to express their ideas and allow them to take part in teamwork. The empty place of this kind of leadership is felt in small and great teams. Not only the researchers but also the participants pointed to the significance of such meetings in professional and amateur teams. This policy creates team spirit solidarity and blocks the way for teammates' defensiveness against each other and prevents collapse of the team because of demoralization.

The findings of external efficacy sources include socioemotional and financial supports by organizations, coaches, family, spectators, and the media. These supports consolidate the team in international competitions. George and Feltz [30] added spectator and media to the efficacy sources. In addition, social supports have been considered as a source for self-confidence and collective efficacy.[2],[17],[18],[19] It is needless to say that players recognize the organizations' responsibility (federations) as financially supporting the sport community. Providing financial and job security for the athletes by the organizations (federations) is of great importance.

Athletes considered the role of media important in leading the team effectively. Besides athletes' display and valuation in the sport society, media interpret the position of the sport in the society. These comparisons included difference in the sport contracts and better facilities and equipment in other fields. This almost led to inefficiency in athletes' performance. For these athletes, media and institutional neglect brought about the sense of insecurity, emptiness, and exhaustion. With regard to the social support, differences were found between males and females in this study. For instance, female athletes placed great significance on the social support of the coached in boosting collective efficacy. New generation of female athletes tended to develop their potential abilities so as to be successful in the international arena. Female participants faced with inadequate and poor facilities in reaching success more than males.

Although the findings of the earlier studies indicated that previous performance has been the strongest source of self-efficacy beliefs,[15],[18] the results of this study showed that positive support of the coach and strong relationships between the players was one of the most important internal factors in handball teams. Emotional and financial support of the family was considered the main external efficacy source in the team.

In general, the results of this study indicated that the efficacy of a group depended on both external and internal factors. Accordingly, it is suggested that sport officials, particularly in team sport, provide necessary conditions for improving the efficacy of young athletes based on their athletic efficacy sources using efficient coaches and proper planning so that better performance of athletes is provided. It is worth mentioning that each aspect of efficacy is predicted by different sources. The difference in the effective components of the collective efficacy in each group can be due to different personal beliefs about efficacy and various external stimuli. Thus, the results obtained in one team would be different from those in another team.[27] Therefore, it is recommended that other efficacy sources be investigated in other sport. On the other hand, we can refer to the differences in culture which almost every theory is formulated in a particular context. The findings of this study also suggest that the theories of sport psychology can be qualitatively analyzed.

Limitations of the study

The major limitation of this study was that the results could not be generalized to other sport and athletes. The participants of this study were athletes of national teams, and the findings were considered for this group of athletes. Indeed, due to the limitations of the qualitative studies, the researchers made no claims to generalize the results. Rather, the researchers investigated the variables under investigation more deeply and extensively.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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