Confidence-Sourcing Among Amateur Soccer Players: Interpreting Time, Place and Stimulus-Relevance

Paul K. Miller1, *, Robert George2, Steven Nicholson3
1 Department of Medical and Sport Sciences, University of Cumbria, UK
2 British Cycling, UK
3 Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK

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© 2015 K. Miller et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medical and Sport Sciences, University of Cumbria, UK; Tel: 01524 384427; Fax: 01524 384385; E-mail:


Although confidence is one of the major contemporary concerns in the psychology of sporting performance, extant study has primarily been concerned with elite and/or individual sports, and a deductive framework has been dominant. Drawing upon the core techniques of Straussian Grounded Theory, the research reported in this paper inductively analyses detailed accounts of confidence-sourcing provided by N=14 seasoned participants in amateur soccer. Results reveal a number of (sometimes eclectic) features of the ways that these individuals interpret and organise their own confidence sources, not least those relating to highly variable temporal and socio-spatial frames within which a potential confidence source might be considered “relevant” or “useful.” These findings contrast significantly with others emanating from research in the elite domain and, it is contended, have direct practical implications for both physical educators and grassroots sport coaches.

Keywords: Amateur sport, association football, confidence, confidence-sourcing, qualitative psychology, soccer.