Applying Social Cognitive Theory in Coaching Athletes: The Power of Positive Role Models

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to help coaches apply specific principles of psychology to the coaching process. More specifically, the work of Albert Bandura and his social cognitive theory form the basis for the article. This article begins with a brief overview of Bandura's social cognitive theory. It then examines four types of behaviors worthy of imitation and provides practical examples of each. Thereafter, the article defines and outlines various models that coaches need to be aware of and the power of modeling. It concludes with an examination of four processes of observational learning, and most importantly, the actual practical application of social cognitive theory as it relates to coaching athletes. By exploring and developing a better understanding of the basic tenets of social cognitive theory and its applications, coaches can add to and enhance their “coaching toolbox,” and ultimately improve their practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Education


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