For the purposes of this study, a sportsman’s cognition or beliefs in mastering skills was defined as “beliefs in sports skills”. The study aims were to develop a cognitive scale for beliefs in sports skills for soccer players, to examine its reliability and validity, and to demonstrate its factorial structure and characteristics. A questionnaire survey was conducted on 1173 male student soccer players (341 junior high school, 464 high school and 368 college). The collected data were subjected to exploratory factor analysis, reliability analysis and confirmatory factor analysis using structural equation modeling. The results showed that soccer players’ beliefs in sports skills could be represented by a hierarchical model with 2 higher-order factors and 6 first-order factors. The 2 higher-order factors were termed beliefs in sports skills with striving and that with non-striving, respectively. It was revealed that beliefs in sports skills with striving consisted of 4 first-order factors: understanding the strategy, application of game experiences, importance of training and mastery of skills. On the other hand, beliefs in sports skills with non-striving consisted of 2 first-order factors: dependence on ability and emphasis on results. The cognitive scale developed in this study had sufficient reliability and validity, and made it possible to understand beliefs in sports skills for soccer players. The present study showed that sports skills beliefs could be divided into 2 concepts, i.e. striving and non-striving, for achievement of intentional physical activity, and that inexperienced soccer players had low cognition for mastering these skills.