This sample Motivation in Sports Essay is published for informational purposes only. Free essays and research papers, are not written by our writers, they are contributed by users, so we are not responsible for the content of this free sample paper. If you want to buy a high quality essay at affordable price please use our custom essay writing service.
Motivation is continually changing in sports. Sports psychologists often characterize motivation as including direction of effort, intensity of effort, persistence of behavior, and the extent to which an athlete returns on a regular basis to the behavior (referred to as “continuing motivation”). To recognize how individual motivation is developed and to discover the most effective ways to influence motivation, coaches and sports psychologists acknowledge not only characteristics of an athlete but also the social environmental and physical environmental conditions in which the athlete participates. Hence, no single strategy or view is used to explain motivation. The best approach incorporates individual, social environmental, and physical environmental influences on motivation.
Sports psychologists attempt to account for both individual and situational variables that influence an athlete’s motivation. The individual athlete (with his or her gender, race/ethnicity, religion/spirituality, etc.) and his or her interaction with the sports environment (social and physical factors) have a major influence on motivation. Personal factors involved in the interaction of athletes with the sports environment may include physical fitness, physical skill, perceptual skill, and psychological skill.
Furthermore, sports are often rooted in cultural traditions. Where an athlete lives and plays influences motivation. Hence, social factors associated with sports, including the athlete’s roles and responsibilities at work and home, surroundings in which an athlete participates, and family, friends, teammates, and coaches influence motivation. Accordingly, economic conditions, socioeconomic status, and educational and family structures also influence motivation. Moreover, research in sports psychology has identified an athlete’s experiences with cooperation and competition as well as with coaching behavior as additional social factors influencing motivation. Physical environmental factors, including convenient and accessible training facilities, enjoyable scenery, and weather, may also influence motivation.
In order to discuss principles of motivation, we must assume that athletes are actively involved in decision making about what behavior they will engage in. Athletes can choose to behave through the exercise of self-influence. Those actions done intentionally are referred to as “agency.”
To be an agent is to intentionally make things happen by one’s actions. Agency embodies the endowments, belief systems, self-regulatory capabilities and distributed structures and functions through which personal influence is exercised, rather than residing as a discrete entity in a particular place. The core features of agency enable people to play a part in their self-development, adaptation, and self-renewal with changing times. (Bandura 2001, 2)
Behavioral intention is a strong influence on motivation. Intention represents an athlete’s immediate behavioral orientation toward engaging in a sport and reflects the athlete’s motivation toward that sport. Intentions reflect a decision to enact a particular behavior (e.g., attending practice). Intentions for sports summarize an athlete’s motivation to be involved in sports.
An intention is a representation of a future course of action to be performed. It is not simply an expectation or prediction of future actions but a proactive commitment to bringing them about. Intentions and actions are different aspects of a functional relation separated in time. It is, therefore, meaningful to speak of intentions grounded in self-motivators affecting the likelihood of actions at a future point in time. (Bandura 2001, 7)
Hence, we can view intention as a convincing predictor of behavior and influence on motivation.
Self-efficacy is a theoretical construct that has received a great deal of support as a significant influence on motivation. Self-efficacy represents a form of situation-specific self-confidence. Self-efficacy is an athlete’s perception of her ability to perform a given task. An athlete’s belief in her capability to exercise some measure of control over her own functioning and over environmental events is central to the athlete’s personal agency. Efficacy beliefs are at the foundation of this personal agency. The likelihood that an athlete will participate in a given sport depends on her beliefs about whether she can perform the skills necessary for that sport. Unless the athlete believes she can produce chosen results by her actions, she has little incentive to act or to persevere in the face of hardship.
Other factors may operate as motivators in sports but must be rooted in the core belief that the athlete has the power to produce effects by her own actions. Athletes with high levels of self-efficacy persevere when faced with obstacles or negative circumstances. In contrast, athletes with low levels of self-efficacy fail to overcome similar obstacles. Efficacy beliefs play a pivotal role in motivation and also influence whether athletes think optimistically or pessimistically. Therefore, efficacy beliefs may enhance or hinder sports motivation.
In addition to self-efficacy, outcome expectations influence motivation. The likelihood that athletes will engage in a behavior (e.g., physical training) depends on their self-efficacy and their outcome expectations (e.g., winning in competition). In examining any theory related to motivation, we must understand the relative importance of the activity to the athlete. In the self-efficacy model a strong relationship exists between doing something and seeing the results. However, the model itself excludes the relative importance of the outcome to the athlete. The expectancy theory proposes that expectations can influence motivation. The first element of expectancy theory is valence or the relative importance of the outcome of the situation.
Knowing what an athlete wants to gain from a certain situation and understanding the relative importance of the outcome are significant parts of the athlete’s motivation. Self-efficacy and outcome expectations are powerful influences on an athlete’s motivation. An expectancy-valence model depends on the athlete’s expectations of reward. Positive expectations
for success produce subsequent positive effects. An athlete’s motivation to achieve something depends on the product of his estimation of his chance of success and the value he places on success. Note that if an athlete does not value the outcome or believes that his probability of success is zero, then his motivation will be insignificant. In addition, under certain circumstances an overly high probability of success can be detrimental to motivation. Athletes form outcome expectations from observing the sports environment in which they participate as well as the outcomes from the actions they take. Athletes pursue courses of action that are likely to produce positive outcomes and avoid courses of action that are likely to produce negative outcomes.
Athletes who believe they have control over events in their lives are more likely to behave in accord with expectancy theory. However, athletes who believe that they are pawns of fate do not. These alternative beliefs are subjective and are referred to as the athletes’ “locus of control.” Locus of control explains how each athlete generally views the source of her outcomes, positive or negative. “Internal locus of control” means that an athlete’s reinforcements and punishments are the result of her resources and own efforts. “External locus of control” means that an athlete’s reinforcements and punishments are the result of outside forces over which she has no control. How she perceives the source of control determines an athlete’s locus of control. An athlete’s subjective locus of control affects how she behaves.
According to expectancy theory, athletes are motivated not only by their goals but also by how attainable they think these goals are. Within this theory three factors help determine an athlete’s motivation: valence, instrumentality, and expectancy. Valence is the satisfaction the athlete anticipates from an outcome. Instrumentality is the perception of that outcome’s relationship to the current performance. Expectancy is the expectation that effort will affect performance. According to this theory, motivation is high when valence is high, instrumentality is clear, and expectancy is strong.
Athletes with a self-determined motivational profile engage in sports because of personal choice or because they derive pleasure and satisfaction from the experience. Deci and Ryan describe self-determination as a person’s “capacity to choose and to have those choices be the determinants of one’s actions” (Deci and Ryan 1985, 38). To further develop self-determination theory, Valler and proposed the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In the model motivation may be intrinsic, extrinsic, or amotivated. “Intrinsic motivation” refers to engaging in sports for the pleasure derived from simply participating. This type of motivation comes from within the athlete regardless of outside influences.
Intrinsically motivated athletes possess greater perceptions of physical competence or participate in sports for the feelings of self-determination, perceptions of control, and satisfaction that the sports provide. Intrinsic motivation is fostered when feelings of competence are increased or perceptions of self-determination and internal control are prominent. Furthermore, sports activity that is perceived to be interesting or challenging, that provides feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, or that is performed for its own sake rather than for external reward induces intrinsic motivation. When the sports activity is perceived to be under one’s internal control, intrinsic motivation is high. Extrinsic motivation, however, results from behavior performed to gain some substantial reward or to avoid negative consequences rather than to reap the inherent pleasure it provides. “Extrinsic motivation” refers to a wide range of behaviors considered to be a means to an end. Extrinsic motivation comes from outside the athlete, most commonly from others through either positive support or negative reinforcements. The fundamental goal of such behaviors is to receive something positive and to avoid something negative. Amotivation is the complete lack of motivation. Feelings of incompetence and lack of control often characterize amotivation.
Enjoyment (a form of intrinsic motivation) is an important influence on sports motivation. Enjoyment based in part on feelings of competence and perceived control is essential for enhancing motivation and continued participation. Athletes continue to participate because they enjoy what they are doing. Feelings of enjoyment clearly play an important role in sports motivation. Athletes who enjoy their chosen sport will stick with it longer than those who do not.
Goal setting has long been a part of the study of motivation and coaching in sports psychology. Many studies during the last thirty years have supported the effectiveness of goal-setting theory in various sports settings. Goals can be divided into outcome goals, performance goals, and process goals. Research in goal setting indicates that subjects with easy goals usually have higher expectations for reaching their goals but perform worse than do subjects assigned to difficult goals. A relationship between probability of success and incentive value of success appears to exist in that success in an easy task is not valued as highly as success in a difficult one.
Additionally, multiple-goal strategies are advantageous for sports performance when compared with strategies that do not combine different types of goals. Specifically, the benefit of developing a process orientation toward goal setting has been well documented. Process goals are most beneficially used within a hierarchy of goals that should also include performance and outcome goals. The key to this type of goal setting is for the athlete to focus on what she needs to do as opposed to what she wants to happen. Performance and outcome goals can be set with process goals as the means to achieving the desired outcome. Process goals are simply the means chosen to implement performance and outcome goals.
The function of goal setting is to institute and give direction to action. Goals serve as a motivational tool by engaging self-evaluation in the activity itself. Athletes often use journals or training logs as a means of self-evaluation, feedback, and continued motivation. Technological and computer advances allow athletes to record, share, and analyze training information (i.e., heart rates, power output, mileage) with coaches via spreadsheets, databases, and e-mail. Monitoring an athlete’s pattern of performance (e.g., actual physical training) and the cognitive (e.g., mood during training) and environmental conditions (e.g., heat and humidity) under which the training occurs is one step toward affecting performance. Current actions influence future actions through performance comparisons. With this immediate information and feedback available, evaluation based on individual and coaching guidelines gives further direction to athletic pursuits. This evaluation helps athletes sustain their efforts toward further goal achievement and continued motivation. Intentional behavior, such as sports participation, must center on a plan of action. Intentions and goals must be revised and even reconsidered, depending on new information or changes in the sports environment (e.g., level of competition).
Attention to Action
To increase motivation, athletes must use a here-and-now focus. Athletes do well over time when they use a task-oriented approach toward training and competition. Task orientations are associated with intrinsic motivation. Although the past may influence reasons for current behavior (e.g., previous lack of physical conditioning), the past cannot be changed. Furthermore, when an athlete is cognitively focused in the present, expected future events are transformed into current motivators of behavior. When focused in the present, behavior (e.g., daily physical training) is motivated and directed by specific performance and process goals and anticipated outcomes. Athletes must choose to behave and focus in the present (e.g., process goals). One key to reaching full athletic potential is to develop the skill to keep previous successes and failures in perspective and to view things with a here-and-now focus. This here-and-now focus must involve effective concentration on the task at hand.
Having adopted an intention and an action plan, one cannot simply sit back and wait for the appropriate performances to appear. Agency thus involves not only the deliberative ability to make choices and action plans, but the ability to give shape to appropriate courses of action and to motivate and regulate their execution. This multi-faceted self-directedness operates through self-regulatory processes that link thought to action. (Bandura 2001, 9)
Motivation in sports is continually changing. We must recognize the complexity of individual, social environ-mental, and physical environmental influences on motivation. Agency and the core belief that the athlete has the power to produce effects by his or her own actions are strong influences on motivation. Knowing what an athlete wants to gain from his or her sport and understanding the relative importance of the outcome are significant parts of the athlete’s motivation. To maintain and enhance motivation, the athlete must understand the degree of effort necessary (e.g., training time, intensity) and the relationship among process goals, performance goals, and outcome goals. Understanding how and why each goal can be achieved will aid in motivating the athlete. Motivation is high when valence is high, instrumentality is clear, and expectancy is strong. Athletes are motivated not only by their goals but also by how attainable they think these goals are. An emphasis on establishing realistic and achievable process goals focusing on specific task accomplishments will further enhance the athlete’s feeling of self-confidence and motivation. Constant monitoring with corrective feedback based on goal attainment is also recommended. The combination of knowing what direction the athlete is heading in, what performance level is needed, and what effort is needed often results in high motivation.
- Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
- Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Reviews of Psychology, 52, 1-26.
- Biddle, S. (Ed.). (1995). European perspectives on exercise and sport psychology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
- Bootzin, R. (1986). Psychology today—An introduction. New York: Random House.
- Brannigan, G. G. (Ed.). (1999). The sport scientists: Research adventures. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
- Cox, R. H. (2002). Sport psychology: Concepts and applications (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
- Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.
- Deci, E. L.,Vallerand, R. J., Pelletier, L. G., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). Motivation and education: The self-determination perspective. Educational Psychologist, 26, 325-346.
- Filby,W., Maynard, I., & Graydon, J. (1999).The effect of multiple-goal strategies on performance outcomes in training and competition. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 11, 230-246.
- Horn, T. S. (Ed.). (2002). Advances in sport psychology (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
- Kowal, J., & Fortier, M. S. (2000). Testing relationships from the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation using flow as a motivational consequence. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 71, 171-181.
- Martens, R. (1987). Coaches’ guide to sport psychology. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
- Murphy, S. (1997). The achievement zone. New York: Berkeley Publishing Group.
- Orlick, T. (1990). In pursuit of excellence: How to win in sport and life through mental training. Champaign, IL: Leisure Press.
- Sheeran, P., & Orbell, S. (1999). Augmenting the theory of planned behavior: Roles for anticipated regret and descriptive norms. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 29, 2107-2142.
- Slavin, R. (1988). Educational psychology theory into practice. Engle-wood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
- Theodorakis, Y. (1996). The influence of goals, commitment, self-efficacy and self-satisfaction on motor performance. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 8, 171-182.
- Tubbs, M., Boehne, D., & Dahl, J. (1993). Expectancy, valence, and motivational force functions in goal-setting research: An empirical test. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 78, 361-373.
- Vallerand, R. J. (1997). Toward a hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 271-360). New York: Academic Press.
- Vealey, R. S. (1994). Knowledge development and implementation in sport psychology: A review of The Sport Psychologist, 1987-1992. The Sport Psychologist, 8, 331-348.
- Weinberg, R. S., & Gould, D. (2003). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Free essays are not written to satisfy your specific instructions. You can use our professional writing services to order a custom essay, research paper, or term paper on any topic and get your high quality paper at affordable price. UniversalEssays is the best choice for those who seek help in essay writing or research paper writing in any field of study.