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Chapter 4. Motivational Processes and the Facilitation of Quality Engagement in Sport. Joan Duda & Darren Treasure. “ The principle is competing against yourself. It ’ s about self improvement, about being better than you were the day before. ”

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Motivational processes and the facilitation of quality engagement in sport

Chapter 4

Motivational Processes and the Facilitation of Quality Engagement in Sport

Joan Duda & Darren Treasure

“The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self improvement, about being better than you were the day before.”

Steve Young MVP Super Bowl XXIX

What athletes say
What Athletes Say

“I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things half heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results. That's why I approached practices the same way I approached games. You can’t turn it on and off like a faucet. I couldn’t dog it during practice and then, when I need that extra push late in the game, expect it to be there.”

Michael Jordan

NBA MVP 1988,1991,1993, 1996, 1998

What coaches say
What Coaches Say

“When the game is over, I want your head up -- and I know of only one way for your head to be up -- and that’s for you to know that you did your best…This means to do the best YOU can do. That’s the best; no one can do more…You made that effort.”

John Wooden Former UCLA basketball coach 10 NCAA championships


  • Motivation is the foundation of sport performance and achievement

    • Can’t achieve full potential without it

  • Sport motivation complex and multifaceted

  • Dependent upon psychological tendencies within the athlete and the social environment in which participate

  • Motivation is inferred from variability in behavioral patterns

Evaluating motivation within an individual
Evaluating Motivation within an Individual

  • Quantity of motivation: Inferred by

    • How much the athlete achieves

  • Quality of motivation: Inferred by

    • Sustained engagement in the sport

    • Degree of enjoyment

    • Psychological and physiological benefit associated with sport involvement

  • Both linked to how athletes think before, during, and after sport experience

Theoretical frameworks for motivation
Theoretical Frameworks for Motivation

  • Self-efficacy or social cognitive theory

  • Achievement goal frameworks

  • Self-determination theory

Self efficacy theory
Self-Efficacy Theory

  • Self-Efficacy

    • Defined as a person’s judgment about her/his capability to successfully perform a particular task

  • Judgment relates to:

    • Level of performance expected

    • Strength/certainty of those attainment beliefs

    • Generality of those beliefs to other related tasks/domains

Self efficacy theory cont
Self-Efficacy Theory (cont.)

  • Self-regulatory efficacy

    • Social cognitive approach that predicts self-efficacy mediates subsequent thought patterns, affective responses, and action (Bandura)

  • Athletes with high self-efficacy

    • Try harder

    • Perform better

    • Choose more challenging tasks

    • Experience positive emotions and less anxious

  • Previous performance better predictor of subsequent self-efficacy than self-efficacy is of performance

Self efficacy theory cont1
Self-Efficacy Theory (cont.)

Six determinants of self-efficacy:

  • Past performance

  • Vicarious experience

  • Verbal persuasion

  • Physiological state

  • Emotional state

  • Imaginal experiences

Achievement goal theory
Achievement goal theory

  • Differences in goal perspectives, or the ways in which individuals judge their competence and perceive success, are the critical antecedents to variations in the direction and intensity of behavior

  • Two central goal perspectives govern the way athletes think about achievement and guide subsequent decision making and action:

    • Task

    • Ego

Task goal perspective
Task Goal Perspective

  • Individual’s main purpose is to gain skill or knowledge, to exhibit effort, to perform at one’s best, and to experience personal improvement

  • If achieve, the individual feels competent and successful

  • Associated with high motivation regardless of level of perceived ability

    • Also view physical ability as changeable

Ego goal perspective
Ego Goal Perspective

  • Individual is preoccupied with the adequacy of his/her ability and the demonstration of superior competence compared to others

  • High ability is demonstrated when performance is perceived to exceed that of others or to be equivalent with less effort exerted

  • Associated with low motivation when perceive inadequate ability to exceed others

    • also boredom and the belief that deception is a cause of success

Goal orientation occurrence
Goal Orientation Occurrence

  • Goal orientation is the result of both individual differences and situational criteria

  • Goal orientations are not bipolar opposites, rather independent dimensions

    • high ego/low task

    • high ego/high task

    • low ego/low task

    • low ego/high task

Goal orientation effectiveness
Goal Orientation Effectiveness

  • Most optimal may be high ego/high task

    • have multiple sources of subjective success and perceived competence

  • High ego/low task orientation is most susceptible to motivational difficulties -- low perceived competence causes:

    • Selecting easy or too difficult tasks

    • Lack of trying

    • Regular and high levels of anxiety if chronic

Sport context
Sport Context

  • Motivational climate is the perceived structure of the environment

    • Can make it more or less likely that a particular goal state is manifested in training or competition

    • Affects the achievement patterns of individuals through their view of what goals are reinforced in that setting

Sport context cont
Sport Context (cont.)

  • Task-involving climate:

    • Athletes perceive coach reinforces high effort, cooperation among team members, learning and improvement, and all members contribute

    • Linked with greater enjoyment, adaptive coping strategies, perceived competence, team cohesion, higher moral function

Sport context cont1
Sport Context (cont.)

  • Ego-involving climate:

    • Athletes perceive coach punishes mistakes, fosters player rivalry, gives attention to most talented, and offers less social support and positive feedback

    • Linked to greater anxiety and performance-related worry, dropping out, peer conflict, and self-handicapping

    • Linked to lower levels of moral functioning, physical ill-being, and worth as person if doubt their sport competence

Goal theory implications for practice
Goal Theory Implications for Practice

  • Enhance motivation by developing a task-involving motivational climate

    • See suggestions in Table 4-1

  • Work with parents so that their feedback and goals also promote task involvement

  • Always critically evaluate what you do in terms of task and ego goals

    • Coaches, sport psychologists, and parents

Two sources for motivation
Two Sources for Motivation

  • Intrinsic Motivation:

    • Participation is self-determined

    • Involvement revolves around the inherent pleasure of doing the activity

    • Associated with positive and maximal engagement

  • Extrinsic Motivation:

    • Determinants of sport engagement are external

    • Dependent on rewards, which are usually social or material

Sources of motivation cont
Sources of Motivation (cont.)

  • Extrinsic Motivation: Three forms of regulatory style

    • External (driven by desire to receive external rewards)

    • Introjected (participate because inside, they feel they have to - tied to internal rewards and punishment)

    • Identified (behavior undertaken out of free choice but as a means to an end, behavior is not pleasurable)

  • Amotivation:

    • No internal or external motivation -- no perceived reasons for participation

Sources implication for practice
Sources Implication for Practice

  • Perceived adequate ability and autonomy fuels intrinsic motivation

  • “What is the effect of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation?”

    • Detrimental if perceived as controlling or undermining self-determination

    • Good if inform about level of competence

    • Show caution when using extrinsic reinforcements


  • Elevated motivation is essential to maximal involvement in sport

  • Quantity and quality is inferred from various behaviors, emotions and cognitive variables

  • Understanding motivations in sport means examining issues of competence and control

  • Perceived competence and how judged is a significant predictor of motivational patterns among athletes