Posts tagged motivation
Posts tagged motivation
I’m competing to be a EURO 2012 correspondent for Betting Expert this summer. Your facebook likes and re-tweets can help strengthen my chances of winning a trip to see and report on the tournament.
I discuss confidence in previous winners like Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Italy, home team advantage for Poland and Ukraine, and ego management and motivation for Sweden and England.
Wilson and Brookfield (2009) examined how setting goals might influence motivation and adherence of people engaged in a six week exercise program. They involved sixty recreational exercisers and divided them randomly in three main groups.
The individuals in the first group received a process goal. Fifteen exercisers were given a personal goal linked to performance (e.g. “maintain the heart rate above a certain amount of beats per minute in a 30 min section”) discussed in advance with one of the authors, who also re-assessed it on a weekly basis.
The second group of fifteen were given an outcome goal which also had fifteen exercisers. They each had a personal outcome (e.g. losing 4 kgs in six weeks) goal discussed in advance with one of the authors. The eventual achievement of participants’ goals was assessed at the end of the exercise program.
The final group was the control group which had thirty people without any formally established goals.
The results supported the initial hypothesis by the authors that people engaged in the process goal group will have a higher level of intrinsic (internal) motivation, adherence, and a lower level of tension and pressure was confirmed by the results. However, there was not a significant difference in motivation and pressure/tension between exercisers in the outcome goal group and the ones belonging to the control group.
This study has some limitations concerning the role of extrinsic goals and the exercise leader. Moreover, the authors were not able to have full control over the participants setting their own personal exercise goals and the exercise history of the subjects might also have created a bias.
However, the authors suggest that “setting and focusing on process goals facilitate autonomy, competence and relatedness in an exercise context”. In addition, goal setting also seems to have had a positive impact on the persistence of exercising the the duration of the program. On the other hand, Ordonez and colleagues (2009) in their study in the history of business cases, identified some side effects associated with goal setting which include a narrower focus, distorted risk preferences, possible unethical behavior, and reduced intrinsic motivation. In particular, they reported how setting goals increase external motivation but has a negative impact upon intrinsic motivation by forcing people to engage in “a task for its own sake”. Consequently, cheating seems to be a commonly engaged in behavior.
As a result, the authors suggest that goal setting be done by experts who will need to pay attention to the harmful side effects of goal setting under “close supervision”. Moreover, concerning adherence and practical issues in the study, Courneya’s (2010) article on methodological and conceptual distinctions among exercise trials, suggests how researchers are likely to develop or adopt behavioral support interventions intensive enough to strengthen exercise program adherence over the research period of time. In addition, he underlines how a supervised exercise protocol might be available in special and dedicated settings but not in common spaces.
In conclusion: to set goals or not to set goals? This seems to be the problem. These researchers seem to support goal setting but, due to its complexity and possible risks, a professional and competent sport psychologist might be the best person to structure it. Moreover, he or she can objectively evaluate the environmental resources and tailor the exercise intervention and goals in collaboration with either a personal trainer, a coach or possibly a team.
Wilson, K., Brookfield D. (2009). Effect of goal setting on motivation and adherence in a six-week exercise program. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 6, 89-100.
Other cited studies:
Courneya, K. S. (2010). Efficacy, effectiveness, and behavior change trials in exercise research. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7 (81), 1-12.
Ordonez, L.D., Schwitzer, M. E., Galinsky, A. D., Bazerman, M. H. (2009). Goals gone wild: the systematic side effects of overprescribing goal setting. Academy of Management Perspective, 23(1), 6-16.
Natascia Bernardi is currently a master’s student in Sport Psychology at Lund University in Sweden. She graduated in Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of Bologna in 2002 and received a post-graduate diploma in Hypnosis and Ericksonian Psychotherapy. She has been working with athletes and teams since 2004 and has written several articles for Italian scientific journals and web sites.
A range of sub-disciplines of psychology such as sport and exercise psychology, social psychology, and cognitive psychology have long held the common objective of identifying the psychological variables that permit performers to function at their best. Certainly, research on the psychological constructs of motivation (Kim, Williams, & Gill, 2003), self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997), self-regulation (Higgins, 1997; Ryan & Deci, 2000), and attention (Beilock, Carr, MacMahon, & Starkes, 2002) has been conducted across diverse skill domains from sports skills to cognitive tasks in an attempt to elucidate common psychological principles that promote optimal performance in every context of sport and physical activity.
Hamilton (2000) examined empirical evidence for a range of influences that may contribute to East African running dominance including environmental, social, psychological, and physiological variables. After examining research from various disciplines, he concluded that there was no clear explanation for the East African supremacy. However, Hamilton argued that psychological factors may perpetuate this dominance by attributing differences between African and white running performances to stable external factors, thereby disempowering white runners and empowering East African runners.
Regardless of the possible existence of physiological advantages in East African runners, belief that such differences exist creates a psychological atmosphere that can have significant consequences on performance. From my perspective, I can spot the hidden hand of mental skill in these Ethiopian and Kenyan athletes. Their commitment, dedication, hope, discipline, hard working attitude, work ethic and consistency must be based somewhere on the supporting shoulders of mental skill training.
In the case of African countries like Ethiopia and Kenya, sport psychology might not be just the scientific way to promote optimal performance, rather according to Jarvie (2006), it might mean survival. Motivation for athletic success may be shaped and influenced by social and cultural forces including living standards. Jarvie (2006, p.374) says, “to a European athlete, an Olympic gold medal is the pinnacle of his or her career; however for an athletes from a developing country it may simply be a gateway to earn money that will transform the lives of the athlete and his or her community”.
I believe it is more than just hoping for a better life. In situations like these, athletic participation also allows children to dream of becoming tomorrow’s sport icon in countries where national identity, pride and honor is so culturally vital and revered.
Thus the need for mental skill training with proper and scientific physical training is unquestionable! As a result, I can say Ethiopian athletes need quality and scientifically based sport psychology just like anyone else.
Generally, sport psychology (mental skills training) has helped people regardless of socioeconomic status, goal specificity, performance level, sport and physical activity. Its ease in application and cost-effectiveness will be especially beneficial where living standards are low, facilities are scarce, and where people rely on athletics as a means of survival.
Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.
Beilock, S. L., Carr, T. H., MacMahon, C., & Starkes, J. L. (2002). When paying attention becomes counterproductive: Impact of divided versus skill focused attention on novice and experienced performance of sensory motor skills. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 8, 6-16.
Hamilton B. (2000). East African running dominance: what is behind it? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 34, 391–394.
Higgins, E.T. (1997). Beyond pleasure and pain. American psychologist, 52, 280-1300.
Javier G. (2006). Sport, culture and society: An introduction. Oxford , England : Routledge
Kane M. (1971). An assessment of ‘‘Black is best.’’ Sports Illustrated, 34, 72–83.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2002). An overview of self determination theory. In E. L. Deci, & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 3-33). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.
Likawunt Wendwosen is currently a master’s degree student in Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Thessaly (Greece). He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia).