Sport Career Goals Affecting Athlete Motivation

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The tests showed that the groups perceived behaviors differently and were motivated differently. Low-expectancy athletes perceived more non-rewarding behaviors, less positive behaviors, and were less determined to play softball. The more self-determined motivation increased, the more positive coaching behaviors were perceived. Amotivation and external regulation were correlated with the perception of negative behavior. This means that the expectations of coaches have effects on athlete motivation. The higher the expectations of the coach, the more athletes view positive perceptions of the coach's behavior which in turn creates more self-determined athletes (Buning, 2016). This means a coach should have higher expectations in order to promote motivation in their athletes.


According to studies done by Ryska, due to differences in individual cultural views, athletes can have differences in casual views and personalized goals. The way an athlete sees how their culture may impact their behaviors and opportunities may affect how motivated that athlete is. An athlete's cultural identity may determine how they view a goal, for example, an athlete may feel more or less competent at a sport and base that view on what culture they identify with. Ryska also found that reward structures may differ depending on cultural identity. This article focuses on the cultural identities of Mexican-American athletes. It has been said that the culture of the Mexican-Americans has multiple values that do not correlate with that the social norms of achievement behavior. These values could be great factors in the differences between the achievement goal views of the Mexican-American culture and other cultures.

One of these views is that the Mexican-American culture tends to focus its efforts on the community rather than the individual. They rely on each other, are cooperative, and focus on the now rather than the later. This study was done in order to find the relationship between the level of acculturation when people of one culture take on the behavior patterns of the culture surrounding them and the motivational goal views of Mexican-American athletes. Acculturation would be due to language, media, and association with others. They found that females showed higher levels of acculturation and also showed higher levels of ego involvement in their sports (Ryska, 2001). However, greater levels of acculturation showed higher levels of task involvement in sports for males. Social relationships had the biggest impact in both cases. Ryska believes that this is because of the position of the standard peer behavior in the youth sport acculturation process. The difference in the impact of acculturation between males and females was explained in three ways. First, the athlete's task and ego goal views can change as they further acculturate. Second, Mexican-American males traditionally have machismo (showing superiority, love for competition, and assertiveness) which initially creates ego-involved motivational views. However, as males acculturate, they learn the advantages of task orientation. Females do not have this traditional personality trait to guide them on how to behave in sports. As a result, females start with task orientation, but they transition to ego involvement in light of the ego-goal views of youth sports. Third, the patriarchal families of Mexican-Americans assert an amount of control over their youth athletes. As a result of this, the behaviors of their athlete's peers impact their motivational orientation more than the expectations of their parents (Ryska, 2001). Acculturation affects an athlete's view of themself, their attitude, and their behaviors which then, in turn, affects their motivational orientation.

Goal-Setting and Supportive Environment in the Off-Season

Hendrick believes that if all strength and conditioning coaches motivated their athletes throughout the year, the athletes would benefit greater than if just motivated in-season. He believes that motivating them with individual and team goals, investing in the athlete's personal life, making sure that the athlete's environment is healthy and optimistic, and keeping goals in view is the best way to motivate athletes.

Rob Rogers, a speed, strength, and conditioning coach for the Middle Tennessee State University football team says that motivating athletes is a non-stop process that is vigorous and individualistic, but it is the basis for their off-season training (Hedrick, 2004). He motivates their athletes by giving them guidance or advice with anything they may be struggling with. He also schedules individual meetings to talk about leadership or qualities to strive for that will help them better their next season and arranges for speakers to come in and help the athletes become more aware of any issues they may face in today's society. During the off-season, they try to continue to implant the principles of the program, team bonding and create competitions throughout the off-season.

Scott Bennett, a strength and conditioning coach at the University of Wyoming, believes that in order to physically and mentally prepare for the season, you need to set goals for your athletes. These goals could be for anything; lifting-oriented, fitness-oriented, performance-oriented, or any type of goal the athlete wants to achieve. To set efficient goals, you need to focus on the reason behind the goal, if the goal is beneficial, and if the goal is taking you a step closer to where the athlete wants to be.


Knowing how to motivate athletes can be a real challenge, but an athlete's motivation to reach their goals is the most important factor in whether or not an athlete will succeed. How you should motivate your athletes depends solely on their individual personalities. Johnson breaks up the different types of personalities into four categories: achievers, adventurers, socialites, and competitors (Johnson, 2016). The achievers are focused on mastery. They will do everything they can to master the skills needed to win a trophy. They are more interested in improving themselves and their individual skills rather than winning against their competition. Adventurers participate in sports in order to better understand themselves. They participate in order to find new things about themselves and their sport and are focused on improving as individuals. The socialites are there for the social experiences. They are found more in group sports and appreciate the team bonding aspects of those sports. The competitors are participating in sports solely to beat their competitors. Johnson says that a gamifying culture helps athletes create and hold a level of attention that will let them train intensely over a certain period of time and succeed at things that would otherwise be difficult. This is because gamifying culture creates a sense of motivation and determination to compete.

During my internship, we used gamification multiple times. We have created multiple activities to create a sense of competition within the team. This allows them to be more focused on improvement and bettering themselves in a high-energy and high-pressure situation. These types of situations help our athletes better prepare for games and tournaments. We use gamification in serving, defense, and offensive drills. When we use these drills, they are highly focused on the task at hand, which in turn allows them to be focused on mastering the skill that they have to use in these drills.


Everyone knows what motivation is; not everyone knows what motivates. My research focuses on what motivates an athlete. I have found that satisfying the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness promotes intrinsic motivation in athletes. Coaches should satisfy these needs in order to further motivate their athletes. Satisfy the need for autonomy by giving them some freedom and choices during practice. Satisfy competence by giving prompt feedback, vicarious experiences, letting the practice positive self-talk, or simply using verbal persuasion (Gill, 2017). Satisfy relatedness by scheduling team bonding activities or doing group drills during practice. I have also found that peers have a heavy influence on the motivation of athletes. The way that parents support their athletes may impair or promote motivation. Intrinsic motivation was found when the parents praised effort and enjoyment over winning or success without effort. Parents should praise an athlete's effort and enjoyment in order to promote future involvement and enjoyment in sports. Another peer that influences an athlete's motivation is the coach. I have found that a coach's training can influence the motivation of an athlete. In order to promote intrinsic motivation in an athlete, coaches should sek federative and academic training in the psychology of sport and exercise to learn about things like boredom, enjoyment, and motivation to succeed. Be on the lookout for acculturation in your athletes. Acculturation affects an athlete's view of themself, their attitude, and their behaviors. This can, in turn, affect their motivation. Peers have a great influence on an athlete's motivation. I have also found that along with motivating during the season, peers should create a supportive environment and create goals in the off-season. This will help athletes become physically and mentally prepared for the season.

Finally, to further promote motivation in practice, use gamification. This is a process where you turn practices into game-like situations by using competition. Gamification allows for more enjoyment while also making sure your athletes stay focused in order to prepare for competitions. All of these things are important factors that influence an athlete's motivation. These are the factors that decide whether an athlete's motivation is intrinsic/extrinsic or task/ego-oriented.

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Sport Career Goals Affecting Athlete Motivation. (2023, Mar 07). Retrieved December 4, 2023 , from

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