Sports psychology is a
branch of science that uses psychological knowledge and skills from related
fields including physiology, biomechanics, psychology and kinesiology to
address optimal performance and well being of athletes. It is the study that
deals with the factors that affect the performance and well being of athletes
and generally how they perform in sport activities. In sports culture, there
are numerous psychological skills used by athletes to attain good performance.
Motivation is one of the psychological skills used.
Motivation is the
internal energy that determines one’s behavior. It has also been defined as the
direction of an individual’s intensity (Newton & Duda, 1999) According to
Taylor, it is also the desire to fulfill a certain need (Cox, 1988). Motivation
is fundamental for achievement of good performance in athletes. It directs a
person towards a certain behavior. Motivation is essential in sport activities.
It determines the performance of an individual or an athlete. Motivational
could be due to internal factors as well as external factors. Performance in
sports varies depending on the levels of internal and external motivation.
is a higher level of achievement of a goal.
Motivation is categorized
into two; extrinsic motivation as well as intrinsic motivation. This refers to
the desire to accomplish a specific goal that comes from within. Intrinsic motivation
is always as a result of enjoyment of an athlete activity as noted by
Karageorghis & Terry (2011). Intrinsic motivation occurs when the athlete
is fully self-regulated, and his choice of action is not influenced by an
external force. Some of the motives that identify intrinsic motivation are
enjoyment, fun, skill improvement and love for the sport among others.
When motivation comes
from the outside the athlete, it is referred to as extrinsic motivation.
Athletes are driven to perform well by factors such as awards, status, ego,
fear for failure or punishment, or when seeking approval of others. There are
four forms of extrinsic motivation, they entail; identified regulation,
integrated regulation, interjected regulation and externally regulated behavior
Integrated regulation is highly autonomous. It occurs when the
regulations are integrated with an individual’s self. Integrated regulations
can be classified as intrinsic motivation as well extrinsic motivation.
Athlete engages in sport
activities with a purpose or because they want to benefit out of it. It is
characterized by high value for a certain goal that is important to an athlete.
an external motivation where an individual takes regulation on to his
behavior without accepting the regulations to be part of them or their very
own. For example, an athlete feels the need to engage in sport
activities to avoid shame. Introjected behavior is not determined by one’s self
but by an external force. External motivation occurs when an athlete is
influenced by other people such as family and friends. It has the lowest
level of autonomy as it is the most controlling form of extrinsic motivation.
As a way of controlling their behavior, athletes are given rewards. They may
also be forced to participate, to avoid punishments. The behavior and
performance of an athlete is influenced by rewards. The effectiveness of
rewards depends on how an athlete perceives rewards.
There are several
theories of motivation, they include: achievement goal theory, expectancy value
theory and self-determination theory. Competence motivational theory: it is the
most widely used theory in sports (Horn &Amoroso, 1998). The theory
postulate that the ability of an athlete to achieve good performance is based
on the competences that the athlete has. Motivational process is highly
influenced by the following factor: individuals’ perspectives of possibility of
succeeding in athletics in future, an affective reaction to participation in
athletics, expectation for reinforcement and significant others. There are
three domains for achievement. Cognitive domain, Social domain and Physical
domain. Athletes are motivated intrinsically by the strong desire to feel
competent as noted by Nicholls (1984:1989). The success of an athlete therefore
depends on the athlete’s own performance.
Expectancy theory was
developed by Vroom in 1964. This theory dwells on the assumption that
motivation controls the choices that an athlete makes among various
possibilities. For an athlete to achieve good performance there has to be
effort and hard work by the athlete together with training from coaches. The
theory suggests that the athlete has a big role to play to achieve good results.
This theory tries to explain the choice of an athlete to initiate a task, to
persist and accomplish the task with vigor in order to achieve good
performance. (Eccles, Winfield, & schiefele,1998) Motivation comes from
three types of beliefs. Expectancy beliefs. It is the perception of an athlete
on the possibility of what he can achieve in future. An athlete believes that
the good performance he gets has to be as a result of his hard work. Beliefs
about one’s ability to perform a specific task play an important role in
motivation theories. Valence: it is a measure of an athlete’s desire to
achieve his goals. It has an affective dimension and instrumentality.
self-determination theory gives the different types of motivation based on the
determination coming from within an athlete. The motivation has to be due to
factors within the athlete (intrinsic motivation). With intrinsic
motivation and athlete participates in the sport to find pleasure and
enjoyment. the theory focuses on the extent to which an athlete’s behavior I
undertaking a task is self-determined. It also focuses on the motivation that
determines the behavior of an individual without influence from external
factors. Deci and Ryan (1989, 2000) identified three needs that have to be met
for an athlete to achieve optimum performance. They include: competence, relatedness
as well as autonomy. Competence is a reflection of the need to be
effective that determines the results. It depends on the experience of an
athlete and the mastery of skills in a given sport. Relatedness refers to the
need to work closely with others that gives an athlete a strong sense of
belonging. Autonomy is basically the urge to engage in actions that are in
harmony with one’s self and those that an athlete will feel to have controlled
personally. Self-determination theory associates social and cognitive
development of an individual with the drive that comes from within to seek for
challenges together with new possibilities. Studies in this field have
proven that athletes require all psychological needs met for them to be well
motivated in order for them to attain maximum performance.
It is important for
coaches to give feedback to athletes whenever they perform a task. Feedback
encourages good performance by athletes it discourages poor performance as
well. Feedback hastens the process of rectifying errors. There are different
types of feedback that can be given to athletes as a way of motivating athletes
to give better performance. According to Badami Etal (2011) feedback can be
used to help athletes rectify their mistake as well as elevating motivational
levels in athletes. Feedback can be given orally or in writings. Either or
methods may be used to motivate or to correct athletes. Positive feedback
motivates athlete enabling them to maintain good performance. It’s necessary
for a coach to identify a good method of giving feedback. More likely to
improve and to value their performance. Athletes, who frequently get
feedback from their coach ion their performance, are more likely to give good
Deci and Ryan found
that positive feedback enhances intrinsic motivation. He also found that
negative feedback diminishes an individual’s intrinsic motivation. There are
several ways in which coaches can give feedback to athletes: Augmented
also referred to as extrinsic feedback. When a coach gives concurrent augmented
feedback, the athletes build on the feedback become more creative and find ways
to solve problem (Braudley et al., 2006). On this method of feedback,
information is passed to athletes through an external means. The feedback may
be passed to athletes through a coach. This method is very effective and
important for learners as it offers cognitive learning for learners who have
not developed the feel of the movement. Positive augmented is very important in
Augmented feedback has
two types; Knowledge of performance feedback. It can either be intrinsic or
extrinsic feedback. It gives information on the quality of the movement.
It is highly recommended for experienced athletes. It measures a certain skill
of results feedback. This feedback is given to athletes, based on the results
of a movement. It describes the results in terms of the number of goals scored
or distance covered. (Mononen et al., 2003). Terminal feedback. It is given
after an athlete has completed a movement. Intrinsic feedback comes from
within. The athletes evaluate themselves based on their feel of the movement.
It refers to how athletes assess and motivate themselves from within. Concurrent
feedback is given to an athlete as he executes a task or a skill as explained
in Coker (2013). It is received intrinsically and extrinsically during
the movement. Positive feedback involves praising athletes on the tasks they
have accomplished. Praise enables athletes to realize they have the potential
to achieve. This greatly boosts their self-esteem.
The performance of an
athlete will depend on the level of self-esteem possessed by the athlete.
Positive feedback instills high levels of self-esteem which has a consequence
of producing high performance. Negative feedback is most effective when used to
achieve a learning goal. It is aimed at improving the performance of an athlete
(Cianci, Klein & Seijts 2010) it is also used in situations where the
athlete is under motivated. Negative feedback should be accompanied by a
positive feedback to ensure the athlete does not loose motivation.
is not a motivational standpoint individually. It is a decision about aptitudes
for success of some goal. Therefore, athletes must be considered within a protective
thought process of motivation that delivers the goal situation. An interesting
example of this is cognitively built outline of motivation. We can view
motivation as a collection of two mechanisms which are goal choice and
self-regulation. Self-regulation can be mainly viewed as a set of three connected
groups of events: self-evaluation, self-reactions, self-monitoring.
Self-monitoring plays a huge factor in providing data about existing
performance, which is then assessed by associating that performance with one’s
goal. The assessment among performance and goal outcomes in two different types
of self-reactions which is self-satisfaction or discontent and self-confidence opportunities.
Satisfaction or discontent is an effective answer to previous activities;
self-confidence expectations are decisions about one’s future skills to attain
one’s goal. This context permits a debate of self-confidence as it relays to a
number of motivational developments, including setting goals and causal acknowledgments.
Effort feedback involves
teaching athletes by helping them realize their failure is a result of not
putting much effort. This method of feedback enables a coach to develop a
close relationship with his athletes. This boosts the athletes’ level of
motivation and consequently their performance. Athletes can best learn when
watching others receive feedback. Coaches can make use of this strategy to
increase the athlete’s chances of learning. The environment for giving
feedback is very important as it determines how the feedback is received by
athletes. Coaches play a big role in setting the environment. The coach may
make use of films, drills, games and others to set up a good environment for
giving a learning feedback.
Acknowledgements can apply influential effects on motivation.
Effort feedback can help form athletes’ thought process of thinking away from
dysfunctional acknowledgements. However, effort feedback should not be used too
much. It is best to use in the early stages of the athlete’s learning process
and on difficult tasks, when greater effort can produce better results. The
main reason is that the athlete may see the coach more of a friend than a
coach. The relationship can result of an unwanted relationship to move forward.