The motivation of athletes is imperative to the success of any team sport. Successful coaches have an ability to use various forms of motivation to encourage athletes to perform at a maximal level. Coaching effectiveness in relation to the athlete is debated among many sports psychologists, sociologists and pedagogists. The coach’s ability to influence the motivational climate determines the success of his/her athletes. Research evidence reveals that leadership behaviors derived by coaches affect athlete’s satisfaction, performance, and self-esteem.1 Athletes are motivated intrinsically or extrinsically, however it is the responsibility of the coach to create a healthy motivational climate. A mastery oriented climate promotes positive motivation, and encourages athletes to a long term commitment with the activity.2 An ego oriented climate focuses on the competitive outcome rather than the enjoyment of the activity.1 A mastery oriented climate is associated with intrinsic motivation where an ego oriented climate is associated with extrinsic motivation. A coach’s ability to utilize intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in their respective motivational climates will create the most effective atmosphere for their athletes.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
The motivation of an athlete can be defined as the intensity of effort of the individual, combined with how the individual approaches a particular situation.3 Many sports psychologists have emphasized the importance of an athlete to be intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation is defined as engaging in an activity purely for the pleasure and satisfaction that results from doing the activity.4 Intrinsically motivated athletes are also thought to be more self-driven and self-motivated. Tasks and goals meant to improve performance are required by the individual themselves.4 Ultimately, for the athlete, the sport is its own reward because it is interesting, provides a challenge, and allows one to independently experiment with the activity.
Extrinsic motivation is defined as behavior that can only be prompted by external contingencies.4 Extrinsic motivation is divided into several forms: external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation, and integrated regulation.5 External regulation refers to an extrinsically motivated person that performs an activity in order to achieve an outcome. These outcomes are typically reward-based and examples can be money and/or a prize. Introjected regulation occurs when a person feels pressured and obligated to engage in an activity.5 This can be exemplified by a person who feels guilt and wants to reduce their anxiety by performing a task to create a positive self-image. Identified regulation refers to behaviors that are performed by choice because the individual judges them as important. The activity is self-determined because the individual endorses the values underlying the chosen behaviors. Integrated regulation refers to behaviors that have been assimilated into the life of an individual, thus becoming part of their self-identity and personal value system.6 Integrated regulation is exemplified when an athlete participates in an activity because personal values are integrated into the activity.
Goudas, Biddle, and Fox7 examined the relationships of perceived autonomy, competence, and goal orientations with intrinsic interest across two PE activities. School students aged 12-14 years completed a Self-Regulation Questionnaire and a Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire. Structural equation modeling analysis showed that perceived autonomy and task orientation had direct effects on intrinsic interest for both activities. More importantly, it indicated the importance of autonomy and competence. The students in the study who were independent and received positive feedback exhibited intrinsic motivational qualities. The study is important for coaches because it shows that…