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The Task vs. Ego Oriented Athlete and Goal Setting

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1 The Task vs. Ego Oriented Athlete and Goal Setting

2 The Task vs. Ego oriented athlete (Chris Harwood)
Success or failure depend on an athlete’s perception of goal attainment (Nichols) Task Oriented Athletes (TO): Focus on development of competence, effort levels and improving abilities, enjoy practice Ego Oriented Athletes (EO): Focus on demonstration of ability (fixed/stable) relative to others, enjoy only competitions

3 How do athletes become TO or EO?
Athletic experiences lead to TO or EO development Peers, parents, coaches all help create the “motivational climate” for TO/EO to develop TO = praise for effort, improvement, mistakes are part of growth, success = mastery, effort and responsibility (John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach)


5 EO = praise only for wins, ability over effort, success = winning regardless of effort or performance

6 Orientations believed to be stable and enduring, starting from early adolescence
Athletes generally have aspects of both orientations, though one usually is dominant Situational factors can shift TO to EO and vice versa

7 Which is Better? High TO + low EO High TO + high EO High EO + low TO
most consistent, advantageous for skill development/improvement, long term participation; perceptions of ability tied to effort/improvement (Phelps) High TO + high EO potentially highest achievers, skill work and improvement compliments competition; perceptions of ability tied to effort and competitive performance (old Agassi, Tiger) High EO + low TO end result is all that matters, fragile, high burnout risk; perceptions of ability tied only to positive outcomes (young Agassi)

8 TO athletes report enjoyment, satisfaction, intrinsic interest and FLOW at higher rates than EO athletes (Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers) EO athletes report higher levels of anxiety and negative coping behaviors than TO athletes (John McEnroe, tennis legend)

9 The Achievement Goal Perspective
3 Types of Goals: Outcome: focus on competitive results (unable to control all aspects of outcome) (EO) Performance: focus on achievement independent of competition (TO) Process: focus on actions/behaviors/results (TO & EO) Research supports a combo of all 3 is optimal Direct Mechanist View: focus on skill development = increased dedication and persistence through sub goals Locke and Latham (1981) conscious goal setting positively impacted performance

10 SMART Goals SPECIFIC: vague goals = vague outcomes
MEASUREABLE: able to monitor progress ACTION ORIENTED: detailed behavior for achievement REALISTIC: within the realm of possibility TIMELY: attainable in a reasonable amount of time Goals must be athlete owned to be effective

11 RESEARCH: Weinberg et al. (1994), Goal setting and performance in Lax
Season long, college level, matched pairs design of lax players randomly assigned to either a “goal setting” group or control group (coaches were blind to group assignments). Goal groups set short, long and seasonal goals w/weekly feedback from researchers Goals group consistently scored higher on offensive and defensive performance ratings

12 Cognitive Evaluation Theory CET (Deci, 1975)
Events that effect feelings of competence and self determination effect levels of intrinsic motivation Events can have 2 different aspects 1. Controlling Aspect Less control over WHY athlete does the sport = less motivation (play for love of game, or to keep dad happy) 2. Informational Aspect Changes in an athlete’s feelings of competence (all league recognition vs negative coaching)

13 Research in CET Ryan (1977): Does a scholarship effect college football players’ motivation? Scholarship players reported low intrinsic MO, high dissatisfaction Reports may be result of negative coaching/threats of revoking scholarship (Amorose, Horn, 2000)

14 Guest (2007): Culture and Motivation—Soccer in US and Malawi
Subjects: US and Malawi soccer teams US (Individual culture) Malawi (Collective culture) Results/Discussion 70% of US players cited competition as primary source of motivation; Malawi players:0% Malawi players cited increased status and chance to show skill as main motivators Shows culture must be taken into account when addressing motivation

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