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What is Motivation? Essay

The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the importance of goals within the sporting context. In particular it is the area of outcome goals and achievement/performance goals, which will be under discussion. Goals such as these come under the broader heading of Motivation. Although not always called motivation, it has been the use of motivation that has inspired, or other wise, for thousands of years. The kings and great generals of the past realised that they had to motivate their followers in order to win battles and survive.

In more recent times leaders such as Hitler and Churchill made great speeches to encourage (motivate) others. Even more recently, the American candidates for the White House have delivered motivational speeches in order to gain votes and therefore win the presidency. In the sporting world, the 2000 Olympics saw thousands of athletes motivating themselves, or being motivated by their trainers, in order to perform their best at their event. The training, which led to this, would be equally dependent upon motivational activities to promote success. What is Motivation?

A dictionary definition of motivation is “either a motivating force or incentive”. To apply this definition it would be safe to assume that an incentive

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or motivating force is needed in order to encourage people to do something. In the case of doing housework the motivation is not to have a dirty house. The first area is known as the outcome variable. This is usually measured or is operationalised by form of choice, effort and persistence behaviour. Alderman (1978), Carron (1984) and Gill (1986a), state that the individual character differences and physical and social environmental factors all make up motivation.

The second perspective is known as individual difference factors. This takes account of the fact that individuals vary in levels of motivational characteristics; they differ on self-perception and participation behaviours. Klint and Weiss (1987) did a study on young gymnasts. Those who put higher ratings on high skill-related participation also had a higher perceived physical competence. Those who did not place as much importance upon high skill-related participation experienced lower perceived physical competence.

Within these two perspectives both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are important. Intrinsic motivation can be explained by those incentives that come from within the sportsperson to encourage and develop participation and performance in sport. Extrinsic motivation refers to the incentives from outside which motivate the individual. For most athletes at a high level of competition this would be the prize money and fame which they would gain if successful. Much research has been done in this area of motivation in order to explain why people do what they do.

But what are outcome and achievement goals? Outcome goals The outcome goal for most sports participants is the final outcome of the competition, which is to win. In this day and age winning means everything; as top athletes gain fame and fortune, winning can mean financial security for life. There are other goals that come from being the best in your sport being other goals are becoming famous, winning lots of prize money, being the greatest at your sport the world has seen, breaking world records, but the ultimate goal is to be number one in your event..

It is extremely unlikely that any athlete would set out in competition to be second; therefore the outcome goal for all is to be the winner. The logical conclusion to this is that sportspersons, other than the winner, do not attain the outcome goal that has been set before the competition has started. Of course there are those team events when points are given for an individual athlete who achieves a place in the top three for example. Even in this case the outcome goal is for the team to win and the individual is working towards this aim first key skills exformat exercise.

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