“Success and failure are not concrete events. They are psychological states consequent on the perception of reaching or not reaching goals” (Maehr & Nicholls, 1980. p. 228). The quality of an athlete's sporting experience is shaped by the way in which success is defined, and by how capabilities are judged (Duda, 1993). Achievement Goal Theory (AGT) (Nicholls, 1984; 1989) outlines that people are motivated by the desire to fell competent. People can define competence and success in different ways, the main ones being ego and task orientations. Research is consistent in showing the motivational benefits of a task-orientation, either singly or in combination with an ego-orientation. In order to keep athletes involved in sport, success must mean being the best as well as task mastery and personal improvement (Duda, 1993).
Drawing from past research, I will construct an essay to support the statement: ‘An athlete’s motivation should always be to aim to be the best’. I will firstly outline important tenants of AGT, in particular ego and task orientations, approach and avoidance goals, motivational climates, and TARGET guidelines. Secondly, I will use this information to provide a brief analysis of the motivational style that a coach of the Varsity rugby league team; Brent, performs, and the effects this style has on a particular 18-year-old athlete; Justin. Finally, I will describe specific theoretically based strategies that can be used by Brent, to adapt a more correct motivational atmosphere for Justin and his team. Coaches play an important role in determining the types of motivational orientations athletes perceive (Ames, 1992).
Part 1: Theoretical Understanding.
According to AGT (Nicholls, 1984, 1989), in achievement situations the goal of participants is to demonstrate competence or avoid demonstrating incompetence. AGT recognises at least two approaches athletes may adopt to judge their ability within a sporting context. A focus on comparing oneself to...