Intrinsic Motivation – The Importance of Self Motivation

     Intrinsic motivation is striving inwardly to be competent at something and to reward yourself inwardly. There exists a basic question of whether or not extrinsic motivations (rewards provided by outward sources) undermine intrinsic motivation (self-motivation). Research shows that having extrinsic rewards for something that would naturally be intrinsically motivated, decreases intrinsic motivation.

     There are certain theories that are used to determine the effect of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation:

1) Cognitive Evaluative Theory:
      This theory states that how rewards are perceived by the athlete is important in determining whether intrinsic motivation will increase or decrease. If someone is feeling controlled by their rewards or if they feel that the reward suggests that they are not very competent – this decreases intrinsic motivation. Rewards that increase and provide positive feedback increase intrinsic motivation. When competing – if success occurs then intrinsic motivation increases, if failure occurs it decreases. These ideas can apply to items such as athletic scholarships.

There are ways to increase intrinsic motivation (self-motivation):

* Give the tools needed for success. * Give rewards based on performance. * Use verbal and non-verbal praise * Vary the content and sequence of practise drills. * Involve the participants in decisions.

* Set realistic performance goals.

2) FLOW!
     Flow is a certain kind of intrinsic motivation that someone can feel. It occurs when someone feels an overall, intrinsically motivated feeling when they are totally involved in an activity and are on “auto pilot.”

Certain elements are needed to achieve flow:

* A balance of levels of skills and of level of challenge * Complete absorption in the activity * Merging of action and awareness * Total concentration * Loss of self-consciousness * A sense of control * The absence of certain outward goals or rewards * Effortless movement * A motivation to perform * Achieve optimal arousal before performing * Appropriate focus maintenance. * The use of pre-competitive and competitive plans and preparation * The achievement of optimal physical preparation and readiness * The exhibition of confidence and positive mental attitudes * Positive team interaction

* Good feelings about performance

Some things that may prevent flow are:

* Not feeling physically prepared and ready * Injury * Fatigue * Not feeling good * External Stresses * Unwanted crowd response * Uncontrollable influences of the event * A lack of confidence * Negative thinking * Self-doubt * No control of mental state * Thinking too much * Worrying about what others are doing * Frustration with team-mates effort * Poor pre-competitive preparation * Distraction before competition * Interruption to preparation * No goals set * Lack of challenge * Low arousal or motivation * Not relaxed enough * Too relaxed * Poor team performance * Not feeling part of a team * Negative talk within the team * Errors * Poor techniques * Things not going as planned * Stoppage in play * Oppositions activity * Negative refereeing decisions * Inappropriate, negative, or lack of feedback * Worrying about competition * Daydreaming * Loss of concentration * Self doubt * Putting too much pressure on yourself

Related Links

Sports Psychology
Strategies & Success
Arousal, Stress & Anxiety
Team Dynamics
Enhancing Performance – PST
Aspects of PST