Motivation is a huge part of sport psychology. Motivation is made up of direction of efforts and the intensity of efforts. The direction of efforts is whether an individual seeks out, approaches or is attracted to a certain situation. The intensity of effort is how much effort a person puts forth in a situation.
Most people are motivated to participate in sports in order to improve their skills, have fun, be with friends, experience thrills and excitement, achieve success and develop fitness. The specific types of motivation that people are experiencing when they participate in sports are achievement motivation which is a self directed goal of achievement, and competitiveness. This is a motivation that comes from the idea that others are evaluating you.
There are several theories that tell us about motivation and what specifically are the keys that make up high achievers and low achievers.
1) The Motivational Orientation Theory: * High Achievers: High achievers have a high motivation to achieve success, a low motivation to fail and a focus on the pride of success.
* Low Achievers: Low achievers have a low motivation to achieve success and a high motivation to achieve failure. They focus on the shame and worry that may come from failure.
2) Attribution Theory: * High Achievers: High achievers ascribe their success to factors within themselves and that they can control – like their own endurance and drive. They ascribe failures to outside factors that they can’t control – like other peoples abilities.
* Low Achievers: Low achievers ascribe their success to factors outside their control – such as their opponents abilities and they ascribe their failure to internal factors within their control – such as their own abilities.
3) Goal Adoption Theory: * High Achievers: High achievers have goals for doing certain tasks (i.e., like running a good race).
* Low Achievers: Low achievers have goals for getting a certain outcome (i.e., like winning a race).
4) Perceived Competence and Control Theories: * High Achievers: High achievers have a high belief in their abilities and feel that their achievements are in their control.
* Low Achievers: They have low perceived competence and feel that achievement is out side their control.
5) Task Choice Theory: * High Achievers: High achievers seek out challenges and other able competitors. * Low Achievers: Low achievers avoid challenges and seek out either very difficult or very easy tasks and competitors.