The Effects Of Personality And Motivation In Sports Performance

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Influence on motivation

Intrinsic factors: these are factors that come from within yourself, an example of intrinsic motivation includes taking part in a certain sport, only because you purely enjoy being a part of that team or club, because you want to gain some experience from performing at a specific level.

Extrinsic factors are those which are external. They include things like rewards that make you feel better, like praise, encouragement and trophies and money or records. Also they can include a fear of something that can cause some self anxiety. For example fear of punishment or loss of a status quo.

Achievement motivation: This is another way in which a performer or an athlete in sport can remain focused and also mentally and physically contain the desire to be successful in what ever they are striving for. If a athlete regularly sets goals to themselves that are realistically achievable, they can remain motivated because then they will constantly be striving to achieve something. Achievement motivation is closely associated with intrinsic motivation because it purely relies on the individual performers need to better themself and fulfill the internal desire then to rather receive material rewards like money or trophies.

Three theories of motivation

When it’s comes to theories , there are three theories that we can include about how motivation an have a massive impact on a athletes performance and they are crucial.

  • Trait-centered theory
  • Situational theory
  • Interactional theory

The trait centered view, is purely based on the idea that motivation is a result of what a individual athlete or just general person considers to be important and furthermore states that the goals that are set by us, will determine widely determine the way we behave. It also furthermore suggests that internal desires for us to do well are determined by our general personality traits that we own; by this I mean what makes us who we are as a person. The main fundamental basis for this type of motivation is intrinsic.

The situational centered view: This situational view states that a persons level of of motivation is widely dependent and centered on their environmental surroundings. This can include the types of people that are in present, if a person is placed in a environment where they feel comfortable then this will mean they will be more likely motivated to complete their goals. However if a person is an environment, with negative environmental aspects, then they will be uncomfortable, this will cause them to not feel the same level of motivation.

The interactional view: In this view, it states that a persons level of motivation widely depends on both their personality that they posses and the situation in which find themselves in. This specific theory also therefore states that if an individual includes communication and interaction with other individuals, these other people that they communicate and interact with can play a fundamental role in the level of motivation that they posses and receive during the moment. This is a key important factor in sport and in also exercise in sport, as a person is more likely to be successful if they are in the correct environment and if they have support and are happy with themselves.

It is also however possible that a person is highly internally motivated with themselves when they are in a particular environment but they also might not be comfortable with the multiple individuals that surround them. This would primarily require them to from the outset and throughout the goals they would like to achieve for example when a player joins a new football team, the individual who has joined the team may not potentially feel comfortable around new players because they may not know them that well but they will stay and still play with the team regardless of that negative they face, because of the passion they have for the sport of football.

How motivation affects sports performance

Choosing the right activity is crucial, as if a performer is motivated by what they want to pursue or their role model or even the challenge that they set out and want to achieve. Athletes are mor likely to succeed if they choose something that is desirable by themselves. Good motivation really plays a important role in a performer choice of sport or activity they partake in. Usually if they like if they like the sport and enjoy it, then most likely they will perform better and well in the sport and will be more motivated to complete the goals in that sport.

Adversity and persistence are important as well and often performers and athletes encounter various difficulties during training sessions and competitions, some of these difficulties may be things like sicknesses and injuries. The level of motivation an athlete contains is the key to how well they will overcome these barriers despite these negatives and issues they may face.

The way sports performers chase their goals is important, because they need to be goal orientated. This means that they need to focus their effort on on specifically trying to achieve their goals in the sport that they chose to pursue for example a football player wanting to score 2 goals a game. This may be because they want to develop leadership skills to show the team and coaches that they hare the dominant and most gifted player. However when athletes set out goals, they need to have a high level of motivation to pursue and achieve them otherwise if they a have a low level of motivation then they will not likely achieve the goals they set out.

The level of intensity that they put in is crucial as well, because of an athlete posses good and high levels of intrinsic and extrinsic qualities like desire and intensity and hunger then the athlete will have a better chance at performing at the best of their abilities. As the athletes desire to win and succeed is higher due to the higher intensity levels. As the desire to succeed increases, so will the work they put in, in training sessions and competitions.

Positive and negative effects of having and not having motivation in sport when you are an athlete, especially if you are an elite athlete are massively impact and can impact your performance hugely in a variety of ways. For example if an athlete like Owen Farrel is positive and motivated to train at a very high level, then most certainly this will increase their performance. Coaches and managers alongside trainers need to make sure that athletes are always motivated to make sure they in result work at a very high level in order to gain success for themselves and the club they are playing for. However if a player is being negative, then this is when over motivation can cause some serious problems for athletes, as athletes usually don’t like to feel under pressure in certain scenarios but they are because of the magnitude of the event or scenario. This will then mean, they will train harder and more often. Sometimes when a player is over motivated this can then lead to the player being overworked, causing staleness, burnout and overtraining. The signs of this is usually when an athlete feels tired most of the time and is unable to keep up and maintain a good level of skill and physical fitness. Burnouts can occur when a athlete finds that they can actually no longer take part physically or sometimes even mentally in an activity that is required of them to partake in. An Athletes staleness can be identified also when they have mode swings and display different personalities towards people or their teammates or coaches.

NACH, otherwise known as Need to Achieve, is when an athlete is motivationally driven to succeed for the feeling of pride and accomplishment as well as satisfaction, they will have no thought of failure at this point. Where as on the other hand, NAF, is an athlete is driven to willingly avoid the bad feeling of failure, shame and humiliation. My key point to this is that athletes will fortunately attribute their successes or failures to factors that will enable themselves to feel good about themselves. An example could be when sports performers succeed at a task they try, they are most likely going to attribute to their success in their own abilities or efforts. But when they fail at something they will then want to attribute their failures to factors over which they have no control over, examples of these factors could be things like the weather.

Future expectations of success and failure, in sports performance are linked with a theory known as the attribution theory. If you are attributed to stable, causes like skill, then you are more likely to have high expectations of your own personal future success, whereas on the other hand if your attribute includes unstable causes like luck for example, then you are more likely to have high expectations of future failure which is the opposite feeling of stable.

Developing a motivational climate in a sporting environment is important as it dictates performance. The motivational climate is essence, is the environment where the sports performer finds themself in as well as how it affects their motivation levels in a positive and negative way.

A motivational climate that is primarily focused on the art of mastering tasks is where athletes perceive and receive positive reinforcement and there is also a much greater way and emphasis on the factor of teamwork and co-operation between players and teammates in sports performance. This will help them develop their motivation levels through improving the athletes psychological attitudes, effort and learning and evaluation techniques. So when an athlete is placed in an environment where there is much focus centered on the outcome and result, this is by the way where the athletes may feel they will be severely punished if potentially they make mistakes and where competition is strongly encouraged. Only those with great determination and motivation ability will receive attention. This will positively in result lead to less effort and persistence from the athletes being put in and most importantly lead to less failure attributed to lack of ability.

Epstein ( 1989) devised and formulated a plan to increase and develop motivational climate and the technique he suggested was the TARGET technique.

The target technique consists of Tasks, which the athlete needs to have a range of tasks that demand and require the sports performer to willingly and actively participate in, in order to develop learning and decision making. Then comes authority, in which giving athletes the authority to over monitoring as well as evaluating their own learning mistake and achievements. Reward, using the reward system where rewards are given when a task is achieved, puts more focus on the individuals own improvement rather then comparing themselves to other athletes which would negatively effect them as they wouldn’t he solely focused on themself. Then comes grouping, where athletes are given the golden opportunity to work in groups. This will help and benefit them as it will allow them to develop their skills in a group setting and based environment.

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Evaluation then follows, where this is purely focusing on a athletes effort and improvement they make. Finally and lastly comes timing, where activities will be timed effectively, so that all of the conditions that are above can merge and interact effectively.

In Martens schematic view, there is seen to be 3 actual levels of personality.

  • Psychological core
  • Typical response
  • Role-related behavior

The psychological core, which is cognitive, includes your attitudes and values. It does also include your interests, motivation to do something and beliefs about you and your self worth. The psychological core is about the real you per say, and not what people think about you.

The typical response level is the way you adapt to an environment, as well as how you personally adapt to the world around you.

Role related theory is the kind of behavior that include changeable aspects of your personality. Your own personality changes in different situations that you are typically in. An example could be that you could be a student at one moment, coaching a person or being a friend. Your roles are different each time, which will then determine your final personality.

The psychodynamic theory

The psychodynamic theory is spilt up into two separate parts. Conscious and unconscious. The first part is the ID which stands for interactive drive, this is part of your personality which is unconscious.

This is what makes you do certain things in life without having a clear explanation for them, for example, if a soccer player is about to take a very important penalty kick, the expectation that is put on their shoulders is massive. This in result could lead to large levels of anxiety for the individual.

The second condescending part is ego, which is called super ego at times. A great example of this is in Rugby, if a player is about to take a penalty kick, he might refuse to take it, because he will have the fear of letting the team down.

The interactional approach

The interactional approach looks at both a persons personal personality traits and also it looks at a situation as well. A sports performer with an interactional approach is usually a strong performer. An example of this would be someone who is usually seen as a shy and low key person in their everyday life, but then seems more likely to celebrate with crowd when manage to succeed in scoring a goal.

Situational approach

The situational approach states that our own behavior is interpreted based on the situation that we find ourselves in, rather then our own personality traits. A personal example I could think of is in a game of snooker, I need a lot of concentration and awareness to focus because of the pure situation I am put in.

  • Trait theory
  • There are 4 important trait theories:
  • Introversion
  • Extroversion
  • Stable
  • Neurotic

Introverts are people that typically don’t seek excitement and would prefer to put in a clam environment. They usually prefer activities that consist of needing a lot of concentration like playing a chess game for example. Extroverts however are different and get bored very rapidly. They are poor when it comes to a task that requires that requires the upmost concentration level and they look for change and excitement in their lives. Compared to introverts they are less responsive to pain. Extroverts also seem to actually be more successful and win more, when they are placed in sporting situations, as they are very good at coping with competitive events and distractive situations.

Now stable people are are very easy going individuals. Where as on the other hand neurotic people are unstable individuals and tend to be very anxious and typically restless. They are also always very energetic and excited all the time.

Athletes versus non athletes

Athletes are usually more determined, competitive. More self confidence and learn from failure better and are more persistent to their goals. Compared to non-athletes there will be startling difference. Non-athletes are far less motivated to complete their own personal targets, lazy, rely on others, unlike athletes they tend not to learn from their mistakes and are less committed .

Team vs individual sports.

Individual sports, and team sports just shows a spilt between types A and type B individuals. Type A people are generally more drawn to team sports that require many people to participate, whilst individual sports tend to further arrant Type B individuals. This can further be explained by the fact that individual sports require less social interaction like for example chess which can be beneficial for Type B personalities.

Where as Type A personalities prefer fast paced team sports like 400m relays, as they offer more excitement as well as stimulation. Team sport athletes are way more dependent on others that are on the team. Whereas individual sport athletes are more independent, this could therefore lead to team members having a lower EGO strength. This could mean they are more likely to act out for example, Faf De Klerk punched Owen Farrel during a game of rugby. This is because he had a low EGO strength and therefore in result, resorted to his natural instincts, this resulted in a 7 week ban.

Elite vs non elite athletes

Often times, the more successful athletes usually show smaller signs of depression, fatigue or confusion after a loss o game or if anything negative happens to them in their sport.

However they do have higher levels of vigour. The less successful athletes in terms of accolades and credentials are the opposite. They have higher levels of self anger and depression and confusion. Usually the athletes that are more successful, are usually more calmer and content when performing. They also are more varied with the way they perform.

Sporting examples of this would be Mario Balotelli, who is popularly known for his antic and aggression on the football pitch, is sent off by the referee, in a match against AC Milan the crowd were being racist towards Mario, during the game his aggressive angry personality trait begun to display itself, so this resulted in him kicking the goal post as a reaction to display.

Another sporting example of an athlete vs a non athlete would be Serena Williams, where in a match was shown a card for verbal abuse, Serena has shown anger as well as frustration in tennis matches. After losing a match against Naomi Asaka, she got very angry at a decision that was made against her by the referee, her negative reaction that she had displayed, resulted in a point being taken away and a card being shown for aggressive, Behaviour which is not tolerated in the sport of Tennis.

Another and final sporting example would be Nathan Hughes, Nathan was commended for his sportsmanship during his match Exeter Chiefs, his teammate had just suffered a serious blow to the head, which lead to a concussion. In a very positive manner, Nathan did not try and carry on the match, but rather attended to his teammate to his teammate and called for first aid treatment immediately, this shows care. Where as compared to a non-elite athlete they would carry on because psychologically in their mind, they would think the game is more important then the injured player and would therefore play on.

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