How performers explain or attribute their sporting performance has a significant impact on their expectations and emotional reactions, which in turn influence future achievement.
In order to achieve sporting excellence it is imperative that athletes demonstrate and focus upon positive attributions; ones that are stable, such as their ability.
Attributing performance to these stable factors has a positive impact on performance and has been associated with expectations of future success. Focusing on these factors can be carried from one event to another; they are a constant and because of an athlete’s awareness of this then this should provide a similar outcome in future sporting events.
Alternatively, focusing on negative, unstable or external factors outside of an athlete’s control will have a detrimental impact on their sporting performance as all of these will mean that an athlete will not expect sporting success with any degree of frequency due to the variable nature of all of these factors. This will lead to the athlete feeling that their performance is out of their immediate control and as a result their motivation and confidence levels will be less. In the long term this will have a significant impact on the athlete’s enjoyment and success in their chosen sport.
Gavin Wilson MINDSi SPORTS PERFORMANCE www.MindsiOnline.com
Sports psychologist Ian Lynagh, father of former Australian rugby league captain Michael Lynagh describes motivation as “The development and maintenance of a drive to succeed".
He goes onto explain that the most mature reason why people do sport is because of the challenge of wanting to establish control over a task. He then adds that it becomes more of an intrinsic striving, an internal challenge, than the desire for status or other extrinsic things such as prestige and rewards, getting a medal. He continues “Sport provides a process of learning to grow as a human being. Most sports are stupid or meaningless. But we identify a difficult challenge in sport so that we need to train and develop skills, which involves self-discipline and self-management and taking responsibility. It’s all about factors that help humans grow to become more than we are”.
For me this is an excellent definition of the term “motivation” and he goes onto explain it well. The fascinating thing that Lynagh gets at is that he sees motivation in sport as not specifically about sport or its external rewards, such as trophies and medals, but more about motivating oneself to improve as a person.
This links into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the five different levels that can be attained. I believe to be motivated in sport, you have to have that drive, that determination in other aspects of your life too – it needs to be intrinsic and you must focus on the task in hand, and not the final outcome. And vice versa.
An athlete’s values and beliefs also link into this and a need to take a personal responsibility and pride in their development and what they want to achieve, in sport and in their everyday life. To conclude, motivation in sport can be taught although a person’s general personality traits, beliefs, values and strive for personal intrinsic improvement heavily influence future sporting success.
If you, or your team, would like some help with the complex area of motivation please just get in touch with us and one of our Peak Performance Consultants can arrange a one on one session or group session.
Gavin Wilson Senior Sports Performance Coach MINDSi SPORTS PERFORMANCE www.MindsiOnline.com
David de Gea's erratic first season at Manchester United has taken place with the talented but error-prone goalkeeper suffering from an eyesight problem that may necessitate laser surgery at the end of the season.
De Gea, dropped from United's past three matches after making a succession of mistakes, is long-sighted and plays in contact lenses. United employ a full-time optometrist, based at their training ground, and the Spaniard has been recommended for treatment to restore his sight to normal as he tries to cut out the mistakes that have cost him his place as Sir Alex Ferguson's first-choice goalkeeper.
Having worn glasses for most of his life, De Gea was going to have laser surgery last March when he was at Atlético Madrid. At the time, however, the Atlético medical staff told him to wait at least another year because he needed a stable prescription.
United were aware of the issue when they signed him for £18.3m in the summer. De Gea has had regular check-ups since replacing Edwin van der Sar and held off the challenge of Anders Lindegaard until one mistake too many in the 3-2 home defeat against Blackburn Rovers on New Year's Eve.
De Gea has been at fault, to different degrees, for as many as six to nine goals in his first five months in the team and, though there have been times when his goalkeeping has been exceptional, his first season in England has been a difficult one. Whether there is any link to his vision is not clear, but wearers of contact lenses often find their eyesight is strained when watching football under artificial light, and the priority at Old Trafford is to make sure it is not even potentially a factor.
United still have high aspirations that De Gea, at 21, can demonstrate he was worth the money and become a great goalkeeper for the club.
The hope is that he can be booked in for laser treatment in June, when he could take advantage of the summer break to have the four-day period of rest that is advised. He is then expected to be selected for Spain's Olympics squad if, as expected, he misses out on Euro 2012 behind Iker Casillas, José Reina and Victor Valdés.