Motivating Individuals in Physical Activity

Motivation can be defined as “the internal and external stimuli, which arouse and direct behaviour” (Sage G. H 1974 as quoted in Sport and P. E). To understand motivation, we must first understand what motivates us as humans. Few issues can claim to be more central to human behaviour than motivation. We can recognize that much behaviour can contribute notably to an individual’s healthy life-style, however at the same time substantial difficulties are often faced by many people when attempting to start off, maintain, or resume involvement in physical activity.

Maintaining exercise motivation is one of the biggest barriers one has to face. The key to exercise and motivation is to outline what an individual wants in a philosophical manner. In order to be truly motivated, you must enjoy the exercise and what you get out of it. In order to find and uphold commitment, one must find ways to help continue exercise and ways to achieve it. It is suggested that we have two basic motives that “require fulfilment, our physiological and psychological needs” (Maslow 1954 as quoted in Sport and P. E). Each performer has a differing of needs that motivate them to participate.

Intrinsic motivation can be used to clarify how performers endeavour inwardly, being self-determined and autonomous in making an attempt to develop competence or excellence. A person who is intrinsically motivated will want to take part in an activity for its own sake, just for their pure love of the sport. For example an individual may want to learn how to play squash as a form of recreation, or just simply, to develop their fitness levels. There are many strategies a coach or teacher can utilize to control and maintain motivational intrinsic values, within a performer.

A coach could make use of positive and negative reinforcement. They would need to be aware of the effect that reinforcers have and how to use them effectively to ensure appropriate learning. Positive reinforcement involves the use of a stimulus to create feelings of satisfaction to encourage a repetition of the performance. This could involve praise from a coach or emphasizing the feeling of completing a set goal. “Success itself can act as a reinforcer” (Hodder et al 2000) thus increasing motivation. As some of the performer’s skills become more demanding, praise for accomplishing aspects of the required response may be given.

The coach or teacher must make sure that the praise and high approvals are given soon after the correct behaviour, in order so that the performer can link their actions, and feelings, to future performances. Negative reinforcement operates in a reversed manner. It involves the “removal of an unpleasant stimulus when the desired response occurs” (James. R2000). I can relate this to a performance of my own during a basketball practice session. My coach stopped shouting at the team and I if our actions were correct.

From this I was able to familiarize myself with correct and incorrect actions in the game, perceived from the shouting. Goal setting is generally seen as an extremely influential method for enhancing intrinsic motivation. “A goal is what an individual is trying to accomplish. It is the object or aim of an action” (Lock, 1981as quoted in Sport and P. E). A coach must carry out this method carefully. Goal setting can be capable of helping a performer’s self confidence, enhance intensity and persistence, the performer’s attention and by and large and have a positive effect on performance.

Goal setting can allow a performer to cope with stress provoking situations, thus controlling and limiting the amount of arousal and anxiety used. Yerkes and Dodson Inverted ‘U’ Hypothesis proposed that “as arousal levels increase, so does the level of performance, but only up to an optimum point, which is usually reached at moderate levels of arousal” (Thompson. G et al 2000). The theory suggests that beyond the point of arousal, a performer’s performance will worsen. There are several reasons that can determine the optimum point of arousal.

Fine movements and complex skills, which require large amounts of attention, require a lower arousal level e. g. snooker, archery etc. It also depends on what type of skill level an athlete has reached. A beginner for example need all of their attention to be focused on the skill and do not cope with arousal levels so well. It is said that “extroverts generally perform better with high arousal levels” (Morton. D et al 2000). Introverts would struggle somewhat to control their arousal, as they tend to avoid situations with tasks of high stimulation aspects.

Therefore coaches must be aware of the negative affects goal setting can create. Setting unrealistic goals, for example, “You must beat your time by 4 seconds in tomorrows 100m race”, this not only has an effect on motivation but can …

The performers who need to achieve success in sport tend to approach challenges, they are not afraid of failure and are extremely competitive, they enjoy a challenge however if they fail they tend to attribute failure to unstable factors such …

Biddell (1984) states intrinsically motivated performers are more likely to continue participating than those extrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation is of benefit at first and provides initial drive but does not last. An example of this a Micelle Shumaker, he earns …

Exercise adherence refers to the strength of an individual’s commitment to performing physical activity. People with strong exercise adherence continue physical activity despite opportunities and pressure to withdraw, such as money, time and other commitments. Children and teenagers should engage …

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