With reference to a sport ofyour choice, drawing on material from across the course: a) Identify andoutline a particular case study (based on a fictitious case); b) Set in thecontext of relevant research, highlight issues that could be addressed througha sport psychology intervention programme; c) Describe the interventionprogramme that you would put in place; d) Indicate the psychological theory andresearch that would support your intervention. Part A: Client Background& Situation Context At thetime of the case study, Mark (pseudonym) aged 29 had signed to a high levelprofessional football team in Belfast a year previous to the case study. Anearly fascination in Secondary education propelled Mark`s interest and passion,whilst his childhood football team later became his adult football club.However, the opportunity arose for him to move to a higher level professionalfootball team in Belfast. Mark had reported the issues of motivation to thecoach, despite his recognised ability and previously held roles and currentrole of Captain he has not attended training sessions or team meetings. Thecoach had suggested a lack of participation and overall involvement is evidentwith Mark`s behaviour even when he does appear for training.
During initialdiscussions early on before the initial needs assessments, Mark acknowledged alack of autonomy within the coach-athlete relationship which other team membershad also hinted at during the initial stages. Both the coach and Mark indicateda stark difference when Mark moved to the club, he was full of passion,enthusiasm and commitment, whereas now all these factors have depleted. TheCoach suggested Mark may drop out of the football team, however upon initialobservations it is evident the motivational climate is not appropriate togenerate the optimal performance of the team. The team was deteriorating,losing friendly matches which they expected to win and overall not having thecommitment they once had. The team had not previously worked with a SportPsychologist and therefore this motivation impairment was adversely affectingthe team. The teammet regularly for training once a week with team meetings involving the entiresquad and coach every 8 weeks to discuss selection and specifics regarding whatthe next training block would focus on in the led up to the new season. It wasapparent that these sessions lacked individual feedback, player autonomy and anegative approach to dealing with performance issues. Further assessment wasrequired to explore these issues.
Part B: Initial needsassessment A threestage approach was taken for the initial needs assessment, which focused on: 1)Interviews with the Client 2) Motivational Assessments in the form ofQuestionnaires 3.) Collating contextual information from observations and laterdiscussions with the important parties including the client, coach and team.Within the literature, a multitude of motivational assessments explore anindividual’s intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Research has suggested thequantity of such measures currently employed by researchers is a minimum of 75different motivational measures (Mayer, Faber & Xu, 2007). A widely usedassessment known as the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory was given to Mark tocomplete throughout the case study to establish a baseline of motivation andwhether the intervention improved his intrinsic motivation. This assessment wasredefined for use in a sport context by McAuley, Duncan & Tammen (1989),with the smaller item version comprised of 18 items provided to Mark. This assessmentwas selected as it measures four subscales, with one assessing intrinsicmotivation (interest/enjoyment), with the other three subscales measuringbehavioural outcomes of intrinsic motivation (perceived competence,effort/importance and pressure/tension). McAuley et al (1989) reported an alphacoefficient of 0.85 which is above average for the amount of items on thequestionnaire suggesting this measure is a reliable assessment of motivation (Cortina,1993).
Mark`s scored lowest on the interest/enjoyment, effort/importance andpressure/tension subscales, which helped to form discussion areas. Researchhas indicated the importance of both motivation types to holisticallyunderstand the Client`s overall motivation, with Brace (2017) placing emphasison the coach and athlete identifying the level of motivation in both types toassess how the athlete is lacking in certain qualities and how thiseffort/performance can reach optimal levels again. Mark was instructed to fillout the Sport Motivation Scale which was translated by Pelletier, Tuson,Fortier, Vallerand, Briere & Blais (1995) which differs from the IMI. Arevised updated version called SMS-11 addressed previous limitations of the SMS(Pelletier, Rocchi, Vallerand, Deci & Ryan, 2013), hence this version wasprovided to the client. This questionnaire assesses intrinsic motivation, threespecific aspects of extrinsic motivation (identified, introjected, external),integrated regulation which refers to the most self-determined component ofextrinsic motivation and amotivation (Mallet et al, 2007a). The theoreticalframework which is the questionnaire is based on comes from one of the mostprominent theories of motivation by Ryan & Deci (2000) known as SelfDetermination Theory. This theoretical perspective proposes optimal motivationis met through the satisfaction of three key needs which include autonomy,competence and relatedness. This perspective indicates human motivation fallson a continuum, with three distinct types of motivation, intrinsic motivationis when the individual possesses the motivation within themselves to take part,extrinsic motivation is when they par-take due to a sense of obligation orrewards.
Amotivation is a complete absence of motivation with the individualnot interested in taking part in the activity. This theory was originallyproposed Researchhas suggested dropout behaviour is the final result of a lack of motivation(Cervello, Escarti & Guzman, 2007) which is likely for Mark as the depletedlevels of motivation are evident in his behavioural patterns i.e. not attendingtraining or team meetings. It may led to Mark`s contract not being renewed at afuture time if the issue is not resolved. During the interview, Mark hadacknowledged the difficulties he had encountered with his Coach, not creatingan appropriate motivational climate.
According to Mark the coach did not reactconstructively when he did not perform well, often negatively verbalising hisanger and disappointment rather than discussing this with Mark privately one onone. Mark highlighted this as one reason he no longer attended team meeting, andhis motivation and passion for the game had been hindered by the coach`s style.Consultations with the Coach also highlighted the issue that he was not pleasedwith Mark`s behaviour and acknowledged he is unsure how to approach thesituation. Overall both questionnaires indicated a lack of motivation from Markand this depleted motivation was affected by the coaching style. Part C & D: Framework andIntervention Inaccordance to the findings of the initial needs assessments, two interventionswere adopted to specifically address the client’s lack of intrinsic motivationand the authoritarian counterproductive coaching style. Both interventions areunderpinned by education, with the first aimed to target the behaviouralconsequences manifested through Mark`s lack of motivation i.
e. not training upto training sessions and team meetings. This was having a negative effect aswell on the interpersonal relationship between the coach and athlete, with theresearch suggesting this relationship is a critical aspect to successfulperformance and interpersonal satisfaction (Butler, 1997). A Sport `s educationmodel (Siedentop, 1990) was adopted which is underpinned by SocialDetermination Theory with regard to the psychological needs which should be metto provide optimal intrinsic motivation.
Following this approach, theintervention is effectively broken down into six key stages. Firstly, coachesand the teams collectively acknowledge and celebrate hard work and improvement.In relation to Mark, this helped him to see what he brought to the team,showing his value and providing positive encouragement from the coach and team.Record Keeping allows for consistent feedback for the individual and team,shaping specific goals which should be met and allowing more autonomy overthese goals. Mark acknowledged here that his attendance to training was anissue and the team decided in order to help improve, the idea of punishment andnegative feedback was no longer applicable for any team member. Affiliationsoccurs next, with an emphasis on the ideological identity of an athlete, withathletes becoming a member of a unique team, the football team in this case.This displacement of control allows the players together to plan practices forthe team and encourage more control, delegate more responsibility.
Thismodel is supported by a large body of empirical support, with research withinschool contexts revealing that teachers agree this sport education modelgenerates interest, motivation (Alexander & Luckman, 2001). Through theimplementation of this model, individuals are encouraged to become team membersand through this affiliation and identity, they form social bonds with oneanother, practice with one another and encourage autonomy. This model has alsobeen supported and recommended by professional organisations for example SportMedicine, suggesting the importance of providing team members with autonomy.
Mark had noted in discussions an absence of autonomy, with a perception of beingsignalled out repeatedly during interviews. This model changed that approach,with more autonomy and more control, and a new mutual respect between the coachand client, improvements in Mark`s performance were noted. However the researchhas limitations and it’s important to reflect upon these for future practice.The majority of studies recruit school pupils who engage in compulsory fitnessclasses, perhaps the findings are not applicable or generalizable for athleteswho actively choose to engage in their chosen sport.
Overallthis intervention provided a new coaching style, with a new motivationalclimate, one which encouraged and supported autonomy. Post-interventionassessments indicated improvements in Mark`s motivation, specifically intrinsicmotivation and when followed up with interviews he recognised the stronger relationshipbetween himself and the coach. Due to feeling more supported, accountable andreceiving more positive feedback improved Mark`s attendance at meetings,training and performance outcomes. Edmunds, Ntoumanis & Duda (2008) alsosupports these findings, suggesting within a football team coaches areencouraged to provide teams with autonomy, to improve motivation, performanceand satisfaction.
Thesecond intervention was based on Performance Profiling which according toButler & Hardy (1992) an athlete-centred approach to performance assessmentencourages greater intrinsic motivation. Butler & Hardy (1992) suggestedDeci & Ryan`s (1985) cognitive evaluation theory (CET) could be used toreinforce the three basic psychological needs through social and environmentfactors. The theoretical understanding of this model, places an importance ofthese needs outlined in SDT. Three important needs should be met for optimalmotivation levels, including Athlete`s perceived autonomy is positively relatedto an increase in athlete involvement and repeated profiling sessionsreinforcing athlete perceptions of competence (Butler, Smith & Irwin.1993). This would translate as Mark and the team feeling more competent,regaining confidence in their ability and not focusing on negative weaknesseswhich could hinder their performance and motivation.
Lastly, Dale (1996) concluded that the group sessions encourage relatedness throughsocial interactions and identifying and discussing performance-related issues. Weston,Greenless and Thelwell (2011) identified methodological issues in previousstudies which investigated this intervention type, outlining a failure toexamine intrinsic motivation, descriptive findings and a relatively few studiesexploring the intervention. The researchers aimed to further the understandingempirically of this type of intervention, specifically related to intrinsicmotivation in athletes. Vallerand (2001) proposed the repetition of socialfactors within the same context is vital to positively improve contextualmotivation, a singular session will not yield long-term benefits. This study adopteda 6 week programme for the final condition. Participants were allocated to oneof three conditions, the experimental condition received a sport scienceeducational intervention, the control condition received no intervention andthe final condition received three repeat profiling sessions. Interestingly,the findings highlighted an important part of the intervention, a singlesession did not significantly improve intrinsic motivation. The researchersconcluded in conjunction with Vallerands (2001) idea that the higher exposureparticipants had of these sessions the greater the benefit to an athlete’sintrinsic motivation.
Thisintervention was based on CET and a previous intervention programme by Westonet al (2011) which showed repeated exposure to performance profiling sessionscould provide long-term intrinsic motivation improvements within a footballteam. At the start of the intervention,players were instructed to complete the SMS to allow for baseline motivationalmeasures. In relation to the Performance Profiling condition, the team weresplit into 4 distinct categories, goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders andattackers. During the first session, Mark and the team were instructed tobrainstorm the qualities or characteristics of an elite athlete within thecontext of football. The team were then asked to identify the qualities whichwere most important to them and their performance, and then identify theirability on a scale. The team were asked to identify three areas for improvementand to discuss these with their coach to identify plans on how to improve theseareas. Both the second and third sessions focused on monitoring anyimprovements, with the team asked to add or remove any qualities in theoriginal template provided. The team followed the same protocol as the first session,rating their performance and after this was completed the team were given theratings from previous sessions.
After they had looked at the differences, theywere asked to provide explanations why there was or wasn’t any changes. Theteam acknowledged where they needed to identify, Mark suggested a need for morecommunication within the team and a more helpful approach, as players shouldcome forward if they are facing difficulties and as a team they can work at ittogether. Toconclude, the motivational climate was changed to provide more autonomy,responsibility and feedback to the players. The players know more than anyoneelse what their weaknesses are both as an individual and as a team, andimprovements were seen on both measures post intervention.