Achievement motivation across training and competition in individual and team sports

Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology 04/2012; 1(2):91-105. DOI: 10.1037/a0025967


Training and competition are two important contexts within the sport domain. In this study, we examined: (a) consistency and differences in goal orientations across the training and competition contexts and whether these are moderated by sport type; and (b) whether goal orientations predict effort, enjoyment, and trait anxiety differently in the two contexts, and whether sport type moderates these relationships. Participants were individual- (
n = 145) and team-sport (
n = 203) athletes, who completed questionnaires measuring goal orientations, effort, enjoyment, and trait anxiety in training and competition. Both task and ego orientation showed medium-to-large consistency across the two contexts for individual- and team-sport athletes. Athletes in both sport types reported higher ego orientation in competition than in training, but did not differ in task orientation. Task orientation predicted effort positively in training. However, in competition, this goal predicted effort positively only in individual-sport athletes who had low ego orientation. Task orientation also predicted enjoyment positively in both contexts; however, in competition this prediction was significantly stronger in individual than in team-sport athletes. Ego orientation also predicted enjoyment positively in competition in both individual- and team-sport athletes. Finally, task orientation predicted trait anxiety negatively in competition but only in individual-sport athletes. The findings highlight the importance of making the distinction between training and competition, and individual and team sports when examining motivational processes in sport. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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