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Perceived Goal Setting Practices of Olympic Athletes: An Exploratory Investigation

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Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to explore Olympic athletes' perceptions concerning the frequency and effectiveness of goal setting strategies as well as goal preferences and barriers to achieving these goals. Participants were 185 male and 143 female Olympic athletes from a variety sports. Each athlete completed a questionnaire detailing their perceptions, use, and effectiveness of a number of different goal-setting strategies. Factor analysis revealed four similar factors for goal effectiveness and goal frequency and two distinct factors for goal barriers. Descriptive results revealed that all of the Olympic athletes practiced some type of goal setting to help enhance performance, and they found their goals to be highly effective. Athletes also reported that improving overall performance, winning, and having fun were the three most important goals. In addition, setting difficult goals that were somewhat above the level at which they perform was the most preferred level of goal difficulty. Future directions for research are offered including exploration of developmental differences and variations in coach versus athlete perceptions.
... Goal setting research in sport has consistently demonstrated the value to skill development and self-efficacy (Schunk, 1983), improved performance (Filby et al., 1999;Mellalieu et al., 2013), greater effort, and commitment (see Kingston & Wilson, 2008, for a review). A study of 328 Olympic athletes found that all used goal setting and that they reported this to be a highly effective way to enhance performance (Weinberg et al., 2000). For these athletes, setting goals that challenged them to go above their level of performance ability were preferred (Weinberg et al., 2000). ...
... A study of 328 Olympic athletes found that all used goal setting and that they reported this to be a highly effective way to enhance performance (Weinberg et al., 2000). For these athletes, setting goals that challenged them to go above their level of performance ability were preferred (Weinberg et al., 2000). Studies have also shown that athletes who have not previously set goals will see an improvement in performance when they set specific goals (O'Brien et al., 2009;Swain & Jones, 1995). ...
... With regard to sport, research has shown goal setting to be an important part of sport performance and competitive outcomes. Goal setting is said to direct behaviour, focus effort, and increase motivation (Burton & Weiss, 2008) while improving performance (e.g., Swain & Hones, 1995;Weinberg et al., 2000). These are all very important to achieving success in athletic endeavors. ...
Thesis
This thesis examined experiential factors in in the sport setting and outcomes associated with the theory of positive youth development.
... P sichologiniai veiksniai turi reikšmingos įtakos sportininkų pasirodymui, ir tai vis dažniau eskaluojama mokslinėje literatūroje (Weinberg et al., 2000;Mileva, 2001;Calu-Leoca, Bogdan, 2003). Akivaizdu, kad bet kurios veiklos, taip pat ir sportavimo, veiksmingumą lemia ne tiek jo operacinė bazė (žinios, įgūdžiai ir kt.), ...
... Tinkama tikslų užsibrėžimo strategija neabejotinai padeda siekti geresnių sportinių rezultatų ir veiklos veiksmingumo, ir tai lemia sportininko pasitikėjimą savimi. Nors tyrimai apie tikslų nusistatymą sutartinai patvirtina, kad tikslas yra pati veiksmingiausia pasirodymo lygio kėlimo priemonė, tačiau daugelis trenerių ir sportininkų teigia susiduriantys su sunkumu, kaip tai veiksmingai išnaudoti (Rushall, 1995;Burton et al., 1998;Pierce, Burton, 1998;Weinberg et al., 2000). ...
Article
Dauguma sporto psichologijos praktikų domisi, kodėl individai pasirenka skirtingus pasiekimų tikslus ir rengimosi būdus. Taip pat bandoma išsiaiškinti, kaip tarpusavyje susijęs sportininkų parengtumas ir jų pastangos. Šiuo tyrimu nagrinėta sudėtingos koordinacijos šakų sportininkų asmenybės kryptingumą lemiančių tikslo siekimo ir pasitikėjimo savimi ypatumai. Tai ir buvo pagrindinis šio tyrimo tikslas. Tyrimo metu apklausti gimnastikos, dailiojo čiuožimo ir plaukimo šakų sportininkai (amžius — 12—14 m.; n = 200; 106 merginų ir 94 vaikinų; 78 plaukikai, 77 gimnastai, 45 dailiojo čiuožimo sportininkai). Anketinės apklausos būdu buvo įvertinami sportininkų asmenybės kryptingumo aspektai, akcentuojantys tikslo siekimą ir pasitikėjimą savimi. Eksternalumui ir internalumui tirti panaudota R. Mar- tens (1999) metodika. Tyrimas parodė, kad dauguma sportininkų labiau pasitiki savimi sportuodami ir jautresni kritikai asmeniniame gyve- nime. Optimizmo poreiškis siekiant tikslų asmeniniame gyvenime ir sportuojant patikimo skirtumo neatskleidė. Tiria- mieji minėjo tas pačias stipriąsias (ryžtingumą ir atkaklumą — po 48%) ir silpnąsias (tingumą — 54,4% ir kantrybės stoką — 37,5%) savybes siekdami tikslų asmeniniame gyvenime ir sportuojant. Hipotezė, kad pasitikėjimas savimi asmeniniame gyvenime ir sportuojant panašus, pasitvirtino, tačiau išryškėjo reikšmingas skirtumas siekiant tikslo. Prielaida, kad egzistuoja pasitikėjimo savimi skirtumas tarp skirtingų šakų sportininkų, pasitvirtino. Tiriant kontrolės lokusą buvo nustatyta, kad internalumas būdingesnis plaukikams. Ir priešingai, eksternalumas būdingesnis dailiojo čiuožimo ir gimnastikos šakų sportininkams. Trečia hipotezė, kad egzistuoja kontrolės lokuso skirtumai nepasitvirtino: nenustatytas statistiškai reikšmingas internalumo ir eksternalumo skirtumas tarp skirtingų lyčių tiriamųjų. Moks- linės literatūros šaltiniai, susiję su tikslų siekimu, pasitikėjimu savimi, ir šis tyrimas parodė, kad tikslų siekimas ir pasitikėjimas savimi gali padėti formuoti sportininko asmenybę. Be to, remiantis tyrimo duomenimis galima teigti, kad egzistuoja tikslo siekimo ir jo realizavimo skirtumas tarp įvairių šakų sportininkų. Tinkama tikslų formulavimo strategija gali padėti siekti geresnių rezultatų, neabejotinai tai gali padidinti sportininko pasitikėjimą savimi, kartu pagerintų sportinės veiklos veiksmingumą. Raktažodžiai: asmenybės kryptingumas, pasitikėjimas savimi, tikslo siekimas, eksternalumas, internalumas.
... Simões, Vasconcelos-Raposo, Silva, and Fernandes (2012) concurs that the objectives set by athletes should be specific, realistic, and short-term, thus enhancing the process of achieving proficiency. Despite research supporting the common wisdom that one should set realistic and attainable goals, Olympians typically set difficult goals that are above the level at which they currently compete (Weinberg, Yukelson, Burton, & Weigand, 2000) challenging themselves to new levels of achievement. ...
Article
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Olympic athletes possess unique physical, mental, and leadership characteristics. Identifying and quantifying their leadership skills can enhance their employability, leading to a successful career transition. The researcher assessed 119 Olympic athletes, medalists (n =72), and non-medalists (n = 45) who competed in 11 different sports, representing both genders, various age groups, and from 20 countries, and competed in at least one Olympic game. Using the Leadership Trait Questionnaire (LTQ) survey, out of the possible 70 points, the entire population surveyed had the mean LTQ score of 62.48, medalists scored 61.49 and non-medalists scored 62.70. With no significant differences in LTQ scores, the conclusion can be drawn that all Olympians possess unique leadership characteristics. To explore how to enhance the employability of elite athletes, the researcher investigated if a correlation exists between their total LTQ scores and their chosen careers. Out of 119 participants, most remained in the sporting world as coaches (n=46), with others mostly remaining in sports related fields. The correlation between the LTQ scores and their age, gender, sports, highest placement was also analyzed. In conclusion, the employability of elite athletes can be improved by empowering them to have a better understanding of their unique leadership characteristics alongside other exceptional skills they already possess and apply them as they transition to life after sports.
... Other research has shown positive effects of goal setting on sport performance such as in basketball (Swain & Jones, 1995), ice hockey (Anderson, Crowell, Doman, & Howard, 1988) lacrosse (Weinberg, Stitcher, Richardson, & Jackson, 1994), golf (Kingston & Hardy, 1997), soccer (Brobst & Ward, 2002), and swimming (Burton, 1989b). Collegiate, Olympic, and youth athletes have reported their preference on goal settings; the top three preferences for goal difficulty were moderately difficult, difficult, and very difficult goals (Weinberg, Burke, & Jackson, 1997;Weinberg, Burton, Yukelson, & Weigand, 2000). The research also revealed barriers to achieving goals and type of athletes. ...
... For example, Yukelson et al. (2000) conducted a study evaluating the importance of goal setting practices with Olympic athletes. This study along with others indicates that goal setting also affects performance by directing the attention to individuals or groups of athletes who are motivated, persistent, and provide effort at playing the game (Locke et al. 1981). ...
Article
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The purpose of this study was examining the three interventions across practice and in-game settings (i.e., goal setting plus verbal feedback; public posting plus verbal feedback; and goal setting, public posting, and verbal feedback together) on the percentage of correct blocks of collegiate volleyball players. Participants of this study consisted of three female volleyball players at the collegiate level, that are a part of a 4-year private college in the Midwest. Data were collected by videotape and analyzed by the primary researcher after respective practices and games. Each performance of blocking attempts, blocking footwork, and arm movement for the swing blocks were coded as either correct or incorrect and subsequently converted to percentages for both practices and games. The experimental design used was an ABACAD design as reported by Cooper (Applied behavior analysis, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Upper Saddle River, 2007; as reported by Johnson Strategies and tactics of behavioral research, Taylor, and Francis Group, New York, 2009). Three packaged intervention conditions were evaluated after an initial baseline (i.e., A) was conducted: (1) goal setting plus verbal feedback (i.e., B); (2) public posting plus verbal feedback (i.e., C); and (3) goal setting, public posting, and verbal feedback together (i.e., D). The results of the study indicate improvement in volleyball blocking skills across all three participants, across both practice and game settings, when involved in the behavioral intervention procedures. Consumer satisfaction rating by the target players and their respective collegiate volleyball coaches are also presented. Additionally, interobserver agreement and procedural integrity data are provided to additional credibility and internal validity for both the measurement system and the implementation of the intervention. Implications and recommendations for practice in highly competitive collegiate settings, as well as possibilities for future research in women’s athletics, are also discussed.
... [8] Furthermore, a broad range of barriers to sport participation was identified to include sociocultural, accessibility, interpersonal, psychological, and time related. [9] Investigating Olympic athletes, Weinberg et al. [10] found that the top five barriers experienced by these athletes were (1) lack of training time, (2) low confidence, (3) absence of feedback, (4) commitments to work, and (5) shortened goal deadlines. Moreover, time-related factors such as: travel time, time commitments, and less-free time were found to be the least agreeable part of being on a youth sport travel team. ...
Chapter
Handlungen im Sport sind intentional, also auf bestimmte Ziele ausgerichtet. Vor einem handlungstheoretischen Hintergrund sind die hierarchisch-sequenzielle Struktur sowie die verschiedenen Funktionen wichtig, die Handlungen haben können. Intentionen werden innerhalb dieser Auffassung mit Zielen und Plänen in Verbindung gebracht, die sich auf Tätigkeiten, Handlungen und Bewegungen beziehen können. Diese Auffassung wird anhand von verschiedenen Studien zu Intention überprüft. Intentionales Verhalten ist der Selbstregulation zugänglich, wozu insbesondere Zielsetzungstraining verwendet wird. Die Auswirkungen des handlungstheoretischen Zugangs auf das Setzen von Zielen werden abschließend diskutiert.
Article
Goal setting is an effective and frequently used tool for performance enhancement in sports. However, in the previous studies, the focus has been on goal effectiveness among individual male athletes and at one point in time. Therefore, the purpose of this longitudinal study was to examine goal setting practices in women’s sport teams across a competitive season from players’ individual and team perspectives. A total of 146 female players representing 24 teams in ice hockey, ringette, or floorball completed three online surveys. Surveys focused on setting outcome, process, and performance goals, as well as evaluating the follow-through of setting goals and actually reaching these goals across the season. The results indicated that teams set collective outcome goals, and several process, and performance goals at the outset of the season. One-third of the participants reported that these goals were recorded. Furthermore, results revealed that after the season, the achievement of the outcome goal was evaluated, whereas the attainment of process and performance goals was evaluated only occasionally. It is argued that the lack of follow-through in evaluating process and performance goals may be attributed to setting too many goals and not writing them down. It appeared that one-third of the teams did consistently follow the goal setting principles, and although this resulted in increased goal evaluation, it did not result in increased goal attainment. A number of future directions for research are offered and it is recommended that coaches should be made more aware of these guidelines and the importance of following them to achieve maximum benefits of a goal setting program.
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The study examined how goals combine with other factors in determining performance in a sport setting. More specifically, the effects of goal setting, commitment, self-efficacy, trait-efficacy, ability, and self-satisfaction on tennis performance were examined. Subjects (N˭48) performed four trials of a specific service task. Before the third and fourth trials subjects set personal goals. The psychological variables, self-efficacy, self-satisfaction and commitment, were also assessed prior to each trial. Results showed that ability, self-efficacy, goal setting, and goal commitment were predictors of performance at the various stages of the experiment. Analysis of two LISREL VI models (one for each trial) indicated that personal goal setting was affected by level of ability, as well as by perceived self-efficacy and satisfaction. Self-efficacy and goal commitment were a direct as well as indirect determinants of performance. Based on the findings in the proposed model, self-efficacy, goal commitment and personal goal setting appear to be significant determinants of performance in sport setting.
Article
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: A review of both laboratory and field studies on the effect of setting goals when learning or performing a task found that specific, challenging goals led more often to higher performance than easy goals, 'do your best' goals or no goals. This is one of the most robust and replicable findings in the psychological literature, with 90% of the studies showing positive or partially positive results. The main mechanisms by which goals affect performance are by directing attention, mobilizing effort, increasing persistence, and motivating strategy development. Goal setting is most likely to improve task performance when the goals are specific and sufficiently challenging, when the subjects have sufficient ability (and ability differences are controlled), when feedback is provided to show progress in relation to the goal, when rewards such as money are given for goal attainment, when the exerimenter manager is supportive, and when the assigned goals are actually accepted by the individual. No reliable individual differences have emerged in goal setting studies, probably because goals were typically assigned rather than self-set. Need for achievement and self esteem may be the most promising individual difference variables. (Author)
Article
This study examined the various aspects of goal setting of youth tennis players and their coaches. To examine this multifaceted technique, an extensive goal-setting questionnaire was administered to 224 youth tennis players and 35 youth tennis coaches. Results indicated that improving overall performance, fun/enjoyment, and winning were the three most important goals for youth tennis players and that they most preferred setting moderately difficult goals. The most effective type of goals for players were physical conditioning, practice, and skill/technique, whereas the top reasons for setting goals were focusing attention, problem-solving, and increasing effort. Results also revealed numerous significant differences between coaches' and players' goal setting, with the coaches generally having a higher frequency of using different goal-setting strategies and finding them more effective. Results were discussed in terms of developmental differences between youth and college athletes, as well as individual difference variables such as gender and ability.
Article
Previous reviews of literature of Locke's model of goal setting have noted the percentage of confirming studies but have ignored questions of effect size and practical significance. A meta-analysis of the literature was performed. The results support the two central themes of Locke's model: that hard goals lead to better performance than easy goals and that specific goals are superior to "do best" or no goals. However, several variables are found to moderate the strength of these relationships, for example, participative vs. assigned goal setting. The implications of the results for motivational theory and industrial applications are discussed.
Article
Examined the relationship between goal specificity, goal proximity, and performance of high school students while attempting to control for the effects of social comparison. In Exp 1, 214 Ss were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 goal-setting conditions (short-term goals, long-term, short- plus long-term goals, do-your-best, no goals). After a 3-wk baseline period, Ss were tested weekly on the 3-min sit-up over 10 wks. The short- plus long-term group increased the most in performance, although the short-term and long-term groups also displayed significant improvements. In Exp 2, 102 Ss were randomly assigned to either a short- plus long-term group or a do-your-best group. A significant improvement in performance was observed for the combination-goal group, whereas the do-your-best group did not improve. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Examined whether Ss who set specific difficult goals perform significantly better than those who set "do your best" goals, and investigated the importance of goal proximity on performance of the 3-min sit-up test. 96 undergraduates in 2 experiments were matched on ability and then randomly assigned to one of the following goal-setting conditions: short-term, long-term, short-term plus long-term, and do your best. They were tested once a week for either 5 wks (Exp I) or 3 wks (Exp II). Performance results from both experiments revealed no significant between-group difference. Questionnaire data indicated that all Ss tried hard, were committed to their goals, and were ego involved. Manipulation checks revealed, however, that all Ss were setting their own goals in addition to their experimenter-set goal. Other possible explanations given for the lack of differences are preexisting high motivation in the S population and the immediate physiological feedback provided by the experimental task. The findings are inconsistent with the overwhelming evidence cited in the industrial and organizational literature, suggesting that goal-setting theory requires some modification in sport settings. (38 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)