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Presented at the 40th NSCA National Conference in Las Vegas on July 14th, 2017.
This presentation discusses the intersection between motor learning and motivation using self-determination theory as a guide. Learn how optimizing your athlete/client's sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness leads to a motivational environment that nurtures skill development.
Within social-cognitive theory, SDT proposes
that intrinsic motivation emerges in accordance
with the fulfillment of psychological needs
SDT emphasizes the “role of the environment
(i.e., coach) in fueling people’s perceptions of
self-determined autonomy, competence, and
(Deci & Ryan, 1985; Mallett, 2005)
The opportunity to govern one’s self;
freedom from unwanted external control
and influence; self-directed
The ability and belief in one’s ability to
successfully perform a task; self-efficacy
The connection one has with others;
shared empathy and the ability to relate
to another person’s point of view
Basic Psychological Needs
High (Control) Autonomy Low (Control) Autonomy
Integrated High LowInternalization (Ryan & Deci, 2007)
Sport is a part
of who I am.
I am driven to
win, but I also
I play sport
but most of
all, I love
I play sport
because I feel
do so by my
I play sport
of my friends
play and I
want to fit it
Self-Determined Non Self-Determined
High Internalization Low Internalization
Motivation: Sport Example
There is no
I love sport
How do I influence one’s Self-
Determination as a coach?
“Pressure to think, feel, or behave in specified
ways, thereby ignoring the person’s needs and
feelings…Power-assertive…Pressure to comply.”
(Mageau & Vallerand, 2003, p. 886)
“Takes the other’s perspective, acknowledges
the other’s feelings, and provides the other with
pertinent information and opportunities for
choice, while minimizing the use of pressure
(Mageau & Vallerand, 2003, p. 886)
Motivation emerges when the basic psychological needs
for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are fulfilled
Motivation is multidimensional and changes based on
the task, situation, and environment
Coaches can affect motivation through developing
controlling or autonomy-supportive environments
Take Home Message
Should motivation just … motivate …
or is there something else?
(Sanli et al., 2013)
Providing individuals with controlled choice over a specific practice
variable has been shown to improve motor learning and skill acquisition
Choice No Choice
When given the opportunity to control feedback, individuals
will request feedback less often the more they perform a task
(Chiviacowsky et al., 2008)
When given the opportunity to control feedback, players will
request feedback <30% of the time (as low as 7%)
(Chiviacowsky et al., 2008; Janell et al., 1995/1997)
Players will request feedback after successful trials more
often than they will request feedback after poor trials
(Chiviacowsky & Wulf, 2002/2007)
(Wulf &Toole, 1999; Keetch & Lee, 2007; Andrieux et al., 2012 )
Providing individuals with choice over progressions and difficulty
has been shown to improve motor learning and skill acquisition
Practice is individualised to the player
(i.e., Feedback, Demonstrations, & Progressions)
Players can request feedback after ‘good reps’
Players extract more information from demonstrations
Self-control leads to higher motivation, active involvement in
the learning process, and deeper information processing
Take Home Message
mo·ti·va·tion; move·ment; mo·tor:
Share the Latin Root movere, meaning to move
“Humans are more than neutral processors of
information, and evidence suggests that learning
is optimized by practice conditions that account
for motivational factors.”
(Lewthwaite & Wulf, 2012, p. 173)
Purposeful struggle engages the client while
preserving their sense of competence
(Chiviacowsky et al., 2012; Coyle, 2012)
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