With reference to a sport of your choice, drawing

With reference to a sport of
your choice, drawing on material from across the course: a) Identify and
outline a particular case study (based on a fictitious case); b) Set in the
context of relevant research, highlight issues that could be addressed through
a sport psychology intervention programme; c) Describe the intervention
programme that you would put in place; d) Indicate the psychological theory and
research that would support your intervention. 

Part A: Client Background
& Situation Context

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At the
time of the case study, Mark (pseudonym) aged 29 had signed to a high level
professional football team in Belfast a year previous to the case study. An
early 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 professional
football team in Belfast. Mark had reported the issues of motivation to the
coach, despite his recognised ability and previously held roles and current
role of Captain he has not attended training sessions or team meetings. The
coach had suggested a lack of participation and overall involvement is evident
with Mark`s behaviour even when he does appear for training. During initial
discussions early on before the initial needs assessments, Mark acknowledged a
lack of autonomy within the coach-athlete relationship which other team members
had also hinted at during the initial stages. Both the coach and Mark indicated
a stark difference when Mark moved to the club, he was full of passion,
enthusiasm and commitment, whereas now all these factors have depleted. The
Coach suggested Mark may drop out of the football team, however upon initial
observations it is evident the motivational climate is not appropriate to
generate the optimal performance of the team. The team was deteriorating,
losing friendly matches which they expected to win and overall not having the
commitment they once had. The team had not previously worked with a Sport
Psychologist and therefore this motivation impairment was adversely affecting
the team.

 

 

The team
met regularly for training once a week with team meetings involving the entire
squad and coach every 8 weeks to discuss selection and specifics regarding what
the next training block would focus on in the led up to the new season. It was
apparent that these sessions lacked individual feedback, player autonomy and a
negative approach to dealing with performance issues. Further assessment was
required to explore these issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part B: Initial needs
assessment

A three
stage approach was taken for the initial needs assessment, which focused on: 1)
Interviews with the Client 2) Motivational Assessments in the form of
Questionnaires 3.) Collating contextual information from observations and later
discussions with the important parties including the client, coach and team.
Within the literature, a multitude of motivational assessments explore an
individual’s intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Research has suggested the
quantity of such measures currently employed by researchers is a minimum of 75
different motivational measures (Mayer, Faber & Xu, 2007). A widely used
assessment known as the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory was given to Mark to
complete throughout the case study to establish a baseline of motivation and
whether the intervention improved his intrinsic motivation. This assessment was
redefined for use in a sport context by McAuley, Duncan & Tammen (1989),
with the smaller item version comprised of 18 items provided to Mark. This assessment
was selected as it measures four subscales, with one assessing intrinsic
motivation (interest/enjoyment), with the other three subscales measuring
behavioural outcomes of intrinsic motivation (perceived competence,
effort/importance and pressure/tension). McAuley et al (1989) reported an alpha
coefficient of 0.85 which is above average for the amount of items on the
questionnaire suggesting this measure is a reliable assessment of motivation (Cortina,
1993). Mark`s scored lowest on the interest/enjoyment, effort/importance and
pressure/tension subscales, which helped to form discussion areas.  

Research
has indicated the importance of both motivation types to holistically
understand the Client`s overall motivation, with Brace (2017) placing emphasis
on the coach and athlete identifying the level of motivation in both types to
assess how the athlete is lacking in certain qualities and how this
effort/performance can reach optimal levels again. Mark was instructed to fill
out the Sport Motivation Scale which was translated by Pelletier, Tuson,
Fortier, Vallerand, Briere & Blais (1995) which differs from the IMI. A
revised updated version called SMS-11 addressed previous limitations of the SMS
(Pelletier, Rocchi, Vallerand, Deci & Ryan, 2013), hence this version was
provided to the client. This questionnaire assesses intrinsic motivation, three
specific aspects of extrinsic motivation (identified, introjected, external),
integrated regulation which refers to the most self-determined component of
extrinsic motivation and amotivation (Mallet et al, 2007a). The theoretical
framework which is the questionnaire is based on comes from one of the most
prominent theories of motivation by Ryan & Deci (2000) known as Self
Determination Theory. This theoretical perspective proposes optimal motivation
is met through the satisfaction of three key needs which include autonomy,
competence and relatedness. This perspective indicates human motivation falls
on a continuum, with three distinct types of motivation, intrinsic motivation
is when the individual possesses the motivation within themselves to take part,
extrinsic motivation is when they par-take due to a sense of obligation or
rewards. Amotivation is a complete absence of motivation with the individual
not interested in taking part in the activity. This theory was originally
proposed

Research
has suggested dropout behaviour is the final result of a lack of motivation
(Cervello, Escarti & Guzman, 2007) which is likely for Mark as the depleted
levels of motivation are evident in his behavioural patterns i.e. not attending
training or team meetings. It may led to Mark`s contract not being renewed at a
future time if the issue is not resolved. During the interview, Mark had
acknowledged the difficulties he had encountered with his Coach, not creating
an appropriate motivational climate. According to Mark the coach did not react
constructively when he did not perform well, often negatively verbalising his
anger and disappointment rather than discussing this with Mark privately one on
one. Mark highlighted this as one reason he no longer attended team meeting, and
his 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 pleased
with Mark`s behaviour and acknowledged he is unsure how to approach the
situation. Overall both questionnaires indicated a lack of motivation from Mark
and this depleted motivation was affected by the coaching style.

 

 

Part C & D: Framework and
Intervention

In
accordance to the findings of the initial needs assessments, two interventions
were adopted to specifically address the client’s lack of intrinsic motivation
and the authoritarian counterproductive coaching style. Both interventions are
underpinned by education, with the first aimed to target the behavioural
consequences manifested through Mark`s lack of motivation i.e. not training up
to training sessions and team meetings. This was having a negative effect as
well on the interpersonal relationship between the coach and athlete, with the
research suggesting this relationship is a critical aspect to successful
performance and interpersonal satisfaction (Butler, 1997). A Sport `s education
model (Siedentop, 1990) was adopted which is underpinned by Social
Determination Theory with regard to the psychological needs which should be met
to provide optimal intrinsic motivation. Following this approach, the
intervention is effectively broken down into six key stages. Firstly, coaches
and 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 over
these goals. Mark acknowledged here that his attendance to training was an
issue and the team decided in order to help improve, the idea of punishment and
negative feedback was no longer applicable for any team member. Affiliations
occurs next, with an emphasis on the ideological identity of an athlete, with
athletes becoming a member of a unique team, the football team in this case.
This displacement of control allows the players together to plan practices for
the team and encourage more control, delegate more responsibility.

This
model is supported by a large body of empirical support, with research within
school contexts revealing that teachers agree this sport education model
generates interest, motivation (Alexander & Luckman, 2001). Through the
implementation of this model, individuals are encouraged to become team members
and through this affiliation and identity, they form social bonds with one
another, practice with one another and encourage autonomy. This model has also
been supported and recommended by professional organisations for example Sport
Medicine, suggesting the importance of providing team members with autonomy.
Mark had noted in discussions an absence of autonomy, with a perception of being
signalled out repeatedly during interviews. This model changed that approach,
with more autonomy and more control, and a new mutual respect between the coach
and client, improvements in Mark`s performance were noted. However the research
has limitations and it’s important to reflect upon these for future practice.
The majority of studies recruit school pupils who engage in compulsory fitness
classes, perhaps the findings are not applicable or generalizable for athletes
who actively choose to engage in their chosen sport.

Overall
this intervention provided a new coaching style, with a new motivational
climate, one which encouraged and supported autonomy. Post-intervention
assessments indicated improvements in Mark`s motivation, specifically intrinsic
motivation and when followed up with interviews he recognised the stronger relationship
between himself and the coach. Due to feeling more supported, accountable and
receiving more positive feedback improved Mark`s attendance at meetings,
training and performance outcomes. Edmunds, Ntoumanis & Duda (2008) also
supports these findings, suggesting within a football team coaches are
encouraged to provide teams with autonomy, to improve motivation, performance
and satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The
second intervention was based on Performance Profiling which according to
Butler & Hardy (1992) an athlete-centred approach to performance assessment
encourages greater intrinsic motivation. Butler & Hardy (1992) suggested
Deci & Ryan`s (1985) cognitive evaluation theory (CET) could be used to
reinforce the three basic psychological needs through social and environment
factors. The theoretical understanding of this model, places an importance of
these needs outlined in SDT. Three important needs should be met for optimal
motivation levels, including Athlete`s perceived autonomy is positively related
to an increase in athlete involvement and repeated profiling sessions
reinforcing 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 weaknesses
which could hinder their performance and motivation. Lastly, Dale &
Weisberg (1996) concluded that the group sessions encourage relatedness through
social interactions and identifying and discussing performance-related issues.

Weston,
Greenless and Thelwell (2011) identified methodological issues in previous
studies which investigated this intervention type, outlining a failure to
examine intrinsic motivation, descriptive findings and a relatively few studies
exploring the intervention. The researchers aimed to further the understanding
empirically of this type of intervention, specifically related to intrinsic
motivation in athletes. Vallerand (2001) proposed the repetition of social
factors within the same context is vital to positively improve contextual
motivation, a singular session will not yield long-term benefits. This study adopted
a 6 week programme for the final condition. Participants were allocated to one
of three conditions, the experimental condition received a sport science
educational intervention, the control condition received no intervention and
the final condition received three repeat profiling sessions. Interestingly,
the findings highlighted an important part of the intervention, a single
session did not significantly improve intrinsic motivation. The researchers
concluded in conjunction with Vallerands (2001) idea that the higher exposure
participants had of these sessions the greater the benefit to an athlete’s
intrinsic motivation.

This
intervention was based on CET and a previous intervention programme by Weston
et al (2011) which showed repeated exposure to performance profiling sessions
could provide long-term intrinsic motivation improvements within a football
team.  At the start of the intervention,
players were instructed to complete the SMS to allow for baseline motivational
measures. In relation to the Performance Profiling condition, the team were
split into 4 distinct categories, goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and
attackers. During the first session, Mark and the team were instructed to
brainstorm the qualities or characteristics of an elite athlete within the
context of football. The team were then asked to identify the qualities which
were most important to them and their performance, and then identify their
ability on a scale. The team were asked to identify three areas for improvement
and to discuss these with their coach to identify plans on how to improve these
areas. Both the second and third sessions focused on monitoring any
improvements, with the team asked to add or remove any qualities in the
original template provided. The team followed the same protocol as the first session,
rating their performance and after this was completed the team were given the
ratings from previous sessions. After they had looked at the differences, they
were asked to provide explanations why there was or wasn’t any changes. The
team acknowledged where they needed to identify, Mark suggested a need for more
communication within the team and a more helpful approach, as players should
come forward if they are facing difficulties and as a team they can work at it
together.

To
conclude, the motivational climate was changed to provide more autonomy,
responsibility and feedback to the players. The players know more than anyone
else what their weaknesses are both as an individual and as a team, and
improvements were seen on both measures post intervention.