Motivational Differences between: Professional and Non-Professional Rugby Players.
Samuel J Booth
University of Glamorgan
1. Abstract 4
2. Introduction 4-16
2.1. Self-Determination Theory 5-6
2.2. External Pressures in Sport 7-8
2.3. Motivation 8-9
2.4. Dimensions of Motivation 9-10
2.5. Individual Interpretation 10-11
2.6. Individual Motivation 11-13
2.7. Summary of Motivation 13-15
2.8. Aim 15-16
3. Methodology 16-20
3.1. Design 16
3.2. Interview Development 17-18
3.3. Participants 19
3.4. Materials and Procedure 19-20
4. Results 20-31
4.1. Commitment 21-23
4.2. Confidence 23-26
4.3. Selection/ Enjoyment 27-28
5. Discussion 29-32
6. References 33-40
7. Appendix 41-65
7.1. Interview Questions 41-42
7.2. Transcripts 43-64
7.3. Figures 1 and 2 65
7.4. Consent Form – For Participants 66
Abstract There is a lack of evidence in the causality of motivation in athletes, and individual motives for those motivations. More specifically, there is a lack of evidence, to support the motivations in rugby players. This study looks into the motivational differences, between professional and non-professional rugby players. The study was conducted through qualitative analysis, based on, the Sport-Motivation-Scale, and the Exercise-Causality-Orientation-Scale. The results indicated that professional and non-professional rugby players, share similar motivations to participate in rugby. However, there was a difference in the causality of their motivations: professional rugby players, exhibit more extrinsic motivation, through incentives found at professional level.
Introduction Many athletes experience physical and psychological pressures during the course of a season, as a result of; training, rehabilitation, injuries, possible defeat (Gould 1982), and competitive stress and anxiety (Nicholls and Polman, 2007). These, external pressures require great endurance from the athletes, both; physically and mentally, season after season. Constant pressures, which fall upon athletes, may affect their motivation towards their sport. From this, both, coaches and athletes underestimate the importance of motivation within their sport (Gould, 1982).
Through research in professional practice, it is plausible to assume that professional athletes face stressors more often than non-professionals (Taylor and Wilson, 2005). It is possible, that the differences in, professional and non-professional experiences indicate different reasons to participate in sport, “Motivation is a factor in which athletes can control, by becoming aware of their own level of motivation, and learning strategies for influencing it” (Taylor and Wilson, 2005, p., 18). This paper, aims to find differences between professional and non-professional male rugby players, and what may affect their motivation towards their chosen sport, and what may de-motivate them. Providing evidence that indicates the causality of motivation in individuals is important to sport. It would allow coaches/ the player to provide programs that specifically apply to their need to increase motivation, and inevitably, leading to increases in individual performance.
Self-Determination Theory It is important to base further research on valid theories. One such theory is the self-determination theory (SDT). The self-determination theory proposes that, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are different from each other – through regular processes and experience (Gagne and Deci, 2005). It further suggests, behaviour, can be determined either intrinsically or extrinsically. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are both, intentional, traits or states, which, together they stand in contrast to amotivation, which involves a lack of intention and motivation (Gagne and Deci, 2005).
The SDT proposes that extrinsic motivation varies in autonomy (Ryan and Connell, 1989), yet many researchers suggest extrinsically motivated behaviour is non-autonomous (Vallerand, 1997). Through continuation of SDT’s development in sport, it is now generally, referred to as a continuum of states (See Figure 1). For example, athletes who participate in sports, because of career and financial gain, are extrinsically motivated, yet, athletes who participate in a sport, to be with their friends, or, because their parents tell them too are also extrinsically motivated. Both examples involve needs to participate rather than want (enjoyment) of the sport itself. The former case of extrinsic motivation, shows the athlete participates out of choice and personal gain, whereas, the latter involves compliance with an external regulation. Heider, (1958) suggests that both of these situations represent intentional behaviour, although, they vary in their relative autonomy.
According to SDT, athletes have some level of each of the three orientations: autonomous, control and impersonal (Deci and Ryan 2008). It also suggests that an individual may continually slide up and down the continuum depending on situational specific moments. An example of this can be shown through, a non-professional rugby player: If they were too undergo a trial, to become a professional, a change of environment would inhibit the outcome of performance, which in turn, could alter their motivation – where they once were confident in their abilities they become more conscious of external regulators within the new environment. Gagne and Deci (2005) discuss, that needs for competence and autonomy, underlie intrinsic motivation - which people need to feel competent and autonomous to maintain their intrinsic motivation. According to SDT, satisfaction of these two needs are also necessary for internalisation (values and attitudes that turn external regulation to internal regulation) as well as a third basic need; the need for relatedness (Baumeister and Leary, 1995). More specifically, SDT suggests that when athletes experience satisfaction of the needs for relatedness and competence they will tend to internalise its value and regulation (Baumeister and Leary, 1995).
External pressures in sport. External pressures have been known to affect motivation within sport (Mullen and Markland, 1997). It is recognized, that professional athletes have to cope with demanding pressures induced by the media and their competitive environment (Nicholls and Polman, 2007). For example, John Terry recently had to cope with the media interfering with his private life whilst trying to maintain a professional manner, in which he responded with scoring a winning goal in the next game. However, there is little research to suggest that professional athletes are more capable of dealing with external pressures. Nicholls and Polman (2007) looked into stress among the England u-18 rugby team and found that the players reported: mistakes, injury, criticism, and watching other players play well, as the highest levels of perceived stress. This is reflective of Jonny Wilkinson when he misses a kick or tackle. If the stress perceived by the individual players exceeds their coping capabilities, then it is often linked to negative consequences such as decreased performance (Lazarus, 2000), injury (Smith, Ptacek, and Smoll, 1992), decreased satisfaction (Scanlan and Lewthwaite, 1984), and sport withdrawal (Kolt, Kirby, and Linder, 1995). It is reported that adolescent athletes must learn to cope with the stressors they experience to pursue a career in professional sport (Holt and Dunn, 2004).
To pursue a professional career, Schraw and Ericsson (2005), suggest, that elite performers continuously face strenuous activity that drains physical and mental resources. It is the ability of the individuals to recover and sustain high levels of performance for long periods of time without facing exhaustion. Exhaustion causes lower performances, emphasising difficult tasks and detection of errors, which, effect performance (as cited in Van Yperen, 2009). As mentioned earlier, through constant training and experience, professional athletes, may have the ability to recover from external stressors and physical exhaustion, more so than non-professional athletes.
Motivation Motivation is interactions of internal factors (unconscious and conscious psychological processes) and external factors (social, familial, gratification, and recognition), these factors form a variety of drives such as: basic drives, self-image, exploration, and experience, affecting individual behavioural change (as cited in Recours, Souville, and Griffet, 2004). Motivation is important in psychology, as, it is one of the most prominent inhibitors of action across any life form (as cited in Cashmore, 2008, p, 287). Duda (1989) suggested that social environments such as competition, criticism, and self-image, influence behavioural variables such as learning and performance. It is from mainstream psychology, that sport psychology interprets motivation as a critical variable in an athlete, or, team’s performance – influencing the amount of effort expended. It initiates the ability to remain resilient after setbacks, how long someone will persist during long and difficult periods of training, and actual competition (Taylor and Wilson, 2005 p., 18).
The motivational dimensions that will be studied in this paper, and discussed individually here, come from a well known scale called the SMS (sport motivation scale). The SMS indicates, there are three dimensions of motivation in sport; intrinsic motivation: to know, to accomplish things and to experience stimulation, extrinsic motivation: external regulation, introjections and identification, finally amotivation (Pelletier et al, 1995). The SMS was conceptualised by McNeil and Wang (2005) from the original concept by Briere, Vallerand, Blais and Pelletier (1995) known as the EMS (Echelle de Motivation dans le Sport).
Dimensions of Motivation Intrinsic motivations are guided by innate tendencies to explore the self and the environment, as well as, values and personal commitment (Williams, 2005). Harter (1978) suggests that “to learn from personal attribution is perhaps the single most important phenomenon that reflects the positive potential of human nature” (p 35). Harter (1978) also suggests, from birth, children in their healthiest states are active, inquisitive, curious, and playful, with the absence of specific rewards. The process of intrinsic motivation is a natural inclination toward assimilation, mastery, spontaneous interest and exploration that is essential for cognitive and social development (Csikszentmihalyi and Rathunde, 1993).
In comparison to intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation refers to, the performance of an activity in order to attain some separable outcome. This dimension of motivation contrasts with intrinsic motivation, which, refers to participating in an activity for inherent satisfaction (Ryan and Deci, 2000) such as the desire to win the World Cup. As children develop and grow older, external pressures, become factors that influences choice. External pressures affect the freedom to be intrinsically motivated, due to social pressures that incorporate activities that have little value/ or curiosity to a person (Ryan and La Guardia, (1999). As extrinsic motivation, becomes more prevalent in later years; peers, parents, coaches and teachers become greater influences, concerning non-intrinsically motivated practices.
Amotivation is similar to the concept of learned helplessness (Abramson, Seligman, and Teasdale, 1978), where, if there is no link between action and outcome there is no motivation. People experience feelings that lack of intention and motivation, they are neither intrinsically motivated nor extrinsically motivated (Deci and Ryan, 2008). When athletes are in such a state, they no longer identify any good reasons for why they should continue to train and eventually they may even decide to stop participating in their sport (Pelletier et al, 1995). It is important for the development of research that all three of these factors are taken into account as motivation is formed through self regulated behaviours as well as external regulators (Taylor and Wilson 2005), the importance of this research is to see which type of motivation and occurs in professional rugby players compared to non-professional rugby players; and why they are mentally orientated towards that motivation.
Individual interpretation According to the Self Determination Theory, external influences are determined by individual interpretation and the behavioural outcome, which, is mainly reliant on cultural up bringing (Ryan and Deci, 2000). Eccles and Wigfield (2002) expectancy value model uses “value”, which, is similar to Harter’s (1978) intrinsic motivation. The value is determined by, how well, a task relates to current and future goals, such as, career goals. For example, a young athlete may take up a sport to be with their friends or their parents want them to, even if they don’t enjoy it. Their behaviour towards the situation may appear to be extrinsically motivated however; the athlete may naturally be talented in that sport and continue learning it. This would generate a long-term goal within that sport, which, indicates the task has value (intrinsic) to her. But, in order to achieve the outcome goal, consequences, come into effect, such as their friends may quit or parents no longer have an interest in that sport. Based on this example, the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations is not directly controversial to each other, yet, the general definition is that the former derives from feelings of satisfaction and fulfilment, and the latter from factors that involve reward or punishment from outside forces (as cited in Cashmore, 2008. P. 290).
Deci and Ryan (1985) looked into the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic behaviours, and studied children who were given puzzle-solving tasks. The results of this study showed, that children who received a reward, spent less time working on puzzles, than those who did not receive a reward. This indicates that being compensated for an intrinsically interesting activity decreases intrinsic motivation. This has obvious relevance for professional athletes, all of whom, will have been originally motivated through intrinsic factors but may become extrinsic once they begin to earn money from sports (as cited in, Cashmore, 2008, p, 290).
Individual motivation Motivation, for its large part, is determined by the individual. Each individual will interpret different situations to others, resulting in different behavioural outcomes. Launder (2001), suggests, feelings of enjoyment associated with confidence of individual ability, serve as a significant source of internal motivation for both purposeful participation and long term commitment and involvement in sport. Whereas, Bernabou and Tirole (2003) suggest, it is common for incentives to promote effort and performance. From research, it is possible to understand why some people are more motivated under intrinsic motives and some are more motivated by extrinsic motives.
Bandura (1991) suggested, within the social cognitive theory; higher competitive levels are recorded with less intrinsic motivation and more extrinsic and amotivation. This indicates that external motives play an important role for competitive environments, which in turn, becomes a vital part of professionalism. As mentioned earlier, professionalism is based upon a competitive environment, where, achievement is constantly rewarded; therefore, behaviour is directed by goals to achieve the reward (Deci and Ryan 2008).
It is imperative to understand, that motivation is not just guided by a single motive, be it internal or external, but, there are different regulators that hinder the motivational state of an athlete (Williams, 2005). In relation to this, Bandura (1991) suggests, the social cognitive theory consists of three areas that result in self-regulative behaviour outcomes. Self monitoring, self regulation and self observation, are, all ways that can affect the state of motivation, through, various mood states (Stajkovic and Luthans 1998) and performance in exercise (as cited in Booth et al, 2000).
An athlete managing self observation/ monitoring, should, be able to track and assess the outcome of their actions, to reach a desired goal. If the athlete manages to do this regularly, they can assess the effectiveness of their actions, and initiate adjustments in behaviour, to respond to, the changing demands of the environment (Osman, 2010). However, it is not always as easy to respond to change, in the correct manner. When an athlete attends to an accomplishment, it can be regulated as an encouragement, and motivate them to achieve more. Contrastingly, if failure occurs it may discourage the athlete, and undermine their sense of efficacy - decreasing motivation. Therefore, the chosen approach adopted by the individual, through self monitoring, will partially depend on, success, or, failure (Gottman and McFall, 1972), as well as, their individual feelings (Mendolia, 2002).
A positive outcome of focusing on failure can be encouraging to an athlete’s development, as it identifies the negatives of a performance. Through, the negatives, the individual may become more motivated towards working and improving their skills/ abilities to avoid future failure. West et al (1997) supports this theory, through the clinical management of heart failure, where, patients who had heart failures, benefited from the knowledge they learnt, changing their behaviours to avoid the situation occurring again (as cited in Bandura, 2005). This can be applied to sport. For example, a rugby player may continually miss-tackle in game situations, through this experience; they can use the negative emotions, to strive towards increasing their positive motivation this can be achieved, through increasing the intensity of their training, effort, and focus on tackling. This adds to the importance for research, in sport psychology, to isolate individual motivational characteristics, and adapt an intervention to an athlete’s specific nature, within their environment.
Summary of motivation Intrinsic motivation and each type of extrinsic motivation are reflected in different reasons for behaving, and these reasons provide a means, for assessing the types of motivation (Ryan and Connell, 1989). Due to the extent of research, suggesting, extrinsic incentives undermine intrinsic rewards; Kingston et al (2006) proposed an investigation to examine whether levels of, multidimensional intrinsic, multidimensional extrinsic, and amotivation would affect scholarship status amongst college athletes in the America. Participants, for the study, were split into either a scholarship, or, a non-scholarship group. They found, extrinsic motivation was the strongest influence on motivations towards scholarships, which, supports Bandura’s (1991) social cognitive theory. The results, indicating, that intrinsic motivations are undermined by extrinsic motivations, suggest that, professional athletes are extrinsically motivated towards achieving their goal (maintaining the scholarship). These results can be transferred to other professional sports, indicating further reasons to find evidence to support motivational differences.
Research into the affects of feedback, from, teachers (Ryan and Grolnick, 1986), coach’s (Pelletier et al, 1988), and parents (Grolnick, Ryan, and Deci, 1991) have shown that feedback, which, reflects competence and understanding of an activity, form self-determined motivation. Pelletier et al (1995) found similar evidence, suggesting, intrinsic motivational behaviours increased, when athletes were provided with a choice of tasks (choosing one they wanted) relating to an activity. Pelletier et al (1995) also found that, impersonal behaviours, such as, “coach’s who do not care for athlete’s choice”, have been shown to undermine intrinsic motivation, fostering the approach of amotivation.
From a wide variety of research (see, Pelletier et al 1995, Ryan and Grolnick, 1986, Grolnick, Ryan and Deci, 1991, Booth et al, 2005), suggesting the differences and effects of motivation in sportsmen/ women, there is no research, suggesting, there is a motivational difference between professional and non-professional athletes. Thus, it is important to determine the motivational differences in professional and non-professional athletes. As well as, understanding the motivational differences, it is also important to understand, individual causes of those motivations, to apply an appropriate intervention. This paper will look into the motivational differences and the causes of individual motivations in both professional and non-professional rugby players. The aim is to find evidence to support; that extrinsic incentives undermine intrinsic rewards, more specifically; professional rugby players should show more extrinsic incentives towards their participation in rugby than non-professional rugby players.
Aim Based on the above review, and research aims stated at the beginning of the paper, two research questions have been proposed:
RQ1: To explore the motivational differences between professional and non-professional rugby players?
RQ2: What are the causalities of individual motivations in both professional and non-professional rugby players?
In order to pursue these questions, RQ1 would be found, using the sport-motivation-scale (SMS), indicating, if, individuals are intrinsic, extrinsic or amotivated. RQ2, would be answered, using, the exercise-causality-orientations-scale (Rose, Markland, and Parfitt 2001). The interviews would be conducted by the researcher and completed by, current rugby players, at both professional and non-professional levels. Within sports, a difference between professional and non-professional athletes, can be concluded (although, not directly), as research suggests professionals have similar experiences in the causality of motivations, which contrast to non-professional individuals (Van Yperen, 2009).
The qualitative method of collecting data, should, provide a high level of validity for the questionnaire itself, especially, in relation to, providing sufficient evidence to support the two research questions. This would be done through an interview consisting of questions from two (SMS, ECOS) statistically valid questionnaires.
Methodology Design A qualitative multi-structured interview (see appendix) was used. Questions, were generated, to address both research questions; inviting the participants, to explain each answer in as much detail as possible. Data analysis for the transcriptions will be done so through thematic analysis, in IPA format. As mentioned in Braun and Clark (2006), IPA, consists of understanding people’s everyday experience of reality, in great detail, in order to gain an understanding of the phenomenon in question (McLeod, 2001). – having previously participated in rugby at national club level, and offered incentives to continue my career, I will apply the IPA format to my thematic analysis, as I feel I have an understanding of motivation within rugby.
Thematic analysis was conducted through a line-by-line analysis of the interview transcriptions. It identified recurring themes that continued to emerge as units of meaning. Themes were grouped according to their level of significance to the interviews. Super-ordinate themes, describe the major concepts arising from the interviews content, whilst, sub-ordinate themes present a more detailed view of the content within each super-ordinate theme. These themes were collated into a diagrammatical representation, to illustrate the interviews.
Interview Development As mentioned earlier, the self-determination-theory is a valid model to conduct the study on. Markland et al (2005) continue to develop and conceptualise models surrounding SDT. They have constantly aimed to support the SDT, in relation, to motivation interviewing; arguing that “it offers the possibility of providing a useful theoretical framework for understanding motivational differences at different times” (p., 815). Furthermore, they believe that, motivational interviewing (from a SDT perspective) will help reach an understanding of the motivations.
Previous research by Deci and Ryan (1985), on the SDT model, concluded that; “although individuals may have a general tendency to be autonomous, controlled, or, impersonally oriented across most life domains, the strength of their orientations could also differ in different life contexts.” This can be applied to sport, through individual experiences, and can be affected by many variables, such as, cultural upbringing, economic status, and friends (see Fogel et al, 2006). In relation to this theory, Markland et al (2005), found evidence to support the SDT in motivational interviewing, through the exercise-causality-orientation-scale (ECOS). The ECOS is a modified interpretation of Deci and Ryan’s earlier scale, known as, the general-causality-orientations-scale (GCOS). This scale was designed to measure general motivation orientations throughout various experiences. Which, for this paper would help answer, what the individual motivations are? In order to find the answer to the second question, the SMS (Sport Motivation Scale) is designed to measure different aspects of the self determination, using the model of the continuum.
Figure. 1: Continuum of Self-determination (Deci and Ryan, 2002, p. 16)
In regards to, why athletes are motivated to participate in sport? Deci and Ryan (1985) describe the EMS as the underlying "why" of behaviour and focuses on, the various reasons for engaging in the sport. Hence, athletes are asked "Why do you practice your sport?" where the answers should represent, possible, different types of motivation. To be more specific, on the validity of causality of motivation, various researchers have incorporated new models for measurement, Such as, the SMS.