ATHLETE x SCIENCE
ATHLETE x SCIENCE
Athletes’ motivation is believed to play a fundamental role in both performance and perceived ability. Motivation comes from both internal external sources, so both nature and nurture contribute to the whole drive of the athlete. In many ways, the coach plays a pivotal “nurturing” role, responding to the emotional and physical needs of the athlete. The surrounding climate dictated by the coach, whether it be criticizing or motivational, will nevertheless affect the psychosocial well-being of the athlete. Research delineates two types of climate atmospheres: task-oriented and ego-oriented (Reinboth & Duda, 2004). Task-oriented climates encourage the mastery of the task at hand, skill development, and knowledge acquisition, while ego-oriented climates focus on the individual’s performance and effort in relation to other competitors (Reinboth & Duda, 2004).
Stress is an important consideration in an athlete’s overall well-being, may be thought of as inversely related to self-esteem. Coaches and associated coaching pressures are often perceived as a source of distress to athletes who embody the egocentric mindset and performance climate, but the same is not true for those aimed at task mastering (Pensgaard & Roberts, 2000). The ego-involving climate can endanger the athlete’s self-esteem with constant social comparison and questioning of adequacy (Reinboth & Duda, 2004). In the task-focused climate, self-esteem can be built up gradually with individual development/improvement measured only in comparison to the self on the basis of work ethic; emphasis on the process rather than the immediate outcome contributes positively to self-esteem (Reinboth & Duda, 2004).
One study by Ruiz-Tendero and Martin (2012) found that dedication was regarded equally by coaches and athletes as the number one most influential factor of motivated success. In the same survey, coaches and athletes alike voted injuries as the number one negative-impact factor on performance (Ruiz-Tendero & Martin, 2012). There is an ego-driven belief that pain endurance and winning are the strongest measures of an athlete’s reputation and success; coaches should strongly urge athletes to be smart about their competitive mindset and the damage consequence of training ignorance. Mental toughness is better measured with humble honesty rather than stubborn pride when sustained injuries challenge the athlete’s mental fortitude.
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