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Theories Of Motivation In High Risk Sports Psychology Essay

Theories Of Motivation In High Risk Sports Psychology Essay


This Chapter will attempt to give the reader a greater understanding of the windsurfing and the definitions and theories of motivation. It will use previous research that has been carried out to examine further some of these theories and observe consistencies and in-consistencies in the area of motivation in sports, outdoor sports and “high risk” sports. It will then use this information to

Purpose of Research


Clarification of Terminology

Historical Background of Windsurfing

In the late 1940’s, Newman Darby discovered how to sail a three metre sailboat without using a rudder by leaning the sail towards the fore and aft of the boat. It was not until 1964 that he designed the first universal joint, “a component that connects the sail to the board that allows it to move in any direction” (

It was not until 1968 that Californian surfer Hoyle Schweitzer and Sailor Jim Drake got together and using Darby’s ideas created the first windsurfer. They patented their design and in the 1970’s began to produce it widely. It was Darby’s concept of the Universal Joint that was at the core of their design that allowed the windsurfer to be steered without a rudder.

Initially the windsurfer consisted of only one board which beginners learnt on and experts prevailed on. Everyone used the same kit regardless of the conditions or skill. ( The board was made from polyethylene, was 12 feet (3.5m) long and weighed 60 pounds (27kg)

By the late 1970’s windsurfing had taken a firm hold of America and Europe with one in every three households in Europe possessing a windsurfer. (, The Windsurfing Movie, 200?) The first world championships for windsurfing was held in 1973 and windsurfing became an Olympic sport for men in 1984 and in 1992 for women.

Patent Abstract:

“Wind-propelled apparatus in which a mast is universally mounted on a craft and supports a boom and sail. Specifically a pair of curved booms are accurately connected athwart the mast and secure the sail there between, the position of the mast and sail being controllable by the user but being substantially free from pivotal restraint in the absence of such control.”

Development of Windsurfing

This section will look at how windsurfing has developed both in relation to the equipment designs and the attitudes towards it. It will also look at where windsurfing is today and attempt to predict the direction it may be heading towards.

Definitions of Motivation

For the purpose of this research it is important to understand what is meant by the term motivation. This section provides several definitions for motivation along with further information to bear in mind about the term “motivation”

The term “Motivation” is derived from the Latin word movere meaning “to move” (Onions 1996) cited in (Moran, 2004).

The concept of motivation can be defined as “The hypothetical construct used to describe the internal and/or external forces that produce the initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of behaviour” (Vallerand & Losier 1999) cited in (Vallerand & Rousseau, 2001)

Motivation can also be defined as “being concerned with those factors which initiate or energise behavior” (Moran, 2004, p. 38).

Sage (1977) cited in (Festeu, 2002) states that motivation is the energizing element of personality which is reflected in individuals direction and intensity of effort.

Within the field of sports psychology motivational issues are implicated when “a person undertakes a task at which he or she is evaluated or enters into competition with others, or attempts to attain some standard of excellence” (Roberts, 2001, p.6) cited in (Moran, 2004, p. 38).

Various theories of motivation will be looked at in greater detail within the next chapter “Theories of Motivation”.

According to Roberts (2001) cited in (Moran, 2004), “motivation is one of the most misunderstood constructs in sports psychology”. Roberts (2001) states there are three reasons for this. Firstly motivation is often confused with arousal. Roberts (2001) states arousal needs to be channeled in a specific direction for motivation to occur. Secondly Roberts (2001) states that motivation cannot be enhanced through positive thinking as commonly believed. Research on goal setting shows peoples objectives have to be controllable and realistic to be effective. Finally some coaches believe that motivation is inherited genetically something which is also contradicted by research which shows motivation can be changed through appropriate instruction. Roberts (2001) cited in (Moran, 2004, p. 39). Arousal

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Theories of Motivation


This section will look at the various theories of motivation that have been developed over the years. These theories are not all directly relevant to the subject of this research but are necessary to allow a greater understanding of the area and theories, both past and current, of motivation. It will also look at the different types of motivation and the different factors that affect them. It will draw on information from various studies using these theories to attempt to develop a further understanding of these theories and how they are relevant to the areas of said studies.

Instinct Theory

Most current sports psychology can be traced back to William James (Model, 2005). James (1890) published an article called “What is instinct”. James suggested that interest plays an essential role towards attention and consequent behaviour. This theory bears many similarities to the Self Determination Theory proposed by Deci & Ryan (1985). The Self Determination Theory will be further discussed later in this section.

Sigmund Freud (1915) provided one of the earliest theories of motivation reviving James’ theories. Freud (1915) cited in (Model, 2005) suggested that individuals are passive beings and are moved by instincts, the main two being sex and aggression. Together these formed Freud’s (1923) Instinct Theory (Model, 2005), (Vallerand & Rousseau, 2001).

A major criticism of Freud’s theory is that instincts can be hard to identify. Freud’s theory also fails to take into account the effect the environment may have on motivation. (Silva III & Stevens, 2001).

Need Achievement Theory

The Need Achievement Theory considers both personality and situational factors as important predictors of behaviour. (Atkimson, 1974) cited in (Festeu, 2002). Personality refers to an individual’s drive towards success and avoidance of failure.

Murry 1938 Atkimson 1974 – festeu(3)

Drive Theory

Drive Theory is an expansion of Freud’s Instinct Theory put forward by Clark Hull (1948). Freud’s Instinct Theory was originally named the drive theory but was later re-named. (Model, 2005).

Hull concluded that motivational behaviours derive from one of four drives: sex, hunger, thirst and pain avoidance. “A drive occurs and provides energy for action” Hull (1938) cited in (Model, 2005). Hull’s theory creates a link between instincts or drives and behaviour. According to Hull’s theory, as these drives occur, such as hunger, we become motivated to reduce these drives to zero in this case by eating. This is the first theory that implies extrinsic motivation. (Model, 2005).

Flaws observed within Hull’s Drive theory came to light as better understandings of arousal and its effects on people came to light. Arousal will be discussed further in the next chapter “Factors That Affect Motivation in Sport”. Hull’s Drive Theory also did not take into account of the differing levels of motivation between different tasks and individuals. (Silva III & Stevens, 2001)

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Self Determination Theory

The Self Determination Theory is a model of human motivation that stems from the innate needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness within the environment. It provides an over-riding framework for intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. (Baldwin & Caldwell, 2003) The Self Determination theory proposes that these psychological needs and the social environment will determine one of many motivations. Each motivation can have varied effects on our thoughts, behaviours and feelings. These motivations fall along a continuum and are all connected to each other” (Deci & Ryan, 1985) cited in (Model, 2005)

Self Determination Theory (cooke, Fielding).pngCited in (Cooke & Fielding, 2010)

As the scale above displays, motivation can be divided into six different forms from intrinsic motivation at one end of a scale to extrinsic motivation at the other end (Deci & Ryan 1985) cited in (Baldwin & Caldwell, 2003).

Amotivation refers to no motivation at all. (Baldwin & Caldwell, 2003) describe it as a way of describing behavior which is neither regulated or intentional.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation refers to “engaging in an activity as a means to an end and not for its own sake” (Vallerand & Fortier, 1998) cited in (Moran, 2004, p. 40). It can be separated into non-internalised and internalised, as displayed in the diagram above. Internalised forms of extrinsic motivation carry some intrinsic factors contributing towards behavior but the primary reasons are still external.

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External Regulation

External regulation is the most extreme form of extrinsic motivation. (Baldwin & Caldwell, 2003). This refers to the doing of an activity solely to satisfy external demands such as for a reward or to avoid punishment.

Introjected Regulation

Introjected regulation is based on self controlled, ego orientated behavior that is usually driven by what others may think. Introjected motivation is not autonomous but rather externally focused behavior usually carried out to avoid guilt of anxiety or to maintain status or feelings of self worth. (Baldwin & Caldwell, 2003).

Identified Regulation

Identified regulation has elements of intrinsic motivation but behavior is undertaken for primarily external reasons. (Baldwin & Caldwell, 2003). An example of this is cross-training in sports. Windsurfers may partake in other exercises such as running or cycling not for the enjoyment but to maintain or increase fitness for windsurfing. They may enjoy the running or cycling but this is not their primary reason for participation.

Integrated Regulation

Integrated regulation is the most autonomous form of extrinsic motivation. A person carries out this behavior because it represents what they stand for. This can be demonstrated amongst volunteers for non-profit organisations. They carry out behavior for external rewards often with little compensation or direct benefit to themselves.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation refers to peoples reasons for undertaking an activity “for itself and the pleasure and satisfaction derived from participation” (ibid., p.390) cited in (Moran, 2004, p. 39). This can also be described as the pursuit of an activity that one finds interesting and is engaged in for the inherent satisfaction derived from participation. (Baldwin & Caldwell, 2003).

Factors that Affect Motivation and Participation in Sports

This section will observe the varying factors that encourage or discourage participation in sport or physical activity as a whole. It will draw on information gathered from the previous chapter and relate them directly to sport using research already carried out in the area of motivation in sports

(5 buzz junkies) (8 understanding participation in sports)

(The Art of Healthy Risk Taking)

Motivation in Outdoor Activities

This section will attempt to further explore the area of motivation towards the area of outdoor activity. It will explore motivational factors in various areas and various sports that draw from the natural environment to provide a medium to undertake the specific activities. It will also draw on research already carried out in this area to attempt to develop a greater understanding of any consistencies or in-consistencies in this area.


(5 buzz junkies) (The Art of Healthy Risk Taking)(festeu 4)

Risk Taking

Nature and risk in adventure sports – Philosophy, risk &adventure sports

Is Windsurfing an “Extreme Sport”?

Windsurfing is commonly regarded as an “Extreme sport” however this term may be misleading. This label was attached to various alternative sports by the media originally in North America in an effort to attract the more lucrative teenage audience. (Dant & Wheaton, 2007). The term “High Risk” is now commonly used by researchers in the field of these sports in place of the term “extreme”. It can be observed that the majority of windsurfing practised by most windsurfers cannot be described as “high risk” due to the fairly low risk of injury. (Dant & Wheaton, 2007). It is important to remember that the more hazardous conditions attempted by many windsurfers by entering the seas in winds upwards of gale force and large swells still constitutes a high risk environment to enter. With this in mind, windsurfing can only really be described as a high risk sport when undertaken in such adverse conditions that if gear failure or rider error were to occur, self rescue would be close to an impossibility.

This section will examine risk taking both real and perceived in the area of motivation and attempt to create an understanding of how this may alter individual’s attitudes towards general activities and then specifically high risk sports.

(The Art of Healthy Risk Taking) (To the Extremes – out of the gene pool)

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What is even stranger is that some people go beyond being

observers and take real risks, and expose themselves to real harm of


one kind or another, and that they do so completely voluntarily.

Why do people, of their own free will, participate in such activities

as sky diving, mountaineering, bungee-jumping, white-water rafting,

big wave surfing, pot-holing, base jumping, cave diving, and


In this respect, it is interesting that new forms of voluntary risk

are continually emerging or being invented in different parts of the

world, and this seems to have been particularly true in the last

decade or so. (Danger quest for excitement)


This section will examine how the natural environment can affect attitudes and motivation towards participation in activities.

(To the Extremes – out of the gene pool) (6 Environmental Factors)

Gender Differences in Motivation

(5 buzz junkies) (13 where have all the windsurfers gone)

Windsurfing as a subculture rather than a sport

Windsurfing is part of a group of activities born during the counter-culture movements of the 1960’s Midol (1993) cited in (Wilkinson, 2010), (Dant & Wheaton, 2007). Other activities in this catagory include skateboarding, snowboarding and the resurgence of surfing.

As Belinda Wheaton (2003)

Does Windsurfing require a different motivational pattern to other sports?

Sport commitment of windsurfers

Sports Motivation Scale

Free Time Motivational Scale

Sport Commitment Model

Sport commitment of windsurfers (2)

Research Questions

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