NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ901082
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 55
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Goal-Setting in Youth Football. Are Coaches Missing an Opportunity?
Maitland, Alison; Gervis, Misia
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v15 n4 p323-343 Oct 2010
Background: Goal-setting is not always the simple motivational technique when used in an applied sport setting especially in relation to the meaning of achievement in competitive sport. Goal-setting needs to be examined in a broader context than goal-setting theory, such as provided by social cognitive theories of motivation. In football, the culture of the club and the role of the coach must be considered. Purpose: The aim of the study was to (1) use naturalistic inquiry and Roberts' suggested framework of social cognitive theories of motivation to identify and describe the motivational choices that elite youth football players make as they go through the goal-setting process, (2) examine the influence of the coach on this process in the elite football environment, and (3) gain an understanding of the goal-setting process. The paper considers the implications of the study for coaching practice. Participants and setting: Ten elite youth football players (five male, five female) at four British football clubs. Design: The study used naturalistic enquiry to examine the goal-setting practices of the players at their club. The key social-cognitive motivation concepts of personal agency beliefs, personal goals, and evaluative standards and affect were used to frame the instrumentation, including the production of the interview questions. Data collection: Each participant was asked to complete a weekly diary for four weeks to provide insights into the duration and frequency of goal-setting as well as the motivational processing by the players. At the end of the four weeks, a semi-structured interview was conducted with each player. Data analysis: Inductive analysis of the pooled data from the diaries and the transcribed interviews, using grounded theory, was used to identify the themes and categories from the data, using the research questions generated during the conceptual and design phase of the study as an initial framework. Findings: Real life goal-setting in elite youth football is more complex when compared to the goal-setting heuristic. The players' motivational choices as they set and evaluated their discrete goals could be examined in the context of the social cognitive motivational tenets of personal goals, personal agency beliefs and affective response. The coaches played a pivotal role and there was a mismatch between players' needs and coaches' responses throughout this process. Finally the process of goal-setting varied from the heuristic of goal-setting theory. Conclusion: Coaches should engage in a two-way, interactive and ongoing dialogue with players, taking into account the players' and their own motivational needs and the environment within which they operate, in order to improve the effectiveness of goal-setting as a technique, and hence their effectiveness as a coach. (Contains 3 tables and 1 figure.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom