The relationship between levels of intrinsic motivation and perception of parental pressure in junior tennis teams.

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Introduction

The relationship between levels of intrinsic motivation and perception of parental pressure in junior tennis teams. Abstract The purpose of this study was to test whether parental pressure affects the level of intrinsic motivation in junior tennis players. Junior tennis players (N=20; 10 male, 10 female) with a mean age of 12.2 years (standard deviation = 0.6 years). Subjects were presented with two short questionnaires one designed to measure the levels of intrinsic motivation and one designed to measure their perceived level of intrinsic motivation. A dependent Pearson product moment correlation coefficient test's results revealed that there was a significance level of 0.01. The results suggested that the higher the level of parental pressure the child felt the lower their level of intrinsic motivation would be. Implications include the need to warn parents that pressurising their children can make sport less enjoyable for them. Introduction Relationship between levels of intrinsic motivation and perception of parental pressure. On experiencing competition between individuals and noticing differences in their attitudes towards competition. Individuals tend to search for causes of this difference. One approach to examining the "attitudes" individuals have towards competition and their motivation for competing is White's (1959, Cited in Orbach, Singer & Price, 1999) effectance motivation theory. White suggested that 'effectance motivation' was based around the desire to feel competent; this impels individuals towards competetency.

Middle

with a mean age of 12.2 years (standard deviation = 0.6 years). The participants had been competing at this level of competition for an average of 3.4 years (standard deviation = 0.3 years). It is possible that by using sports students it is possible the results could bear resemblance to a larger sample of elite athletes. Materials The materials for this study consisted of the twenty questionnaire sheets that the participants were asked to complete in order to work out their levels of parental pressure and their levels of intrinsic motivation. To measure intrinsic motivation for tennis they completed 12 items of the Sport Motivation Scale (Pelletier et al., 1995) that are specifically designed to assess intrinsic motivation. Children were presented with the stem "Why do you take part in tennis?" and responded to each of the 12 items on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all true) through 7 (extremely true). Children were given an average intrinsic motivation score by adding their responses to the twelve items and dividing this total by 12. To measure perceptions of parental pressure children completed five items from White et al.'s (1992) Parent Initiated Motivational Climate Questionnaire that were deemed to assess parental pressure. Specifically, children responded to the five items on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all true)

Conclusion

These findings suggest that there is a need to facilitate intrinsic motivation in sport by making training and targets personal to individuals that are more task involved than ego involved, (e.g. Nicholls, 1984), rather than judging everybody by the same standard. One way to do this and help reduce parental pressure is: within organised sports groups for youngsters have regular meetings with the parents warning them of the implications of pressurising their children, and perhaps the results of studies like this one. The results of this study, however, must be viewed with caution. Although the results revealed a significant correlation, and the implications are potentially meaningful, the data was generated only through the use of one small questionnaire with only 24 questions all together including both sections. Future research needs to be conducted to examine whether this principal holds true when the results are gathered in other methods too. For example interview with the parents and athletes, as well as observing parents when watching their children compete. Furthermore, Nicholls' (1984, cited in Orbach et al., 1999) achievement goal theory requires further investigation and research to examine how positive reinforcement and feedback can effect how a child perceives their ability in sport. Examining ways to give young children positive feedback from sport would certainly enhance sport psychologists' ability to facilitate successful performances.

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