What is motivation?

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Motivation and Peer Relations in Athletics

Motivation is the driving force that helps people to attain their goals and objectives or complete tasks. It is the reasoning for people exerting effort in order to participate in specific activities. People, for example, labour in order to be compensated in cash or in kind. People would not be motivated to work for their employers if they were not compensated. Furthermore, motivation can be defined as a form of moral support instilled in an individual by others, most likely those close to them. For instance, it is hard to walk a long distance alone, but when in the company of other people, one gets the motivation from them, and it becomes easier to trek. This research paper focuses on the manner in which peer relations affect the motivational climate of the athletes.

Peer Relationships and the Quality of Corporeal Activity Practices

Peer relationships can potentially add to the quality of corporeal activity practices. The bodily purview is a perfect setting for nurturing an extensive comprehension of these associations. Issues like the advancement of societal competence, quality of friendship, and peer acceptance have attracted the attention of researchers in the context of youth sport (Jõesaar, Hein & Hagger, 2012). It has been found that the young athletes' both perceived and actual competence in sport correlates with success in peer associations and the supposed acceptance by the peer group. Athletes who have the notion that they are considered as being proficient by their friends are more likely to perform better on the pitch as compared to those who are looked down (Jõesaar, Hein & Hagger, 2012). In this sense, competence in athletics is directly related to a higher status among the peers. It is the case because higher ranking comes with added self-esteem and confidence which is vital for high performance on the part of the athletes.

Friendship Notions and Task Choice among Young Athletes

Great friendship notions are likely to predict the choice of tasks and physical activities among the youthful athletes. In this respect, when a person hangs around certain people, it is likely that he or she adopts similar characters and lives a life similar to that of the associates. Hence, a young person who makes friends with others who are interested in athletics, it is likely that such an individual also gives the activities a try (Ntoumanis, Taylor & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, 2012). Through such an avenue, it is possible that a potential athlete discovers himself and could get established in the end. In the same respect, if an athlete associates with peers who are not interested in athletics, such as alcoholic people, it is likely that he will be demotivated from training and change lifestyle to suit that of the friends (Ntoumanis, Taylor & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, 2012). It is important that peers be people who are like-minded if motivation is to be achieved in the field of athletics. The reason behind this is because athletics require a lot of commitment, having in mind that they are physically engaging and hence they consume an individual's energy a lot.

Achievement Goal Theory and Motivation among Young Athletes

Among the major theoretical frameworks which are used in studying motivation and behavior among the young athletes is the achievement goal theory. It is a social-cognitive framework which states that; the primary motivation in accomplishment is the illustration of capability and avoiding to show incompetence especially among the peers (DeFreese & Smith, 2013). People can assess their ability in various means which are manifested in the espousal of two-goal realization alignments. The initial goal positioning becomes clear when the sensitivities of aptitude are self-referenced and based on putting optimum effort and personal improvement. The second goal orientation is about personal ego, and it becomes evident at such a time when competence is normally inferred and referenced through demonstration a superior ability and outdoing other people (DeFreese & Smith, 2013). A high task placement as compared to ego is correlated to more positive results in the aspect of youth in the field of athletics.

Situational Factors and Motivational Climate in Athletics

Other than the achievement of goals and their orientation, some variables influence personal motivation on the part of the athletes. Situational factors like the motivational climate which is created by the people around can play an imperative part in activating the young athletes' achievement behavior. The motivational environment refers to the notions of situational motivation expectations and cues which encourage certain goal orientations and induce a particular goal engrossment state (DeFreese & Smith, 2013). Disparities in the achievement comportment are explainable through the interplay of the people's accomplishment goals and the motivational surroundings which is brought about by the people around. In this respect, peers have a direct input into the athletes' motivation towards their physical activities with regard to athletics. Peers can either encourage or discourage goal orientations, and hence the athletes are likely to be affected by these inputs in their lives.

Peer Influence on Motivation and Development of Athletes

Peers become highly influential more at the earlier ages and at this time, they are likely to impact on each other's motivation in various aspects of life. In the peer to peer context, motivational climates can easily dominate dispositional objectives, more so when the latter is not established firmly (DeFreese & Smith, 2013). For example, this could happen in the late infancy and early adulthood when the athletic career of an individual is about to start. Peer groups usually exert massive influence in the field of youth sport and grow increasingly more imperative as the children mature over time (DeFreese & Smith, 2013). For instance, when judging physical competence, children athletes show a preference for the feedback of adults. When they are in their late childhoods, the main source of feedback is peer comparison. This means that the peers have a major role in the development of the athlete or in deconstructing the would-be athlete in the individual.

Self-Determination Theory and Peer Interactions

The self-determination theory also gives valuable insights into the manner in which peer interactions affect the young athletes' motivation. The theory submits that the three basic human needs are competence, autonomy, and a sense of belonging. When these needs are satisfied, there is the promotion of the self-determined well-being and behavior (Price & Weiss, 2013). The need for independence is a personal desire to create and maintain one's behavior. The need for competence refers to the people's effort to feel successful and achieve the desired results. The need for a sense of belonging is the person's efforts to get accepted by other people and feel attached to them in a communal context (Price & Weiss, 2013). A task-engaging environment is likely to satisfy the three needs because it offers a choice of tasks and provides for the sportsperson contribution in decision-making and hence nurturing the requirement of personal independence.

Autonomy-Supportive and Ego-Involving Climate in Athletics

On the contrary, in an egocentric environment, the athletes' choice is highly constrained or non-existent altogether. An task-involving climate is related to higher notions of success and physical competence. It is the case because it inspires people to make use of the self-referenced norms to judge their fitness (Price & Weiss, 2013). Such criteria are highly controllable, and hence they tend to be more easily achieved as compared to the normative standards as fortified by an ego-involving environment. Regarding the need to have a sense of belonging, it is rational to assume that the continual inter-personal comparison advanced the ego-involving climate is likely to weaken the social connection among the peer athletes. On the other hand, a task-involving setting tones down on normative appraisals and instead endorses co-operation amongst the peer athletes, and hence it promoted the sense of belonging. Autonomy, competence, and relatedness are surely projected by an alleged task-involving trainer environment; the superficial egocentric coach context is negatively connected to the gratification of the needs (Price & Weiss, 2013).

The Role of Social Agents in Motivation

The self-determination theory outlines the manner in which social agents are capable of supporting or undermining a person's motivational processes. Different research studies have shown that a non-coercive and supportive environment fosters a self-determined system of motivation. The autonomy-supportive way of doing things by the supervisors is likely to foster motivation highly on the side of the athletes. Autonomy support looks into the degree to which both the instructors and peers support an individual athlete's freedom, encourage independence, and involve them actively in the decision-making processes (Atkins, Johnson, Force & Petrie, 2015). If supervisors are authoritarian, punishing, and directive, the athletes are likely to feel demotivated and could potentially result in a suppressed physical competence and performance on the latter. When there is such a situation among the athletes in a group, they are likely to exert peer pressure on each other and end up deteriorating in their performance and competence in the long run (Atkins, Johnson, Force & Petrie, 2015). Their motivation will have diminished, and hence they will lack the drive of training and keeping fit in order to advance on their athletic career.

The Role of Instructors in Creating an Autonomy-Supportive Climate

In the creation of an autonomy-supportive climate in athletics, the instructors play a major role in fostering a healthy peer to peer interpersonal relationships. College athletes for instance who see their instructors reflecting a headship style highlighting training and control are likely to report high levels of independent enthusiasm in the long run. The intrinsically motivated discourse of athletes perceives the supervisors to be autonomy-supportive as compared to the controlling ones (Chan, Lonsdale & Fung, 2012). The perception that athletes have towards instructors is likely to be the same because of the influence that exists between peers. In this sense, coaches should be in a position to create a positive image because the group of athletes will have a common reception and the feedback could be same as well.


Motivation is the drive that people have in doing or refraining from something. It is affected by different factors ranging from societal to individual levels. In this study, it is evident that the motivational climate of athletes is greatly affected by the peer pressure forces. If an athlete feels respected and looked up to by fellow peers, it is likely that they will have a successful career that will surpass the rest of the crew members. Vice-versa is true, individuals suffering from inferiority complex are likely to display a poor performance and suppressed physical competence as compared to those with high self-esteem and confidence. When instructors have a positive impact on the athlete, they are likely to receive respect from the entire discourse, and this will be uniform for the entire team because of the factor of peer influence on each other.


Atkins, M. R., Johnson, D. M., Force, E. C., & Petrie, T. A. (2015). Peers, parents, and coaches, oh my! The relation of the motivational climate to boys' intention to continue in sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 16, 170-180.

Chan, D. K., Lonsdale, C., & Fung, H. H. (2012). Influences of coaches, parents, and peers on the motivational patterns of child and adolescent athletes. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 22(4), 558-568.

DeFreese, J. D., & Smith, A. L. (2013). Teammate social support, burnout, and self-determined motivation in collegiate athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 14(2), 258-265.

Jõesaar, H., Hein, V., & Hagger, M. S. (2012). Youth athletes’ perception of autonomy support from the coach, peer motivational climate and intrinsic motivation in sport setting: One-year effects. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13(3), 257-262.

Ntoumanis, N., Taylor, I. M., & Thøgersen-Ntoumani, C. (2012). A longitudinal examination of coach and peer motivational climates in youth sport: Implications for moral attitudes, well-being, and behavioral investment. Developmental Psychology, 48(1), 213.

Price, M. S., & Weiss, M. R. (2013). Relationships among coach leadership, peer leadership, and adolescent athletes’ psychosocial and team outcomes: A test of transformational leadership theory. Journal of applied sport psychology, 25(2), 265-279.

April 26, 2023


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