Extrinsic motivation – motivational climate as an example. How a coach can increase a sportsman or a team efficiency

Whatever a person does, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations has great importance for his activity. And especially it is necessary in sports. Because there it is required to achieve high results in a short time. Sports intrinsic and extrinsic motivations is one of the most important topics for discussion and study in sports psychology.

The relationship between a coach and an athlete or a team largely determines sportsmen motivation and is influence on the training process a lot. Therefore, sports psychologists and specialists related to the field of sports psychology have been studying the issue of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and the coach influence on it for a long time.

In the process of this activity the term “motivational climate” was developed. It can be defined as a set of expectations, values, rewards, and censures that are created in a team. It is given the surrounding of the athletes, a team and a trainer’s staff. So it can be considered as extrinsic motivation.

motivational climate in a team as an extrinsic motivation examples

It is necessary to understand that the team is not only a set of players and a coach. Individual athletes can also be in a motivational climate, working with a personal trainer. In addition, the team often expands due to the expansion of the coaching staff.  For example, it may be not one coach, but several, or there is a sports psychologist.

Motivational climate affects the personal motivation of an athlete. Knowing what awaits him in one case or another, the athlete chooses what to do and how to act. Thus, he sets a goal for himself and this in a certain way affects the overall result of the team.

Two types of motivational climate

The two types of motivational climate are compared in researches.

Mastery involved

This kind of extrinsic motivation makes athletes improve themselves and achieve their common goals. In this case, they understand that the coach helps to improve their skills. And mistakes are perceived as a part of the learning process and do not overshadow training and sports in general. Therefore, this motivational climate helps to maintain athletes’ confidence, even after failures.

Mastery involved athletes strive to achieve the goal despite the difficulties. Even if it will have to make a lot effort and overcome many difficulties. This only further motivates them to develop and become “faster, higher, stronger.” These difficulties are perceived as a challenge requiring common efforts.

Mastery involved athletes are fully involved in their sports activities and enjoy the activitiy itself. Therefore, they rarely have a desire to stop trainings. Their interest in them and competitions are stable, despite emerging in the process of drafting difficulties.


Athletes with this motivational climate, focused on themselves, do not enjoy the training itself directly. They do it by the recognition of their successes and results, as well as from obtaining personal benefits. They compare themselves to others and get satisfaction only when their superiority over other athletes or the team members is noticeable. This also applies to the superiority in solving common problems.

ego-involved motivational climate as an extrinsic motivation examples


In case when an athlete always shows lower results, he begins to train worse. He often has a feeling of anxiety and discomfort. And this is in addition to the fact that such unpleasant sensations are more often had by the ego-involved sportsmen in general.

This extrinsic motivation in some way determines the type of preferred sport activity. Motivated by self-assertion athlete will choose a workout that gives him the opportunity to demonstrate the superiority with a minimum of effort. Often, with such training, which does not requires to do the best leads to stagnation in progress or even decreasing of physical performance. Because in fact a person does not train his body.

Thus, ego-involved athletes are more likely to give up sports. Because this kind of extrinsic motivation can cause low self-confidence and brings stress. Then sportsman do not show perseverance in overcoming difficulties.

What role does this extrinsic motivation play in the team

Of course, the two types of motivational climate affect athletes and their achievements in different ways. Researchers noted that the most effective are mastery involved people.

This is especially important in team sports. Therefore, the coach needs to create a certain motivational climate and a cohesive team.  He must choose its members so that all are successful and effectively work together.

motivational climate in a team as an extrinsic motivation examples

Setting common tasks that need to be solved will contribute to a certain motivational climate and extrinsic motivation. With them sportsmen will be motivated to improve their performance and cope with the difficulties.

However, despite the fact that the ego involved motivational climate is considered to be less effective, it should not be neglected. After all, this is not the same as “absolutely ineffective”. And even in team sports this kind of extrinsic motivation can be used. The player will contribute to the joint success, if he has the motivation to do “better than others” as well. For example, to throw the ball into the ring from the most distant point on the sports field.

ego-involved motivational climate as an extrinsic motivation examples

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