The Achievement Motivation theory was developed by McClelland & Atkinson (1964). It is primarily concerned with the self – motivation to excel in any sporting activity that is significant to the sporting individual. This theory connects the specific goals, planning and effort required to triumph. A basic assumption from this theory is that a universal objective amongst all sportspeople regardless of ability is to persevere. Some manage to do this more than others and the concept of Achievement Motivation explains that the cause of this is that some people have more of an appetite for success than others.
There is no denying that Achievement Motivation can dictate our behavior because it is an acquired trait from the social environment, which develops from around the age of 5 and remains constant over time. It is at the age of 5 that we become capable of social comparison. This process entails judging our aptitude levels against the abilities of people in the same age group or rivals This theory can be separated into 2 main aspects which are the two types of personality for an athlete’s disposition to avoid or pursue challenges; these motives are nAch (Motivated to succeed) and nAf (Motivated to avoid failure).These two personality types have completely opposite characteristics to one another, evidence of this is demonstrated through each one’s approach to situational factors, which are probability of success of success. An individual who fulfils their intentions in a competitive sporting situation consistently can be classified as someone with high level of nAch and a low level of nAf. A person with this personality would be more inclined to put more effort into playing against an opponent where the possibility of them winning comfortably is relatively diminutive opposed to someone they are certain they can absolutely massacre. This is because these individuals like challenges and feels that standards are important.
They believe that rewards are derived from their internal ability and effort which they are optimistic of and feel responsible for. (The reserve teams of top premiership sides are always in the starting eleven for the preliminary phases of the Worthington & the FA cup)The balance between a high level of nAf and a low level of nAch is cultivated through frequently failing in competitive situations; their desire to avoid failure will be strengthened. A sporting individual who has this personality views situations where it is nearly definite that they will be victorious as ones with greater incentive value. These sporting individuals will not persist when encountered with some difficulty because they are pessimistic of their ability and think that their success is determined by external conditions. ( Not all footballers have the courage to take a crucial penalty) ( It is unlikely for a player to not take a shot at goal if they are one on one with the opposition’s goalkeeper)What can be suggested from the high level of nAch and a low level of nAf personality as consequences is that these people will prefer to engage themselves into challenges of moderate difficulty and are commensurate with their ability levels ( 50% success rate). They are not overwhelmed by failure since they attribute it externally and therefore, they view failure and critical feedback as something positive or constructive because it informs them on how well they are performing in many elements of a particular sport. Positive feedback of their performance reinforces the individual’s intrinsic motivational goals.
This personality type’s appreciation of failure and feedback is congruent with their general attitude that they are confident that they are competent in improving their improving their ability.The additional consequence of the Task Goal nature of a sporting individual with a level of nAch and a low level of nAf personality is that their determination to prevail which overshadows their fear of failing will enable them to improve their ability rapidly and confidence levels, resulting in a higher level of enthusiasm for achievement. Since failure avoiding individuals with a high level of nAf and a low level of nAch do not have a solid self – efficacy, the repercussion of this personality type is that they will select tasks of either easy or hard difficulty levels. These people will cultivate a tendency to do this because they never feel responsible for their accomplishments and doing this would allow them to attribute externally to Task Difficulty.
With straightforward tasks, they can simply attribute their success to how it was so evident that they would definitely prevail and in contrast with the more arduous tasks, they could assert that there were no expectations on them to emerge triumphant from the task. Feedback would not be valued because these individuals think that winning is everything and see it as not useful because they feel that only external factors can influence their ability. The further impact of this outcome goal nature that is displayed by failure avoiding individuals is that there dependence on extrinsic motivation will of serving the interests of others will indicate that failing on several occasions will quickly elicit a feeling of dissatisfaction and reduce there confidence. They will not enjoy learning or playing sport and will only be committed to playing that certain sport in the short term.