Intrinsic Motivation
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Intrinsic motivation compels most individuals, especially children, to participate in a particular sport. They only want to play the game for pure enjoyment and no other reason. If only the intrinsic motivation would continue as the primary motivator as we continue to engage in the sport. Often this is not the case and our intrinsic motivators are overpowered by the extrinsic motivators, often with the onset of competition. To clarify, a sport that was initially played just for fun and love of the game is now being played to fulfill desires for recognition, praise, trophies and awards and of course money. Many famous athletes have faced these situations, but it is not only the professional athletes that struggle with intrinsic and extrinsic motivators; all levels of athletes, myself included, deal with the effects of these stimulants and the informative and controlling rewards associated with these motivators. In this paper Decis cognitive evaluation theory regarding the changing intrinsic and extrinsic motives will be applied to the field of sports and will be analyzed along with the informative and controlling aspects of the extrinsic rewards.

Decis cognitive evaluation theory explains that two values, intrinsic and extrinsic are at play when discussing motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within the individual as pleasure is gained from the task itself. In the case of sports, the game is played for pure enjoyment alone. This contrasts with extrinsic motivation as it comes from outside the individual in the way of rewards such as recognition or money. He further explains that there are two types of rewards. First, the controlling rewards such as praise, trophies and money which will influence a persons behaviour at the given task. The desire to receive these rewards inspires the individual to succeed at all costs. In the case of the athlete, the lure of winning which would result in a trophy or praise from a coach, drives the athlete, but according to Deci, will decrease the athletes intrinsic motivation. He is no longer participating for the love of the game alone, but to achieve the rewards. This is not to say the athlete is not receiving any pleasure from their sport, but the extrinsic motivation is overshadowing the intrinsic. Secondly, informational rewards express information on the individuals performance and how competent they are at the task. Decis theory concludes that this feedback will enhance the intrinsic motivation. In a sporting situation when a player receives feedback that they are doing well, the encouragement will lead them to continue on for the love of the game. The intrinsic motivation has been increased. Thus, Decis theory argues that controlling rewards tend to decrease intrinsic motivation while informative rewards can increase intrinsic motivation.

I believe the many sports I indulged in as a child were initially played for the pure enjoyment and love the games. As an elite level volleyball player I have been motivated internally and externally during the ten years I have played the game. In the beginning the intrinsic motivators drove me to volleyball, as all I wanted to do was play for pleasure. Yet as I got older and became more skilled at the game and competed at higher levels the intrinsic motivators were overshadowed by the extrinsic motivators and the end result was not positive. Initially the information rewards I received from my coaches in the way of “good game Sarah, next time you could start your approach earlier” encouraged me to just want to get out there and play again. It increased by desire for the game. I was given positive reinforcement, an attainable challenge, yet the choice was mine to play again. Through these informative rewards my intrinsic motivation to play volleyball grew. At this time I began to compete at higher levels and experienced different coaching techniques. Before long my name was frequently in the newspaper, I was collecting many trophies and awards and I had long term goals of competing at the national level. The training commitment was huge while trying to remain a top student as well. All my time away from school was spent on volleyball. The controlling rewards that I was receiving, the winning, the praise, the trophies and the recognition were now the main reason I was playing volleyball. Somehow during this time frame, I lost my intrinsic motivation, my love of the game, and was playing to receive the praise and approval of my parents, my coachs endorsement, the wins that would grant me entrance to the next competition, and achieve my goal I had set long before when I was purely intrinsically motivated. I was not playing

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Intrinsic Motivation And Paper Decis Cognitive Evaluation Theory. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from