Identify key factors that aid performance in football. Evaluate the relative importance of these key factors with reference to the achievement of effective performance. There are a number of key factors that aid effective performance in football. These factors can be put under the headings of physiology, biomechanical, tactical, technical and psychological. It is beyond the scope of this essay to elaborate on all five of these factors, therefore; only psychological factors will be explored. The Key factors within Psychology that are appearing to have an effect on performance are motivation, stress and arousal. The use of psychology has achieved little penetration into the world of football (Moran 2002).
This factor has been mainly down to the lack of research into football and the misconceptions about the nature and role of sport psychologists (Moran 2002). Everyone involved in the football profession does not share this view. Forzoni (2003) has shown this with use of motivation techniques such as goal setting while coaching at club level. Reilly and Williams (2003) have also helped to bring psychology into football by putting theories into practice. The work of Horn (2001) and Gifford and Noblet (2002) has established different stressors that effect players.
When looking at how arousal effects performance it is important to look at the different theories. The Inverted U and Drive theory attempt to explain how arousal affects performance. All the psychological factors discussed will be backed up by theory from Cox (2002), Horn (1992), Gill (2000) and Hackford and Spielberger (1989) This essay will discuss each key psychological factor in relation to effective performance.
Motivation is described in simple terms as the direction and intensity of effort or behaviour (Horn 1992 and Gill 2000). In football the level of motivation an individual has is often associated with performance. Reilly and Williams (2003) describes how motivate is seen in football: The highly motivated player is frequently linked to a range of characteristics or attributes such as commitment, a willingness to work hard and a sense of dedication. In contrast, a player who is thought to lack motivation appear to be lethargic and short on enthusiasm. (p24)
It has been argued that players respond to different factors of motivation depending on their consequences and individuals past experience (Forzoni 2001). It is therefore important to considered the different types of motivation and their effects on performance. Three types of motivation have been established, Participation and Discontinuation, Intrinsic and Extrinsic and Achievement Goal Orientation (Horn 1992 and Gill 2000). For the purpose of this essay only the later two will be discussed.
Intrinsic motivation refers to “engaging in an activity purely for the satisfaction derived from doing that activity” (Forzoni 2001 p57). This is put in simpler terms by Cox (2002) as “motivation that comes from within” (p57). In contrast Extrinsic motivation can be viewed as external reasons for participating behaviour (Horn 1992). Examples of this are money, social approval and trophies. When looking at intrinsic and extrinsic motivation techniques it is important to realise that they are part of a continum called the Self- Determination model (Cox 2002). This continum places less self-deterministic forms on the far left and the most self-deterministic forms on the far right.
Amotivation Extrinsic motivation Intrinsic Motivation (Cox 2002 p75) Intrinsic motivation (IM) can be divided into three types, IM to know, IM towards accomplishments and IM to experience stimulation (Gill 2000 and Forzoni 2001). IM to know is defined as: performing an activity for the pleasure and the satisfaction that are experienced while learning, exploring or trying to understand something new (Forzoni 2001 p57)
IM towards accomplishment is found when individuals want to feel competent (Gill 2000). This type of intrinsic motivation can be seen using the example of David Beckham. Beckham is well know to stay behind after a training session has finished and continuously practise his free kicks until he is personally satisfied. The results of this extra work can be seen in his performance on the pitch specifically when taking set pieces.
IM to experience stimulation “occurs when someone engages in an activity in order to experience pleasant stimulating sensations” (Forzoni 2001 p57). It would be hoped that this motivation could be seen in every individual who plays football. If a player is experiencing sensory pleasure, fun or excitement during a game it would be expected that their performance would be better then a player who wasn’t.
Effective performance by individuals on the pitch can be attributed to intrinsic motivation alone, however this does not appear to be the case. Gill (2000) proposed that extrinsic rewards such as trophies and money are also powerful motivational tool that play a part in performance. If this is true it would be logical to suggest that when both the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations associated with a game are added together then overall motivation should be higher resulting in effective performance.
However this notion is rejected by Horn (1992) and Cox (2002) who claim that when extrinsic motivation is added the activity loses some of its intrinsic value. Most of the extrinsic rewards offered to participants in modern football with the exception of trophies do not appear to have any effect on player’s performance. The exception of trophies can be seen using the example of Rio Ferdinand during the 2002 World Cup. During this competition Ferinand’s performance on the pitch seem to improve when compared to form in the premiership.
Achievement Goal Orientation is the identification of short and long term personal goals (Cox 2002 and Gill 2000) Research into goal setting has found that individuals who use this technique have improved performances compared to individuals with do not set goal (Gill 2000). An example of a long-term goal can be seen in an example given by Forzoni (2003) who has used this method at the various clubs he has coached.