Perceived Goal Setting Practices of Olympic Athletes: An Exploratory Investigation

in The Sport Psychologist
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The purpose of this investigation was to explore Olympic athletes’ perceptions concerning the frequency and effectiveness of goal setting strategies as well as goal preferences and barriers to achieving these goals. Participants were 185 male and 143 female Olympic athletes from a variety sports. Each athlete completed a questionnaire detailing their perceptions, use, and effectiveness of a number of different goal-setting strategies. Factor analysis revealed four similar factors for goal effectiveness and goal frequency and two distinct factors for goal barriers. Descriptive results revealed that all of the Olympic athletes practiced some type of goal setting to help enhance performance, and they found their goals to be highly effective. Athletes also reported that improving overall performance, winning, and having fun were the three most important goals. In addition, setting difficult goals that were somewhat above the level at which they perform was the most preferred level of goal difficulty. Future directions for research are offered including exploration of developmental differences and variations in coach versus athlete perceptions.

Robert Weinberg is in the Department of Physical Education. Health, and Sport Studies at Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056; Damon Burton is in the Department of HPERD at the University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83843; Dave Yukelson is with the Academic Support Center for Student Athletes at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802; and Daniel Weigand is with the Department of Physical Education. Sport, and Leisure at De Montfort University. Bedford, MK40 2BZ. United Kingdom.

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