The Nature of Group Goals in Sport Teams: A Phenomenological Analysis

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Lawrence R. Brawley University of Waterloo

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Albert V. Carron University of Western Ontario

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W. Neil Widmeyer University of Waterloo

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Much of the contemporary research and practical literature in sport and psychology that concerns goals focuses on individuals. Several reviewers, however, have called for more investigation into group goal setting. To accomplish this, a basic understanding of the everyday goals of sport teams is necessary. The purpose of this exploratory investigation was to examine the nature of group goals in intact sport teams. Athletes (N=154) from college and community teams (N=13) were asked to list up to five team goals for both practice and competitive situations. Content analyses showed that the overwhelming majority were general (>70%) rather than specific in nature. For practice situations, process goals predominated (89.9%), but for competitions, a balance existed between outcome (53.1%) and process (46.9%) goals. Further analyses of the practice goals showed that 66.1% related to skill/strategy, 29.3% to effort, and 4.6% to fitness. For the competition goals, 43.5% related to skill/strategy, 15.0% to effort, and 41.5% to outcomes. Implications of these results for practitioners and researchers are discussed.

L.R. Brawley and W.N. Widmeyer are with the Dept. of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1. A.V. Carron is with the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 3K7.

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