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Barbara Ann Boyce

This study investigated the effect of goal proximity on skill acquisition and retention of a selected shooting task. Twelve classes (n=181) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) short-term goals, (b) a long-term goal, (c) short-term plus long-term goals, and (d) do-your-best goals. The pretest and six skill acquisition/retention trials were analyzed in a 4×2×6 (Goal Groups × Gender × Trials) MANCOVA design with repeated measures on the last factor and with the pretest as the covariate. Results of a multivariate F test revealed significant main effects for goal groups, gender, and trials. Post hoc tests indicated that the three specific goal-setting groups were superior to the do-your-best group. Males were statistically superior to females in the shooting task. The follow-up tests on trials revealed that as trials progressed, shooting performance improved significantly.

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Steven H. Frierman, Robert S. Weinberg, and Allen Jackson

The purpose of this investigation was twofold: to determine if individuals who were assigned specific, difficult goals perform better than those assigned “do your best” goals, and to examine the importance of goal proximity (longterm vs. short-term) on bowling performance. Subjects were 72 students enrolled in two beginning bowling courses at a 4-year university. They were matched according to baseline bowling averages and then randomly assigned to one of four goal-setting conditions. A 4 × 5 (Goal Condition × Trials) ANOVA with repeated measures on the last factor revealed a significant goal condition main effect, with the long-term goal group improving more than the do-your-best group. No other performance comparisons reached significance. Questionnaire data revealed that subjects in all three numerical goal conditions rated their level of confidence significantly higher than the do-your-best goal group in Week 1, but the long-term goal group displayed a significantly higher level of confidence than the other three goal groups in Week 4. All other questions indicated that all groups tried hard and were committed to and accepted their goals.

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Gershon Tenenbaum, Saadia Pinchas, Gabi Elbaz, Michael Bar-Eli, and Robert Weinberg

The purpose of the present investigation was to extend the literature on the relationship between goal specificity, goal proximity, and performance by using high school students and attempting to control for the effects of social comparison. Subjects (N=214) in Experiment 1 were randomly assigned to one of five goal-setting conditions: (a) short-term goals, (b) long-term goals, (c) short- plus long-term goals,(d) do-your-best goals, and (e) no goals. After a 3-week baseline period, subjects were tested once a week on the 3-minute sit-up over the course of the 10-week experimental period. Results indicated that the short- plus long-term group exhibited the greatest increase in performance although the short-term and long-term groups also displayed significant improvements. In Experiment 2, a short- plus long-term group was compared against a do-your-best group. Results again revealed a significant improvement in performance for the combination-goal group whereas the do-your-best group did not display any improvement.

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Bruce Howe and Rob Poole

The purpose of this study was to test the effects of goal proximity and achievement motivation on basketball shooting performance in a regular physical education class setting. Data were collected on 79 male Grade 10 students. One week prior to the beginning of a 4-week basketball unit, students were categorized as high achievers and low achievers based on their achievement score on the Howe Sport Behavior Assessment Scale. Within each achievement group, subjects were randomly assigned to either a weekly short-term goal group, a long-term goal group, or a short-term-plus-longterm goal group. Subjects completed the Speed Spot Shooting Test once every week to measure their performance in relation to their assigned goals. No significant differences among the variables were revealed. A postexperimental questionnaire revealed that a majority of students from all goal conditions were setting their own short-term goals. Results are discussed in terms of Bandura’s self-efficacy theory of motivation and the use of goals in motor skill tasks in physical education.

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Robert Weinberg, Lawrence Bruya, and Allen Jackson

The purpose of the present investigation was twofold: to determine if subjects who set specific difficult goals perform significantly better than those who set "do your best" goals, and to examine the importance of goal proximity on the performance of the 3-minute sit-up test. Two experiments were conducted, and subjects (N = 96) in both were matched on ability and then randomly assigned to one of the following conditions: (a) short-term goals, (b) long-term goals, (c) short-term plus long-term goals, and (d) "do your best" goals. They were tested once a week for either 5 weeks (Experiment 1) or 3 weeks (Experiment 2). Subjects in the short-term goal condition had weekly sit-up goals, whereas those in the long-term goal condition had only an end goal Performance results from both experiments revealed no significant between-group difference. Questionnaire data indicated that all subjects tried hard, were committed to their goals, and were ego-involved. Manipulation checks revealed, however, that subjects from all conditions were setting their own goals in addition to their experimenter-set goal. Other possible explanations for the lack of differences are couched in the nature of the subject population and the nature of the task.

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Robert Weinberg, Lawrence Bruya, Janice Longino, and Allen Jackson

The purpose of this investigation was to test the effects of goal proximity and goal specificity on endurance performance of young children. Subjects were 130 boys and 125 girls from the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. Children were matched on baseline performance of the 2-min sit-up test and then randomly assigned to one of the following goal setting conditions: (a) short-term goal improvement of 4% each test trial, (b) long-term goal of 20% improvement over the course of the 10-week study, (c) short-term plus long-term goal, and (d) do your best. Subjects practiced sit-ups in class every day with practice tests once a week and actual scored tests once every other week. No significant differences between goal-setting conditions were found on baseline performance and thus a 4 × 3 × 2 × 5 (Goal × Grade × Gender × Trials) ANOVA was conducted. Results produced significant gender and grade main effects, with boys and sixth graders exhibiting the best performance. More important, a significant goal-condition-by-trials interaction revealed there were no differences on Trials 1 and 2, but on Trials 3, 4, and 5 the specific goal groups performed significantly better than the do-your-best group. A postexperimental questionnaire revealed that children were highly committed to their goals and tried extremely hard to reach their goals. Results are discussed in terms of Locke's goal-setting theory as well as recent empirical goal-setting studies conducted in physical activity settings.

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Michael Bar-Eli, Ilan Hartman, and Noa Levy-Kolker

The purpose of the present investigation was to investigate the relationship between goal proximity and performance. Goal setting was used as a motivational technique for enhancing physical performance of adolescents with behavior disorders. Subjects (N = 80) were randomly assigned to one of two goal-setting conditions: (a) long-term goals and (b) short- plus long-term goals. After a 3-week baseline period, subjects were tested on a 1-min sit-up task once a week for 10 weeks. Results indicated that the short- plus long-term group exhibited the greatest increase in performance, although the long-term group also displayed significant improvements. Results are discussed in reference to Locke and Latham’s (1985) approach to goal setting. In addition, several methodological and theoretical aspects are discussed that are particularly relevant to the use of goal setting with physical activity tasks among persons with disabilities such as behavior disorders.

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Chris G. Harwood and Sam N. Thrower

. , Bar-Eli , M. , & Weinberg , R. ( 1991 ). Effect of goal proximity and goal specificity on muscular endurance performance: A replication and extension . Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 13 , 174 – 187 . doi:10.1123/jsep.13.2.174 10.1123/jsep.13.2.174 * Theodorakis , Y. , Weinberg , R

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Mark A. Robinson

companion to sport and exercise psychology (pp.  343 – 355 ). Routledge . Weinberg , R. , Bruya , L. , & Jackson , A. ( 1985 ). The effects of goal proximity and goal specificity on endurance performance . Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 7 ( 3 ), 296 – 305 . Weinberg , R. , Bruya

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Edward K. Coughlan, A. Mark Williams, and Paul R. Ford

structure, and the theory of deliberate practice . Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 17 , 64 – 78 . doi:10.1080/10413200590907577 10.1080/10413200590907577 Boyce , B.A. ( 1992 ). The effects of goal proximity on skill acquisition and retention of a shooting task in a field-based setting