What gets them rowing?: a comparative study of the achievement motivation of male and female elite rowers when training and racing




Rudden, Carolyn Louise

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Elite athletes are highly motivated people. and need high levels of motivation to prevail through the tough training sessions and through set backs (Hardy, Jones & Gould. 1996). Therefore. research on motivation and specifically what contributes to a rower's motivation becomes significant from both a theoretical and practical view. The purpose of this study was to first. identify and understand motivational differences and similarities between the genders of elite rowers, using the framework of the Achievement Goal Theory. Second, it was to further explore these motivational differences and similarities between practice and competitive situations. This study investigated the phenomenon of motivation through a qualitative approach by interviewing 8 female and 5 male rowers from the Canadian Olympic Rowing team. where significant statements were identified and clustered into themes. Overall, there were more similarities than differences between the genders. Both genders had the goal to win, expressed the importance of the process rather than the end product and agreed that their teammates were very important to them and greatly influenced their behaviours and performances. Among the different situational environments, the rowers' responses illustrated that it was not only possible to be task, ego and socially involved at the same time, it tended to be the norm. Results from this study also challenged the traditional framework of the Achievement Goal Theory, including illustrating the importance of social orientation amongst the elite rowers. Several implications for athletes, coaches and sport organizations were mentioned to improve an athlete's performance.



rowing, psychological aspects, women rowers