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2. Having never taken a course similar to this in the past, much of the information, while relatively straight forward and relatable, began as unfamiliar topic or information that I had never identified as having a name or clear definition. In reading the material and discussing it in class, I was able to look at the information and understand more about myself and my thought processes and compare them to those of my classmates and note the similarities and differences in the ways we process information and understand ourselves as athletes and scholars. While I don’t often identify myself as an athlete, and may not understand every sport concept of those around me, I find that I still have a mindset similar to that of an athlete and many of the topic covered in the class this semester could relate to my own life and help me better understand and support those around me in whatever career path I choose in the future.
One theory discussed this semester that I see being applicable to my future is self-determination theory (SDT). This theory helps to better understand motivations, personality, social development, and overall psychological function and is composed of multiple sub-theories within the total SDT. Cognitive evaluation theory (CET) is one aspect of SDT that has been helpful in looking at myself and would be helpful in the future. The purpose of this theory is to explain the effects of social context on people’s intrinsic motivation. As someone who spends a lot of time taking in information from surroundings, this helped me put a name to how I motivate myself in social situations and identify the degree to which I put energy into participation. To further analyze motivational factors, organismic integration theory (OIT) places motivational factors on a self-determination continuum in order to better describe what type of motivation is involved, how this motivation is regulated, and where this motivation is coming from. In my own life, this continuum was helpful in analyzing aspects of my education and activities to better identify for myself why I was choosing to do certain things and come up with ways I could make more extrinsically motivated activities become more internalized. The other two theories within SDT, causality orientation theory (COT) and basic needs theory (BNT), look at how people interpret information to regulate behavior and whether or not the identified three basic needs of an individual, namely competence, autonomy, and relatedness, are met in order to increase motivation. While both of these are important to SDT, their direct relatedness to my life was not as apparent.
Applying SDT to my future will most likely continue in the same way it has this semester. It causes me to think about why I am making the decisions I do and what factors play a role in the decisions I make. Being aware of SDT will be helpful with my thesis because everyone is motivated by different things and it is important to be aware of what may have a stronger pull on an individual’s motivation, whether that be their own personality, social situations, or the environment they are in. Normally sedentary individuals most likely lack the motivation to participate in regular exercise or only see the barriers that prevent them from being regularly active. In educating them on the effects of sedentary behavior, I may be able to include information on identifying their own motivations for participation in activity and help them to incorporate what motivates them into physical activity goals. In my future career, being aware of SDT will help me build a better understanding of those I am working with and what motivates them to be where they are in their career in hopes of relating to my coworkers in ways that can accommodate different learning styles and achievement motivations.
Another concept that we discussed this semester that stood out to me was connected with the theories and models of coaching effectiveness. The specific model that I found would be useful in the future was Chelladurai’s multidimensional model of leadership (Chelladurai, 1978, 1990, 2007). This model was created to work with coaches and leaders in specific sport situations, but it has implications of working for leaders in other domains. This model proposes that situational characteristics and characteristics of the leader and the members influence the required, preferred, and actual behavior of the leader, all of which produce outcomes of performance and member satisfaction. This model can be applied to my thesis because those that are participating in my study will look to me, or those who may be helping me, as leaders or sources of information. By being aware of the antecedents of leader behavior and what is required and preferred of a leader in the setting of my study and an education setting, I can be more conscious of actual behavior in order to produce more positive outcomes and more promising results. When looking to my future career, having more positive leader qualities will make me a more attractive candidate for a job and will hopefully make those around me want to work with them more because I will be mindful of the characteristics that influence my behavior in a leadership role to lead to better outcomes as a whole in the work environment.