In the essay that follows, I will discuss how coaches and teachers can create a mastery climate or a competitive climate. This can have varying effects on sports performance. A mastery environment is one that encourages teamwork, support and intrinsic motivation. It can also reduce anxiety and increase motivation. The mastery climate can be used for example by teachers, coaches and instructors to motivate young athletes. Praise and encouragement are key to motivating them. The mastery atmosphere is not elitist, so it does nothing to motivate elite athletes. The very best golfers don’t want to hear that they are doing something wrong. They just want to learn what the mistake was and improve.
In a climate of competition, the emphasis is on the end result. This is where high ability is recognized. The environment is also one where athletes are encouraged to believe that they will be punished for poor performance or mistakes. As an example, even a great tennis player needs to know what to work on in order to improve. It is well known that the competitive environment leads to athletes putting in less effort because failure is perceived as a lack of talent. This can be a disadvantage as it can make them feel like they aren’t good enough. The competitive climate can be used to demotivate athletes because there is no encouragement and motivation given to them when things go wrong. Instead, they’re told what to do.
These principles all have an impact on performance in sports. The mastery climate is one that motivates athletes to be successful, which in turn will increase their sporting performance. In a competition climate, athletes are expected to be their best at all times, and this can negatively impact performance. At certain times, both climates can be used to motivate athletes and increase their performance.