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Team Motivation: Clemson Cheerleading Essay

3090 words - 13 pages

A team is defined as “A distinguishable set of two or more people who interact, dynamically, interdependently, and adaptively toward a common and valued goal” (Chen). It is extremely frustrating when you are a part of a “team”, yet you find yourself being one of the few people who have passion for what they are doing while you are giving 110% into every single practice, game, and competition. To us, this is one of the most frustrating dilemmas that we face in our day-to-day lives. Being on the Clemson University cheerleading team, we find ourselves more often frustrated at practices, than enjoying practices. This is what led us to proceed with researching self-motivation, more ...view middle of the document...

People had bad attitudes throughout practice, didn’t take what they were doing seriously, and our coach kept continuously cancelling practices that were much-needed. We were continually fed up and frustrated after every practice. It was then when we started to research team motivation in order to focus on how to get the team motivated, and keep our frustration at bay. We started out by rating our practices and as our research went on and we learned more about self-motivation along with team motivation, we noticed our ratings improved.
One of the beginning steps we took in this research project was determining a theory to go along with our research project. Before our research began we originally had planned to set small goals for the whole team in order to keep motivation high. However, when we came across the theory we thought most appropriate, we quickly realized that while we could still set goals for our teammates, we could not force these goals upon them. If we wanted them to respond to us, then we needed their input as well.
Our topic of research is very broad. More specifically, one theory does not necessarily apply to our given situation. The theory that parallels our research most successfully is the goal-setting theory. The goal-setting theory states that different goals motivate us differently. While researching the goal-setting theory we found that the most useful information came from the article “Old Friends, New Faces: Motivation Research in the 1990s” written by Ambrose and Kulik. This article points out that if you want an individual to respond to a set goal, then the individual must accept that certain goal and stick to it. This ensures that the goal will affect the individual’s performance. This article also states, “Goal-setting is especially effective when feedback is provided that permits the individual to track progress relative to the goal” (Ambrose).
Now that we know the goals that need to be set and agreed on by teammates; and that each person needs to stick to the goal in order for the goal to work as a motivator, we realized our next step was to talk to the team and figure out reasonable goals to set. Along with doing that, we needed to make sure each person was able to track their thoughts and feelings on the set goal, and give us feedback to make sure that everyone is sticking to the set goal.
According to Ambrose and Kulik’s research, they found that specific difficult goals were more effective and lead to better performance than specific easy goals, general goals, or no goals at all. Specific difficult goals were found to be most effective because, “The linear relationship between goal difficulty and performance assumes that the individual is committed to the goal and possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve it. Therefore, goal commitment is especially critical when goals are specific and difficult” (Ambrose). Their research also pointed out that goals were most effective when...

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