Best Practices for Coaching the Ego-Oriented Athlete

Charlotte R. Stith, Timothy Baghurst


One of the many challenges faced by coaches is being able to understand and support each athlete as an individual while simultaneously developing collective efficacy within the team. Individual athlete behaviors are typically categorized as ego-oriented or task-oriented. Although the motivational characteristic of an ego-oriented athlete is measured by their comparison to others, the task-oriented athlete is measured by skill improvement. Therefore, the development of collective efficacy requires the coach to observe ego-oriented and task-oriented behavior and apply strong leadership to foster task over ego. The purpose of this article is to identify the different characteristics of ego-oriented versus task-oriented motivation, how an ego-oriented athlete is developed, and how a coach can influence athletes toward task-oriented behavior by being a positive role model, creating a mastery environment, and developing a cohesive team setting.

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