An investigation into the relationship between goal orientations and levels of aggression in male Rugby Union players
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Goal Orientations and levels and types of aggression displayed in male Rugby Union players (M age = 20.47 years). Nicholls (1989) suggested that a person‟s goal orientation is consistent with what they view as acceptable behaviour. This suggests that goal orientations could influence an individual‟s views of aggression and the behaviours they undertake during competition. Due to the contact nature of Rugby Union it is important to understand aggression, what influences aggression and what impact this can have on performance. Players (N = 34) completed the 2 x 2 Achievement Goals Questionnaire for Sport (Conroy et al., 2003) to assess their goal orientations, and participants (N = 4) were selected for an interview to explore opinions and experiences of aggression during competitive Rugby Union. The qualitative analysis revealed that Mastery Approach and Performance Approach were related to Instrumental aggression, when participants perceived they were competent and had fulfilled their goal orientation. This form of aggression tended to increase motivation and focus on processes of performance. Performance Avoidance individuals, and Performance Approach participants who were not able to fulfil their goal orientation and felt incompetent, reported high levels of Hostile aggression. The participants viewed this hostile aggression as having a negative impact on performance. The implications of these findings suggest that coaches should promote a Mastery Approach or Performance Approach orientation to players in order to encourage more Instrumental forms of aggression, and away from Hostile aggression that distracted player‟s and took their focus away from performance. A lack of acknowledgement to Mastery Avoidance goal orientation in both quantitative and qualitative sections of the study is also discussed.
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