Two performers, Mel and Jade, are learning a new skill. As they are in the first stages of learning they are making many mistakes. Their coach attempts to remedy their performance by providing corrective information in an empathetic and supportive way. The learners begin to feel more at ease and are eager to improve their skills futher. Alternatively Jamie is very talented however he often performs at a lower standard than set by his coach. His coach responds by being disappointed and even shouts to point out Jamie’s mistakes. Jamie often become more and more frustrated and thus become demotivated and continually under performs.
We have all come across coaches, managers and parents or significant others that behave in the two ways identified here. Both scenarios describe feedback of some kind. Although the messages contain information about how they can improve often the way in which these messages can have a very different effect.
Corrective feedback is that which contains information on low performance that can be differentiated depending on the extent to which is conveys criticism, information and or neutral statements (Amorose and Weiss, 1998). Most coaches are well aware of the benefits of postive feedback in that is relates signficiantly to high levels of competence perception however corrective feedback can often be challenging especially when a performer has a high level of percieved competence. Corrective feedback can be communicated in an autonomy supporting fashion through the use of empathy support, acknowledgment of feelings and the display of need-supporting nonverbal behaviour (i.e. a pat on the back). Alternatively corrective feedback can also be given in a controlling way, for example through the use of criticism and punishment, negative modelling and nonverbal punishment.
It is suggested that athletes perceptions of the autonomy support that they received from their coaches was positively associated with the athletes autonomous motivation. Furthermore the athletes have a greater level of intention to persist and well-being when presented with autonomy supportive corrective feedback (Mouratidis, Lens, &Vansteenkiste, 2010). Self determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) assumes that autonomy, competence and relatedness need support environments are necessary for individual to integrate externally regulated behaviours supporting autonomy is critical for the development of well-being and motivation. This is becase the athlete have to experience freedom and choice over their actions to become self-determined and well adjusted. As expected postive competence related feedback is important however inadequete for optimal motivation.
So why is this information important to those that give feedback on a regular basis. Well Mouratidis, Lens, &Vansteenkiste (2010) suggest that this information shows that the sometimes necessary however potentially debilitating act of giving competence related feedback after a poor performance or error can be done without jeopardising motivation and well-being. Coaches can provide the necessary feedback to athlete by taking in the perspective of their athletes, allowing choice about how to overcome the fault and provide clear rationale for the suggested weak points are effective strategies that will prevent their athletes from being discouraged by the corrective information. Finally the feedback must be perceived as legitimate and necessary for their development.
Hopefully this post will give some hints and tips when taking on the challenging task of giving ‘constructive’ corrective feedback when athletes make mistakes. This concludes my series on motivation for the time being. I will return with more ideas on enhancing motivation in the future. Look back for more psychological knowledge, discussion and tips next week.