Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

The Effect of IAAF Kids Athletics on the Physical Fitness and Motivation of Elementary School Students in Track and Field

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

The Effect of IAAF Kids Athletics on the Physical Fitness and Motivation of Elementary School Students in Track and Field

Article excerpt


In the domain of teaching in physical education, motivation has been found to be a key factor influencing students' interest, their learning behavior, and intention to exercise and practice sports in the future (Chen, 2001; Standage, Duda, & Ntoumanis, 2003). Personal and environmental factors are responsible for positive motivational experiences in physical education (Chen, 2001). The students' predisposition towards exercise and sports in combination with the contextual structure and teaching strategies, used in physical education settings, determine the students' engagement in the lesson, their motivation to exercise, and their intention to practice sports in the future (Standage et al., 2003).

The Self-determination Theory

The self-determination theory suggests that in learning environments the type of motivation which generates individual's participation in an activity, is regulated by internal or external reasons (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000). It posits that self-determined or autonomous motivation lies on a continuum, subdivided into three categories: intrinsic, extrinsic and amotivation. Intrinsic motivation represents the individual's participation in an activity, driven by inherent satisfaction and pleasure. Identified regulation lies adjacent to intrinsic motivation. It represents the most autonomous form of external regulation, reflecting engagement in an activity, which is considered important to individual's personal goals and values. Introjected regulation represents a non-selfdetermined form of motivation, as an individual's behavior is extrinsically governed. External regulation represents the least self-determined type of extrinsic motivation and refers to behaviors carried out in order to gain an external reward or avoid negative consequences. Amotivation represents a relative absence of motivation and lack of intention. The level of self-determined motivation has been found to be affected by the social context (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Reeve, Deci, & Ryan, 2004).

In the context of physical education a higher self-determined motivation level is significantly associated with an autonomy supportive learning environment (Perlman, 2013; Standange et al., 2003). Such an environment is decided by the autonomy support, structure, and involvement support provided to students (Reeve et al., 2004). Autonomy support refers to the pedagogical strategies used to create a student-centered environment, facilitating the freedom of action and making choices, as well as the support of self-initiation. Structure refers to the provision of an interesting lesson content. This includes challenging and relevant activities which attract the students' curiosity and offer meaningful and clear goals and choices. Involvement refers to the teacher's affection and encouragement to participate (Ntoumanis, 2001). Students' autonomous motivation (selfdetermined) thrives under conditions in which structure and autonomy support is provided (Reeve at al., 2004).

Several studies have shown that intrinsic motivation and higher levels of self-determined motivation (autonomous motivation) are positively associated with desirable psychological outcomes, such as: (a) enjoyment, satisfaction, and interest (Standage, Duda, & Ntoumanis, 2005; Vallerand, 1997); (b) effort (Ntoumanis, 2001; Pelltier, Fortier, Vallerand, Tuson, Briere, & Blais, 1995); and (c) persistence, and intention to participate in sports (Ntoumanis, 2001; Standage et al., 2005). Several investigations in physical education settings revealed that a higher self-determined profile (higher scores in intrinsic and self-determined motivation) is correlated with higher physical fitness measures in physical education, including endurance, and strength (Mouratidis, Vansteenkiste, Lens, & Sideridis, 2008; Shen, McCaughtry, Martin, & Fahlman, 2009).

The Games Centered Approach

The games centered approach is a pedagogical method of teaching in physical education, where playing a game is the central organizational feature of the lesson. …

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