Motor competence and goal setting in rugby

Smit, Hendre (2008-12)

Thesis (M Sport Sc (Sport Science))--Stellenbosch University, 2007.


The study explored the potential of rugby as a developmental experience, not only in terms of the motor skills that lead to competence in rugby, but also in terms of learning more about the life-skill of goal setting. A 10 session pre-season programme entitled “More than Rugby” was designed and implemented in order to determine whether combining skill instruction with activities specifically designed to increase an understanding of goal setting had an impact on either the development of rugby competence or understanding about goal setting and perceptions of its use. A repeated measures experimental design was followed, with two groups of high school rugby players from similar sporting backgrounds involved: An experimental group who received pre-season rugby training as well as an intervention programme dealing with goal setting, and a control group who received only the pre-season rugby training, but no special goal setting activities. Both groups were pre tested and post tested on their rugby competence (through an individual rugby skill test circuit) and their understanding of goal setting The self reported use of goal setting perceptions, the relationship between goals and performance and the effects of goals on players was measured by means of a questionnaire (adapted GSI). The results revealed a significant improvement in the quality of rugby skills of the experimental group, but no significant improvement was found in the quality of the rugby skills of the control group. Both groups showed improvement in the speed at which rugby skills were performed, but in neither case was the improvement significant. The understanding of goal setting and the knowledge of setting goals did not improve significantly for either group. It can be concluded that the inclusion of life skills content and activities, such as goal setting in rugby development programmes will not detract from skill development outcomes. Although it can be noted that the greater improvement in skill levels was achieved by the group who received goal setting, more research is recommended to explain the positive link between life skills development and sport skills development.

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