Wilmore, J. (1970). Influence of motivation on physical work capacity and performance. In W. P. Morgan, (Ed.), Contemporary readings in sport psychology. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

The task of riding a bicycle ergometer in competition with a matched work output was compared to a pre- and posttest solo control condition. The competitive condition was termed "motivated."

The motivated condition was better than either control condition but the second control condition was also better than the first. This demonstrated a significant learning/training effect that was not attributable to physiological factors. It showed that goals should be behind every performance if maximum performance parameters are to be stimulated.

The learning effect from the first to the second control trial was not accompanied by any significant alternations in maximal physiological responses. This suggests that there is a reserve in work output above a predetermined capacity that needs to be stimulated by goal-setting.

Implication. Physical performances without set goals will not produce the best form of physical response. Coaches who disregard the value of this simple manipulation will not stimulate the best form of training in athletes. As has been demonstrated by champion athletes, every task of training and competitions must be oriented to some particular explicit goal that will focus the athlete on functioning with the greatest efficiency in performance.

A physical activity at training without a goal-orientation is a wasted opportunity for improvement.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.