Task-Oriented vs. Goal-Oriented: Which is the Better Approach to Athlete Training? | STACK Coaches and Trainers
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Task-Oriented vs. Goal-Oriented: Which is the Better Approach to Athlete Training?

June 20, 2012

Julius Peppers Training

Motivation plays a key role in determining an athlete's success, and it's also a fundamental part of exercise and sport psychology. Having an understanding of what drives personal goals improves how, and why, athletes train the way they do.

Athletes fall into one of two camps when it comes to setting personal training goals. Some are motivated by the task itself, and others find motivation in achieving goals. Task orientation versus goal orientation is a contentious issue in the field of exercise and sports psychology. But knowing which camp you fit into can help you get more from your training program.

There's plenty of conflicting research on what motivates athletes. Some studies suggest that goal orientation is better, because an athlete is more likely to be successful. Other research suggests that task orientation makes for happier athletes, who train harder and are generally better prepared.

This often leads to differences of opinion between coaches and athletes. Many coaches prefer a goal-oriented approach because it can be measured, and that's helpful in keeping an athlete on track with his or her training program.

Athletes tend to prefer the task-oriented approach, because they can focus on one small part of training at a time. This reduces pressure on the athlete and makes training more enjoyable.

So, which is the better approach to training?

Athletes need to enjoy their training. They should want to work hard and push themselves to get the most out of their workouts. Highly motivated athletes train because they want to, not because they have to. The rewards for an athlete have to come from within, and enjoyment is the greatest motivation tool. A happy athlete is a committed athlete.

On the other hand, coaches want to see results. A coach needs to know how, and when, to adapt and change a program. The ability to measure an athlete's progress in training is important. Having goals clearly set is the primary aim for most coaches. Everything that guides them in their role is goal-oriented.

A balanced approach with clear communication is best. Athletes need to be given room to choose some of their tasks, ones they feel will benefit them in training. Coaches should allow the athletes to feed directly into their training programs. This introduces a fun element into the training.

Clear communication is most important. Both the coach and the athlete enter into a relationship with a common goal. There needs to be an understanding of what is needed and how it can be achieved. A good coach provides the motivation that will help athletes perform at their best. A good athlete is someone who is empowered enough to want to train, even when there is little or no extrinsic reward.

In summary, good coaches will help athletes achieve because they want to achieve—and because they enjoy what they do. Good athletes will work with their coaches to make sure they reach their potential. It's all about finding a balance.

LG Robinson
- Leigh Robinson is a veteran of the British Army and founding member of ATBRU Search & Rescue, the UK's first full mountain bike rescue team....
LG Robinson
- Leigh Robinson is a veteran of the British Army and founding member of ATBRU Search & Rescue, the UK's first full mountain bike rescue team....

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 70,557
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 19,026
Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 78,399
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

The interaction between a coach and an athlete is a very dynamic relationship. When you are involved as a coach in an athlete's life the complexity of...

4 Ways to Turn Mental Toughness Into Physical Toughness

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

Tips to Be a Better Leader

4 Tips for Building Confidence

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Make Goals, Not Deals

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

6 Ideas to Build a More Cohesive Team

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

3 Ways to Develop Your Football Warrior Mentality

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

A Coach Describes What It

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

So You Didn't Make the Team? 5 Ways to Move On

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Visualize Yourself Winning, and You're Halfway There

Don't Take Your Headphones to the Gym

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?