Describe the definition of motivation, mention various reaso…

Describe the definition of motivation, mention various reasons for engaging in an physical activity and finally define some (2-3) strategies that can positively affect students’ motivations in Physical Education. References: 6-8 Word count: 1000 Referencing style: APA


Motivation plays a crucial role in determining an individual’s engagement and persistence in physical activity. Defined as the psychological process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-directed behavior, motivation is critical in promoting physical activity participation and adherence (Ryan & Deci, 2000). This paper aims to provide a comprehensive definition of motivation, explore the various reasons for engaging in physical activity, and discuss strategies that can positively affect students’ motivations in physical education.

Definition of Motivation

Motivation can be broadly defined as the driving force behind an individual’s behavior, leading them to take action towards achieving a desired outcome or goal. It encompasses both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence behavior (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Intrinsic motivation refers to engaging in an activity for the inherent satisfaction and enjoyment it provides, while extrinsic motivation involves participation driven by external rewards or avoidance of punishment (Vallerand, 1997).

Motivation in Physical Activity

There are numerous reasons why individuals choose to engage in physical activity. These reasons can be categorized into various domains, including health-related, social, psychological, and performance-related factors. Health-related motivations encompass the desire to enhance physical health, maintain a healthy weight, prevent chronic diseases, and improve overall well-being (Buckworth & Dishman, 2002). Physical activity has been linked to numerous health benefits, such as reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and improved mental health (Caspersen, Powell, & Christensen, 1985).

Social motivations refer to the desire to interact with others, form social connections, and gain social approval through participation in physical activity. Engaging in group-based activities, sports teams, or fitness classes allows individuals to build relationships, develop a sense of belongingness, and experience social support (Gillison, Standage, & Skevington, 2006). Physical activity can serve as a platform for individuals to connect with others who share similar interests and goals, facilitating the development of social networks.

Psychological motivations are related to the psychological benefits associated with physical activity participation. These benefits include enhanced self-esteem, improved mood, reduced stress, and increased self-efficacy (Biddle & Mutrie, 2001). Engaging in regular physical activity has been found to positively impact mental health by reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and promoting psychological well-being (Craft & Perner, 2004). The positive psychological outcomes associated with physical activity can serve as powerful motivators for individuals to engage in regular exercise.

Performance-related motivations refer to the desire to improve physical fitness, enhance athletic abilities, or achieve specific performance goals. Individuals with a competitive nature may be motivated to participate in physical activity to excel in sports or achieve personal fitness milestones. Setting goals and tracking progress can provide individuals with a sense of achievement and motivation to continue engaging in physical activity (Locke & Latham, 1990).

Strategies to Enhance Motivation in Physical Education

In order to promote motivation in physical education settings, it is crucial to employ strategies that tap into intrinsic motivation and fulfill the psychological needs of students. The following strategies have been found to positively affect students’ motivations in physical education:

1. Providing autonomy support: Autonomy support refers to the provision of choice and ownership in decision-making processes. Giving students the freedom to choose activities, set personal goals, and make decisions regarding their physical education experiences can enhance their intrinsic motivation (Standage, Duda, & Ntoumanis, 2005). Teachers can incorporate opportunities for student choice and autonomy within the curriculum, allowing students to select activities that align with their interests and preferences.

2. Creating a mastery-oriented climate: A mastery-oriented climate focuses on the development of skills, effort, and personal improvement rather than comparison with others or the emphasis on winning or losing (Dweck, 1999). Teachers can promote a mastery-oriented climate by providing constructive feedback, emphasizing effort and improvement, and creating opportunities for success and skill development. Cultivating a supportive and non-judgmental environment can enhance students’ intrinsic motivation and promote a growth mindset.


Motivation is a key factor in promoting physical activity participation and adherence in individuals. Understanding the various reasons individuals engage in physical activity and employing strategies to enhance motivation in physical education settings can have a positive impact on students’ engagement and persistence in physical activity. Providing autonomy support and creating a mastery-oriented climate are two strategies that can effectively enhance intrinsic motivation and fulfill the needs of students in physical education. By promoting motivation in physical activity, educators and practitioners can contribute to the development of active and healthy individuals.