The effect of personal goals and goal commitment on volleyball players

Por: A. Patsiaouras, C. H. Mouzakidis, H. Krommidas, K. Galeas e Yannis Theodorakis.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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There is a great number of studies in physical education and sport, which support the effectiveness      of goal setting theory in various settings. Some of these studies have shown that goal setting  (2, 5, 6) and goal commitment (1, 6) positively affect performance. However, the findings concerning the effectiveness of goals in sport and exercise settings have been equivocal and inconsistent. Other studies have failed to find differences in performance between groups who set specific goals, no goals or " do your best" goals (3). The present study was designed to examine the effect of personal goals and goal commitment on volleyball players.


Sample and Procedure  

Forty (N=40) volleyball players (21 male and 19 female), 19 to 34 year of age (M=24,18, S.D.=3,90), voluntarily participated in an experiment. Subjects performed twenty trials of a specific service task (4). After the tenth trial, subjects set personal goals and the psychological variable of goal commitment was measured.


Goal commitment. Goal commitment was assessed with a nine-item scale (1). The Greek version of the Goals Commitment Inventory (6), was used in the present study. Subjects rated their commitment to their goals by using a scale that ranged from   0 (uncertain) to 10 (certain). An item example is: " I am strongly committed to pursuit this goal". Cronbach alphas were .73 and .79 respectively.

Performance. An accuracy test  (4) was used to measure the performance of volleyball players (a=.84). The scores that subjects achieved during the first ten trials were used as performance 1 variable and the scores after personal goal setting were used as performance 2 variable.


T-test analysis showed that the performance of volleyball players was significantly better after the personal goal setting (t39= -2.409, p< .05). There was no difference in performance between volleyball athletes with low or high commitment (t38= 1.118, p>.05).

Discussion / Conclusions

The results showed that personal goals setting, but not goal commitment, enhance performance in  sport and exercise. In other study (6) it was indicated that personal goals and goal commitment are  significant determinants of performance in a sport setting. The present study provided support only for the role of personal goals in the performance of volleyball players.  Additional studies with alternate tasks and with designs in experimental and sport specific field settings are necessary. It seems that a number of other variables interact between goal setting and performance. These variables are self-efficacy, self-satisfaction, ability and goal commitment. Future studies should explore the paths between all these variables.



[1]. Hollenbeck, J., Williams, C., & Klein, H. (1989). An empirical examination of the antecedents of commitment to difficult goals. Journal of Applied Psychology,74, 18-23.

[2]. Lerner, B.S., & Locke, E.A. (1995). The effects of goal setting, self-efficacy, competition and personal traits on the performance of an endurance task. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 17,1138-152.

[3]. Miller, J., & Mc Auley, E. (1987). Effects of goal setting training program on basketball free throw self-efficacy and performance. The Sport Psychologist, 1, 103-113.

[4]. Russel, N., & Lange, E. (1940). Achievement tests in volleyball for high school girls. Research Quarterly, 11, No4: 33.

[5]. Theodorakis, Y. (1995). Effects of self-efficacy, satisfaction and personal goals on swimming performance. The Sport Psychologist, 9, 245-253.

[6]. Theodorakis, Y. (1996). The influence of goals, commitment, self-efficacy and self-satisfaction on motor performance. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 8, 171-182.




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