The impact of Butler and Hardy's (1992) performance profiling technique in sport
Weston, Neil J. V.
The primary aim of the present thesis was to gain an insight into the usefulness and potential impacts of producing individual athlete performance profiles within a group environment (Butler & Hardy, 1992). Given the limited, and mainly descriptive, profiling literature, a strong two-stage research design, adhering to many of Denzin's (1978) triangulation principles, examined the perceptions of the two primary user populations (sport psychologist and athlete). Firstly British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) accredited sport psychologists (n=6) were interviewed to provide an in depth understanding of the usefulness and impact of the technique. Higher order themes, obtained via an inductive content analysis of the interviews, were combined with a review of the literature to produce a quantitative questionnaire examining the perceptions of a large number of BASES accredited consultants (n=56). An investigation of athlete perceptions regarding the impact of the technique firstly involved employing the group performance profiling procedure (Butler & Hardy, 1992) on a male collegiate rugby union squad. Following the profiling session players (n=8) were randomly chosen and interviewed regarding their perceptions of the usefulness and impact of the technique. An inductive content analysis of the interviews produced a number of higher order themes that were combined with a review of the profiling literature to produce a quantitative questionnaire. Following the successful piloting of the questionnaire ten group performance profiling sessions were performed with a variety of sports teams. On completion of the profiling sessions athletes (n=191) were asked to complete the questionnaire to help ascertain what athletes perceived to be the most important impacts of performance profiling within a group environment. Inspection of both the consultant and athlete responses to the qualitative and quantitative procedures indicated that group profiling is useful in increasing athlete self awareness, evaluating performance, as a basis for goal setting, and enhancing communication and interaction both within teams and between athlete and coach. In addition, both consultants and athletes believed that performance profiling within a group environment would help to improve athlete intrinsic motivation. Hence the final study examined experimentally the impact of repeated group performance profiling on athletes' intrinsic motivation. Results showed that profiling on three occasions within a competitive season is useful in significantly improving athlete intrinsic motivation. The findings provide empirical support for Butler and Hardy's (1992) suggestion that performance profiling would positively influence athlete intrinsic motivation.
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