Junior female ice hockey players' social and psychological needs within their motivational domains

Фотографии: 

N.G. Gaifullina1
O.A. Makarova1
PhD, Associate Professor G.M. Ljdokova1
1
Yelabuga branch of Kazan Federal University, Yelabuga

Keywords: women’s ice hockey, motivation, socio-psychological needs, sport motivation.

Background. Women’s ice hockey in Russia is increasingly popular nowadays just as in many other countries. Modern ice hockey is ranked among the highly aggressive sport disciplines of high demand for both physical (including overall endurance, strength, speed and coordination) and mental (willpower, determination, courage, tenacity) qualities of the players; with female players currently largely exposed to much the same stresses as men. This modern global trend for women’s emancipation has come to the point where ice hockey is no more considered a purely men’s sport discipline [5]. The Russian national ice hockey training systems and services, however, have always been dominated by male ones and have little if any experience in the female players’ training domain. Why than girls choose this particular sport discipline?

Having analyzed the available reference literature on the subject to obtain background data on the junior ice hockey players’ motivations, we would classify the relevant topics as follows: matters related to the motivations building for systemic sporting practices [3]; correlations of motivations with physical fitness rates of junior ice hockey prospects [2]; success motivations and locus control (Bocharov, 2013); and motivations for choosing an ice hockey group [6]. It should be noted that every of the above studies considers only male ice hockey players; whilst the mental backgrounds of the women’s ice hockey have been somewhat analyzed for the adult groups only. That was the reason for us to consider the motivations of underage female ice hockey players in this study.

It is common knowledge that children are lured in the sport by the following: physical motivations including the natural need for activity and physical development; mental motivations including positive emotions caused by sport practices, competitive accomplishments and growing self-esteem; social motivations including the need for recognition and respect from their peers and authoritative adults; and financial motivations including bonuses for competitive accomplishments.

A study report by V.V. Filatov [7], for instance, gives the following dominating reasons for the 6-7 year-olds to choose ice hockey: natural need for physical activity; emotional appeal of the sport discipline as such; and the family’s support in the education and training process. Many other researchers also give a special priority to the age- and physiology-specific need for a good physical activity in the pool of motivations.

Based on the background data analysis, we assumed that junior female ice hockey players might be in need of their ‘manliness’ being offset by the relevant socio-psychological accommodation factors as they face a variety of social problems in contacts with the same-sex peers and adults due to their higher demand for physical activity. This was the reason for us to make a special emphasis on the socio-psychological needs dominating in the junior female players.

Objective of the study was to analyze motivational agendas of the junior (7-10 year-old) female ice hockey players.

Methods and structure of the study. Subject to the study were junior (7-10 year-old) female ice hockey players (n=20) and their families, with the sport experiences of the players varying broadly from 3 months to 3 years. The girls’ and families’ motivations profiling data were obtained by a questionnaire survey and tests including the Dembo-Rubinstein self-esteem test. The survey and test data were analyzed versus the data found in the coaches’ interviews.

Study results and discussion. It should be noted that the underage people’s motivations are more often than not dominated by different external factors of influence, with the sport group choice often dictated by the family’s predispositions and current popularity of one or another sport discipline; and with the coach often playing one of the key roles – when, for instance, he/she agrees with the families in the basic values building concepts plus prudent and effective enough in motivating the child for the sporting lifestyle with its values and potential competitive accomplishments [4]. That is the reason why the family motivations shall be duly analyzed and taken into account when children’s motivations are concerned. The family motivation under the study were profiled by a set of questions on the individual preferences for ice hockey, personality qualities of the girls, and their expectations from the training process and future competitions.

The questionnaire survey data showed that the choice of ice hockey was 40%, 40% and 15% due to the father’s, girl’s own or mother’s influence/ decision, respectively, with 5% of the sample being uncertain on the point. Furthermore, the reasons for choosing ice hockey were ranked by the families as follows: women’s ice hockey is a rare and curious sport discipline (65%); it is a highly reputable sport (60%); ice hockey goes with my child much better than other sports (45%); an older child in the family is successful in the ice hockey group (40%) etc. On the whole, families were found to give a higher priority to the social appeals of modern ice hockey, with the motivations related to the child’s own needs ranked only the third on the motivations list.

It was also found that the families expect that the group ice hockey practices will help their child: develop determination for success (100% of the sample); win respect and recognition of the peers (80%); step up the attention focusing ability (75%); satisfy the natural need for physical activity and progress (70%); win respect and appreciation of close adults including families, teachers, relatives etc. (65%); learn to cope with failures (60%); have their uniqueness and leadership being recognized by the peers (60%); cope with shyness (55%); master their self-protection skills (45%); get rid of anxiety and develop some courage (40%) etc.

Having analyzed the hierarchy of family expectations, we found that their daughters are generally expected to evolve in highly ambitious personalities capable of attaining high goals, reputable in the peer subcultures and respected by adults. They want their peers to appreciate the girl’s successes, respect her opinions and rank her high in the group; and they also believe that the ice hockey practices will help develop the attention focusing abilities in the child.

The questionnaire survey data and analysis showed the junior female players being well socially adapted to both school and ice hockey team environments. They report feeling comfortable in their classes (100% of the sample), often praised by class teachers (90%), pleased by the team spirit in their ice hockey teams and competitive successes (100%) and having good support from the coaches (80%). In their peer contacts, the female ice hockey players prefer playing with the same-sex children.

The question “Who do you prefer to play with: boys or girls?” was responded as follows: 70% of the female players prefer girls; 20% like playing with boys as much as with girls; and only 10% prefer playing with boys. It may also be said with confidence that even the physically strongest and most active girls are tested to psychologically progress within the feminine type.

The self-esteem rating survey found the whole sample having high self-esteem (100%), with all of them inclined to overestimate their own intellectual abilities, personality qualities and appearance – that may be explained by the age-specific superficiality.

In the family questionnaire survey, the respondents were offered to rate the positive and negatives traits of their daughters. The positive traits were ranked as follows: activity, determination, diligence, insistence (45% of the family sample); kindness, sympathy (40%); responsibility, open-mindedness, friendliness (35%); courage, liveliness (30%) etc. The negative traits were listed as follows: impatience, stubbornness (40%); arrogance, egoism, intolerance to criticism (25%).

The study found certain matches in the family and children’s reported expectations from the sport and in the personality quality rates; with the families obviously and naturally striving to develop the inborn positive traits of their children. There are also some matches in ratings of the socio-psychological needs by the children and their families, with the female players giving a high priority to the external motivations including the need for approval from respected adults and peers; need for communication; and need for their uniqueness being recognized. On the whole, children tend to accept and advance the values and motivations cultivated in their families, and this is the reason why the players’ motivations were found to generally agree with their family motivations.

Conclusion. The study data were found to run counter to our prior assumption that the junior female ice hockey players might be in need of their ‘manliness’ being offset by the relevant socio-psychological accommodation factors as they face social problems in contacts with the same-sex peers and adults due to their higher demand for physical activity.

References

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Corresponding author: ng.gaifullina@gmail.com

Abstract

Objective of the study was to analyze motivational agendas of junior (7-10 year-old) female ice hockey players (n=20) with the influences and contributions of their family members (n=20). The players’ socio-psychological needs were studied within their motivational domains using the relevant questionnaire survey and test methods. Motivational domains of this age group are often currently determined by a variety of external influences. The players’ families more often than not appreciate the growing prestige and popularity of the modern ice hockey in the first place and consider the actual needs and expectations of their children in the second place. In the hierarchy of family expectations, the daughters are generally viewed as the highly ambitious personalities reputable in their peer subcultures and respected by adults. A questionnaire survey data and analysis showed the female players being well socially adapted to both school and ice hockey team environments. They report feeling comfortable at their classes, often praised by class teachers, pleased by the team spirit in their ice hockey teams and competitive successes and having good support from the coaches. In their peer contacts, the female ice hockey players prefer playing with the same-sex children and tested to psychologically progress within the feminine type. The study found certain matches of a variety of socio-psychological needs in the children and their families including the last for success; need for approval from respected adults and peers; and the need for their uniqueness to be recognized. Therefore, the study data were found to run counter to our prior assumption that the junior female ice hockey players might be in need of their ‘manliness’ being offset by the relevant socio-psychological accommodation factors as they face a variety of social problems in contacts with the same-sex peers and adults due to their higher demand for physical activity.