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Case Study in Motivation 1

Andrew Borriello

EDU 615, Motivational Theroy: Module 8

Case Study in Motivation
April 26, 2014
Andrew Borriello
University of New England

Case Study in Motivation 2

Andrew Borriello

Student Athlete: DM


DM is an Advanced Proficiency (AP) student who is able to get As without

exerting himself. His parents are immigrants from Russia and I would consider his
family to be lower middle class. They live in a modest town house. He has an older
brother who attends Rutgers University. DM is a three sport Varsity Athlete: football,
wrestling, and lacrosse. His parents are involved and typically show up to most of his
games. His is one of the best athletes I have ever coached and works hard
athletically. He is a senior who will be attending Seton Hall University in the fall.
He has been playing lacrosse since freshman year.
It is difficult for DM to invest a lot of time into one sport. He plays a different
sport every season, and cannot play on the off-season teams and in the leagues that
other players typically participate in. However, he is playing at a high level and his
time spent competing in other sports will help him improve at lacrosse.


As gifted as DM is, his attitude and work ethic during practice is poor. He frequently
acts childish and doesnt take practice seriously. He is not a good role model to the
younger players during practice. Before games he has his headphones on and doesnt
speak to anyone. Because he is not as invested in the program as other players, his
lack of focus during practice is believed to be caused by apathy. His team mates

Case Study in Motivation 3

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believe that he does not care about the success of the team. He would rather have a
good time then have a winning record.
However, during games he is the opposite. He is focused and plays with
intensity. The younger players look to him for encouragement and leadership when
game situations get tough. He plays unselfishly and with passion that is contagious.
During games his competitiveness shows, and the other players feed off of it.
The problem is; it is difficult to run an effective practice that will prepare players
for game speed if they dont move at game speed. With DM refusing to work hard
and fooling around at practice, other players feed off of that negative behavior as
well. The ones who are disturbed by DM are more focused on his negative behavior
then what they need to be doing to improve. DM is a distraction, but if he were able
to act the same way he does during games, during practice, he could be one of the
best players I have ever coached.


Effective Strategies:
Expectancy-Value Theory is when a person weighs out the task at hand with the value
they have for it (Anderman, 6). DM exhibits Expectancy-Value Theory. He ways
weighs out the value of each the task. DM missed practice Saturday morning, and I
feel he did do it on purpose. I dont feel he wanted to get up early to be at practice
and weighed the consequences of not being there and decided he would not go. The
consequence is missing the next scrimmage and I feel he doesnt feel it is that big of a
deal. I need to make sure he understands the value of what we did Saturday. I will
also make sure he knows the consequences will be much greater if this happens again.

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After being benched for the scrimmage, I didnt believe DM understood that this
type of behavior (missing practice, not taking practice seriously) will have a negative
effect on the team. I pulled him into the office and had a great conversation. I
explained that his actions during practice are having a negative effect on the teams
progress. The younger players cannot get their skills where they need to be if we do
not work hard as a team. DM as senior, needs to lead the effort during practice, not
destroy it. I still wasnt sure if I had the effect I needed, but that was his warning.
For a few practices DM showed improvement, and the practice intensity
increased. I did my best to make every drill a competition, and because of this DM
saw value in the drills. He was a competitor and wanted to win. I would reward the
winning team with a little less conditioning. This forces DM to compete, and when
DM competes, he wants to win.
We lost our first game, but played well. We won our next two, but DM began
falling back into old habits: letting other players go ahead of him in drills, not
practicing at game speed, and fooling around. During this time, other players began
to improve. In our next game, I moved DM down the depth chart to more of a
substitute position. We still won. DM did not say anything. Next practice he was
even worst. He knew he was being held accountable for his actions, but instead of
rising to the challenge he handled it immaturely and did even less in practice. I
refused to acknowledge him, and did not reprimand him during practice. After
practice I pulled him into the office and explained that he needs to see the value in
practice and his spot was in jeopardy. I benched him the next game.
Finally, DM has been consistently working hard in practice. He has been a leader
not only during games, but at practice as well. His attitude has improved dramatically,
and consequently he has regained his starting spot. We are currently 9-1 and have

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secured our position as regular season champions. We are about two weeks away
from playoffs and are first seed going into the tournament. DM is a big part of this
DM needs to see the value in anything that he does in order for him to put force a
good effort. I tried to explain to him that practice had value, but just explaining did
not have a lasting impact. So I made the connection between practice effort and
playing time. The reward for practicing hard was the opportunity to play in games.
My Athletic Director once told me the greatest motivator is the bench and that was
my strategy. The strategy that did not work, was trying to level with him. Explaining
the there is value in practice did not last long, but showing him by moving him down
the depth chart and other players up the depth chart while still winning showed him
that there is value in practicing at full speed.
I would recommend that DM teachers must grade him hard in the beginning of the
marking period. He needs to be challenged. If he is given good grades without trying
he will coast through. However, if he is challenged he will rise to the challenge
because he is a competitor. I strongly suggest differentiated instruction. In order for
him to maximize his potential, he needs to be challenged. He is capable of leading a

group, and when given the opportunity will rise to the challenge.
This opportunity has helped a lot. DM was not an easy player to coach. He is
very intelligent and athletic, and knows it. However, just because they are above
average without trying, doesnt mean an educator should not try to maximize their
potential. Motivating this type of player/student is not easy, but the ExpectancyValue Theory is a great tool in motivation. It is important to remember it may not be

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enough to explain the value of assignments, homework, tests, drills, or practice; you
find a way to show the importance.
Showing the importance of hard work and more importantly that hard work pays
off has emerged to me as being important to all students/players. I had the
opportunity to show the entire team that hard work pays off when other players
moved up the depth and starters moved down when they didnt work hard. That
proved to be an important motivator to the entire team, and shows in our record.
Anderman, E. M., & Anderman, L. H. (2010). Classroom motivation (2nd Edition ed.).
Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.