Causes and Consequences of Free-Set Goals: An Investigation of Athletic Self-Regulation

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This research examined free-set goals (FS goals) reported by wrestling camp participants. FS goals are goals as stated by those who are simply asked to report personal goals within a defined context. Because goal content is free to vary and is defined by the athletes themselves, it is argued that FS goals underlie self-regulation in sport. Preseason, season, and long-term FS goals reported by wrestlers were coded for difficulty and specificity. Predictors and outcomes drawn from goal theory research were related to FS goals set for the upcoming season. Prior performance experiences predicted FS season goals, and FS season goals predicted performance outcomes collected after the wrestling season. Unique to goal theory, FS goal specificity was as strongly related to performance as was FS goal difficulty. Findings are discussed in relation to athletes' self-regulation.

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Kane, Thomas D., Timothy R. Baltes, and Michael C. Moss. "Causes and consequences of free-set goals: An investigation of athletic self-regulation." Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 23, no. 1 (2001): 55-75.

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