Ibero-American Journal of Exercise and Sports Psychology



Luis García y Clersida García

The purpose of this project has been to set up a two-phase longitudinal study using a qualitative methodology of field observation (Erickson, 1986). More specifically, the purpose has been to understand how is self-esteem in 6-8 years-old children, who participate in a sports skills learning program. Eighteen boys and 14 girls participated on it. To understand how self-esteem works once they play with others and learn sports skills, we set the following questions: How 6-8 years-old children behave when participate in a program of sports skills development?; Are there standards interactions between how they perceive themselves and their skills?, If so, how are they? Are thee some interactions between children and their learning?, If so, how are they? Data was determined from three main sources: the notes from field observations, documents such as videos, photos, Harter (1981) questionnaire and fundamental motor skills testes using the analysis of the boy total configuration (Haubenstricker, Seefeldt, Fountain e Sapp, 1981); formal and informal interviews with children and parents. The results were analysed using inductive processes and compared to verify its validity. From this analysis, appeared five orientations, three of them characterized the groups of boys and two the group of girls. 1) Boys with high competitive orientation and high self-esteem, 2) boys with high competitive orientation and low self-esteem, 3) boys with low competitive orientation and low self-esteem, and the girls were grouped as: 4) girls with high competitive orientation and high self-esteem, 5) girls with low competitive orientation and low self-esteem. In conclusion, it was depicted that there are a reciprocal interaction between motor skills learning, the group social interaction, motor abilities and the learner self-esteem. Boys with excessive competitive orientation find difficulties to learn new skills or sports. The excessive and continuous comparisons and competition is harmful since these boys tend to judge themselves relating victories and defeats. Boys with high competitive orientation and low motor skills and a false self-esteem suffer a lot, show difficult to learn, stay alone and get frustrated when they do succeed, and frequently experiment situations of failure. Children who recognize that they do not have motor skills that are not competent, and have a low self-esteem are not motivated in learning. The interaction between girls with high competitive orientation and high self-esteem seems to be healthier. These girls know they were good, competitive and have a high self-esteem, however they also know how to cooperate. Moreover, this study showed that parents are receptive and know how to accept the reality of their children and that they have to support and facilitate the development and learning of them.


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