Picking Teams: Motivational Effects of Team Selection Strategies in Physical Education


  • David Barney Brigham Young University
  • Keven A. Prusak Brigham Young University
  • Zack Beddoes University of Texas
  • Dennis Eggett Brigham Young University




Motivation, Junior High Physical Education, Picking Teams


The tacitly sanctioned practice of publicly picking teams in physical education has been categorized as instructionally inappropriate, yet its practice persists. Therefore, the purpose of this two-study article was to examine its effects on achievement goals orientations and motivational profiles of male junior high school physical education students (n = 233). Students were assigned to one of two conditions (publicly picked teams or confidential draft) in four sports and across four trials. Unexpectedly, findings revealed no significant differences between groups across sports or within trials in (a) goals orientation or (b) self-determined motivation. However, follow-up interviews revealed insights into (a) selection motives, (b) differentiation in conceptions of abilities, and (c) a sense of empathy for peers vulnerable to the practice. Despite nonsignificant findings in survey results, the qualitative data revealed nuances associated with this practice that have allowed us to make specific recommendations against the continued use of this practice.

Author Biographies

David Barney, Brigham Young University

Dr. Barney has taught in higher education for the past 14 years (North Dakota State University, Oklahoma State University and Brigham Young University). He also taught in the public school for 5 years in Utah and Florida.

Keven A. Prusak, Brigham Young University

Dr. Prusak has taught in higher education for 15 years (Minot State University and Brigham Young University). He also taught in the public schools for 11 years.

Zack Beddoes, University of Texas

Currently Zack is working on his doctoral degree at the University of Texas.  Zack taught in the public schools for 8 years.

Dennis Eggett, Brigham Young University

Dennis is an associate professor in the Statistics department at BYU.