Assessment has always fascinated me. As a high schooler I loved the self-tests in Teen Vogue. However, these tests gave a score attached to a certain meaning but offered no assistance in making changes if results were undesirable. As a sport psychology consultant taking such results one step further with interventions or teaching skills to improve the client’s life is a key part of our role and to our success in this field. How would the Sport Motivation Scale be used in our work?

A test like the SMS might help us understand the client and their values better. If results show the client ranks high on external regulation, do we encourage them to cultivate more intrinsic forms of motivation in their current domain (e. g., find a new team or coach, how and when to practice, etc.) or challenge them to discover new activities that fit with their values and goals? If a client sees these results will this cause more stress or anxiety or even become a self-fulfilling prophecy? We could also work with the coach and team to provide an environment and feedback that promotes more intrinsic forms of motivation. Another usage of the SMS is to predict other behaviors or traits, for example, those with scores indicating greater intrinsic motivation report greater amounts of Flow and correlate with higher scores on a Flourishing scale. This test may be just the impetus to demonstrate to the athlete that their situation or approach requires some change to achieve the desired level of performance and satisfaction from their sport.

Furthermore, we used the SMS-28 in spite of a new revised six-factor scale (SMS-6) that was introduced in 2007 (Mallett, Kawabata, Newcombe, Otero-Forero & Jackson). This version addresses previous concerns about the model fit with self-determination theory but is problematic in other areas (i.e., indentified regulation items are lacking in discriminant validity). As a practitioner, should we be concerned about using the most current version of an assessment or if the version we use gives insight into the client, is that satisfactory? Ultimately, assessment usage including the SMS comes back to being competent, ethical, and doing our best to serve the client’s needs.

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