Motivation in Youth Sport




Place: Aud innsikt

Formal title

Motivation in youth sport: A study of athletes' motivation, perceptions of coach behavior, self-perceptions, affective responses and behavior


The aim of this project was to contribute to the research area of youth sport motivation by looking at potential nuances in relationships that have received empirical support previously. Specifically, the focus was on the relationship between youth athletes' motivation and various outcomes, but also how perceptions of coach behavior are related to that motivation.


Around 1900 players between 11 and 15 years of age, from different parts of Norway participated in the project. The participants responded to standardized questionnaires measuring aspects relating to coach behavior, motivation and various outcomes. In 2014, an additional 500 girls who participated in handball and football responded to the same questionnaire, as a part of a UEFA project looking specifically at girls in football. 


Findings from paper one support the idea of investigating the combination of achievement goal orientation and motivational regulation, suggesting that both may be important for positive self-perceptions.

Paper two suggests that the relationship between one type of coach behavior and motivation may vary as a function of another type of coach behavior. It speaks to the importance of taking a multi-dimensional perspective on coach behavior, and perhaps moving away from the parsimonious models that have ruled the research literature for a long time.

In paper three, autonomy satisfaction, but not relatedness and competence, was associated with positive residual change in the frequency of additional soccer activity outside of the team context across the season, indicating the energizing value of autonomy.

The results from paper four showed that coach-team perceptual distance in regard to the coach-created motivational climate existed, suggesting that not all coaches are aware of how the motivational climate they create is perceived by the athletes. Furthermore, when there was coach-team perceptual disagreement, it was relatively more detrimental in terms of outcomes when the coach reported a lower level of a performance climate or a higher level of a mastery climate compared the team, than with the opposite pattern. 

The PAPA project was funded by European Commission's Seventh Framework Program FP7/2007-2013 under the grant number 223600

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