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A qualitative investigation of the motivational climate in elite sport

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journal contribution
posted on 16.03.2015, 16:14 authored by Richard J. Keegan, Chris HarwoodChris Harwood, Christopher SprayChristopher Spray, David E. Lavallee
Objectives: This study examined the construction of the motivational climate surrounding elite sports performers by investigating the behaviours of coaches, peers and parents that were perceived to be motivationally relevant by elite athletes. Design: Qualitative – inductive. Method: Twenty-eight national, international and world-class athletes (15–29 years old) took part in semi-structured focus groups and interviews investigating how they believe coaches, parents, and peers influence their motivation. Results: An inductive content analysis indicated that elite athletes perceived a multitude of motivationally-relevant social cues. Coaches and peers were reported to be focal influences, whilst the role of parents appeared to be limited to emotional and moral support. Themes of feedback/evaluation, and pre-performance motivating behaviours were common to all social agents, whereas only the coach–athlete and peer–athlete relationships appeared to be important in moderating and directly influencing motivation towards sport. The influences of social agents related to the specific roles they performed in the athlete's life: instruction and leadership for coaches; emotional support, collaborative and/or competitive behaviours for peers, and for parents, a diminished role relative to when the athletes were younger. Conclusions: A central finding of the paper is that there was no discernible one-to-one correspondence between specific behaviours and their impact on motivation. Instead, the findings suggest complex contextual interactions between the immediate behaviours of social agents and the impact on the athlete's motivation. If supported, this finding would necessitate new and novel approaches in future research in order to facilitate a more advanced understanding of athlete motivation in elite sport.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

PSYCHOLOGY OF SPORT AND EXERCISE

Volume

15

Issue

1

Pages

97 - 107 (11)

Citation

KEEGAN, R.J. ... et al, 2014. A qualitative investigation of the motivational climate in elite sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15 (1), pp.97-107.

Publisher

Elsevier Ltd (© the authors)

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

Publication date

2014

Notes

This paper was published by Elsevier as Open Access under a CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 licence.

ISSN

1469-0292

Language

en