Youth Athletes' Motivation, Perceived Competence, and Persistence in Organized Team Sports

Rottensteiner, Christoph; Tolvanen, Asko; Laakso, Lauri; Konttinen, Niilo
December 2015
Journal of Sport Behavior;Dec2015, Vol. 38 Issue 4, p432
Academic Journal
The aim of the present study was to combine the tenets of achievement goal theory and self-determination theory to examine motivational antecedents to sustained participation in youth sports. A prospective design was applied in this study to assess athletes 'participation behavior in organized sport. A sample of 1962 team players, aged 14-15 years completed the Perception of Success Questionnaire, the Perceived Physical Competence Scale, and the Sport Motivation Scale. Structural equation modelling analyses revealed that players' task orientation, as well as ego orientation strengthened players' perception of competence. Players with higher perceived competence reported higher levels of relative autonomous motivation toward soccer, ice hockey, and basketball than the players with lower competence. Finally, players with higher levels of relative autonomous motivation indicated greater persistence in organized sports than those players who reported lower levels of relative autonomous motivation. The present model offers information on how young athletes' goal orientations and perceived competence predict different degrees of relative autonomous motivation and persistence in organized youth sports. In addition, the findings underline that achievement goals are essential prerequisite for the development of a young athlete, and it is crucial to keep young athletes motivated to sustain participation in sports.


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