The main purpose of this study was to examine the links of coach-athlete relationship (CAR) and perceived coach-created motivational climate to persistence in youth sport. A total of 1692 persistent and 543 withdrawn football, ice hockey, and basketball players, aged 15–16 years, completed the Coach-Athlete Relationship Questionnaire and the Perceived Motivational Climate Sport Questionnaire. Results indicated that persistent players reported higher scores in CAR and task-climate than withdrawn players. Persistent players also represented higher competition level, higher amount of training, and more years of involvement in sport than withdrawn players. Cluster analysis identified three profiles: 1) High CAR, high task climate, and moderate ego climate, 2) Moderate CAR, moderate task climate, and moderate ego climate, and 3) Low CAR, low task climate, and high ego climate. Differences between profiles were found in terms of relative proportion of continuing players, competition level, and amount of training. In all, Profile 1 appeared to be the most beneficial from the perspective of sport persistence. The present findings lend support for the view that coach-athlete relationship and motivational climate together can have implications for young athletes’ maintenance in organized sports.
Christoph Rottensteiner is currently writing a PhD at the University of Jyväskylä on young athletes’ participation process in organized youth sports. His studies are pursued in cooperation with a research project from KIHU Research Institute for Olympic Sports. He holds a master’s degree in sport science and physical education and is a certified national strength and conditional coach.
Emeritus Professor Lauri Laakso has been the former head of the Department of Sport Science at the University of Jyväsyklä. He has published many articles related to youth physical activity in Finland. He has been one of the pioneers in sport pedagogy and board member of different sport organizations in Finland.
Niilo Konttinen (Ph.D., Docent) works as the head of the behavioral sciences in the KIHU–Research Institute for Olympic Sports, Jyväskylä, Finland. He has a long experience of working as a consulting psychologist in Finnish national teams (senior and youth) in 25 different sports. His recent areas of academic interest in sport and exercise psychology have included psycho-social aspects in youth sport, including issues like motivation and sports participation process.