“I Don’t Want to Give Them My Brain for the Day . . . and Then Take It Back”: An Examination of the Coach-Created Motivational Climate in Adult Adventure Sports

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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In contrast to cross-sectional age trends of declining adult participation in sport, engagement in adventure sports is increasing among adults. The coach may have an important role to play in shaping the motivational climate to encourage and retain participants in adventure sport. The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth examination of the coach-created motivational climate in noncompetition focused adult adventure sport by adopting a multiple methods approach. The study was grounded in a multidimensional theoretical perspective that combines achievement goal theory and self-determination theory. Questionnaires, interviews, and observations of coaching sessions were employed to assess coaches’ (N = 6), participants’ (N = 25), and observers’ perspectives on the empowering and disempowering nature and features of coaching sessions. Analysis of the data demonstrated consistent views that the coaches created a strongly empowering and only weakly disempowering climate. Insight was gained about why and how coaches created this climate, as well as the challenges they experienced in maintaining an empowering climate for adults in adventure sport contexts. The place of structure, control, relatedness support, and coaches’ philosophies are discussed.

Cooper is with the National Outdoor Training Centre, Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, Scotland, United Kingdom. Allen is with the Faculty of Health Sciences & Sport, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Allen (justine.allen@stir.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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