Effects of a Motivational Climate Intervention for Coaches on Changes in Young Athletes’ Achievement Goal Orientations

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology

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Frank L. SmollUniversity of Washington

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Ronald E. SmithUniversity of Washington

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Sean P. CummingUniversity of Bath

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Mastery-oriented motivational climates and achievement goal orientations have been associated with a range of salutary and clinically relevant outcomes in both educational and sport research. In view of this, an intervention was developed for youth sport coaches designed to promote a mastery motivational climate, and a field experiment was conducted to assess its effects on changes in athletes’ achievement goal orientations over the course of a sport season. The experimental group was comprised of 155 boys and girls, who played for 20 basketball coaches; 70 youngsters played for 17 control group coaches. The coach intervention resulted in higher Mastery-climate scores and lower Ego-climate scores compared with the control condition, and athletes who played for the trained coaches exhibited significant increases in Mastery goal orientation scores and significant decreases in Ego-orientation scores across the season, whereas control group participants did not. Practical and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.

Smoll and Smith are with the Dept of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, E-mail: smoll@u.washington.edu; resmith@u.washington.edu. Cumming is with the School for Health, University of Bath, Bath, England BA2 7AY, E-mail: s.cumming@bath.ac.uk.

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