The mastery approach to coaching is a cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to promote a mastery-involving motivational climate, shown in previous research to be related to lower anxiety in athletes. We tested the effects of this intervention on motivational climate and on changes in male and female athletes’ cognitive and somatic performance anxiety over the course of a basketball season. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed that the athletes in the intervention condition perceived their coaches as being more mastery-involving on the Motivational Climate Scale for Youth Sports when compared to athletes in an untreated control condition. Relative to athletes who played for untrained coaches, those who played for the trained coaches exhibited decreases on all subscales of the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 and on total anxiety score from preseason to late season. Control group athletes reported increases in anxiety over the season. The intervention had equally positive effects on boys and girls teams.
Smith and Smoll are with the Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-1525, and Cumming is now with the School for Health, University of Bath, Bath, England, BA2 7AY.