Youth sport is a source of well-being for adolescents, yet experiences vary and attrition can be high. We sought to better understand the coach behaviors that foster positive experiences in youth sport by examining relationships between the motivational climate and athlete engagement (viz., confidence, dedication, enthusiasm, and vigor). We reasoned that a mastery climate (emphasis on effort and learning) would correspond with higher engagement, whereas a performance climate (emphasis on ability and outcome) was expected to correspond with lower engagement. Two-hundred sixty adolescent soccer players completed measures of engagement and perceived coach motivational climate. All dimensions of engagement were positively predicted by a mastery climate. Furthermore, cognitive aspects of engagement were positively predicted by a performance climate. Canonical correlation analysis indicated that a composite of engagement was positively associated with a mastery climate. Results suggest that a mastery climate offers a means of promoting higher levels of overall engagement.
Thomas Curran is with the Department for Health, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, UK. Andrew P. Hill, Howard K. Hall, and Gareth E. Jowett are with the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, York St John University, York, UK.