We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effects of a self-determination theory-based intervention on athlete motivation and burnout. In addition, we examined the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. We randomly assigned youth Gaelic football coaches (N = 6) and their teams to an experimental or a delayed treatment control group (n = 3 each group). We employed linear mixed modeling to analyze changes in player motivation and burnout as a result of their coach participating in a 12-week SDT-based intervention. In addition, we conducted a fidelity assessment to examine whether the intervention was implemented as planned. The findings demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of implementing a self-determination theory-based intervention in the coaching domain. In addition, this study demonstrated favorable trends in the quality of player motivation and burnout symptoms as a result of an SDT-based intervention.
Langan and Lonsdale are with the University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Blake is with the University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. Toner is with the Dept. of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, Hull University, Hull, UK.