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Understanding the Relationship Between Coaches’ Basic Psychological Needs and Identity Prominence and Their Commitment, Positive Affect, and Intentions to Persist

Jacquelyn Paige Pope and Craig Hall

This study tested the degree to which coaches’ basic psychological need fulfillment and identity prominence were associated with their positive affect, commitment, and intentions to persist. In total, 413 coaches with an average of 14 years’ experience served as participants and completed an online survey that included six sections: Demographics, basic psychological needs, identity prominence, positive affect, commitment, and intentions to persist. The present study findings provide initial support for the links from coaches’ basic psychological needs and identity prominence to their positive affect and commitment. In contrast, the findings did not provide support for the relationship between coaches’ basic psychological need fulfillment and their intentions to persist or the association between their identity prominence and intentions to persist. The results offer an explanation of the mechanisms that may play a role in facilitating coaches’ optimal functioning.

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Why Do Athletes Remain Committed to Sport After Severe Injury? An Examination of the Sport Commitment Model

Melissa Mae Iñigo, Leslie Podlog, and Morgan S. Hall

The purpose of this study was to examine athletes’ sources of commitment to return to sport following a severe injury using the Sport Commitment Model (Scanlan, Carpenter, Schmidt, Simons, & Keeler, 1993). To address this aim, ten varsity athletes from the University of the Philippines Diliman were interviewed following protocols outlined in the Scanlan Collaborative Interview Method (SCIM; Scanlan, Russell, Wilson, & Scanlan, 2003a). Results indicate that sport enjoyment, valuable opportunities, personal investments, social constraints, and social support were salient sources of commitment, while other priorities had either a neutral or positive effect on commitment. Furthermore, additional constructs were identified, in particular, wanting to be the best, self-affirmation, and contractual obligations. These merit further investigation and possible inclusion in the SCM. Findings are discussed in relation to previous research and practical implications are offered.

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Volume 29 (2015): Issue 1 (Mar 2015)

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Brazilian Elite Soccer Players: Exploring Attentional Focus in Performance Tasks and Soccer Positions

Rafael A.B. Tedesqui and Terry Orlick

The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the attentional focus experienced by elite soccer players in different soccer positions and performance tasks of both closed and open skills. No previous studies have explored elite soccer players’ attentional skills from a naturalistic and qualitative perspective in such detail. Data collection consisted of individual semistructured interviews with eight highly elite Brazilian soccer players from five main soccer positions, namely goalkeeper, defender, wing, midfielder, and forward. Important themes were positive thinking, performing on autopilot, and relying on peripheral vision. For example, thematic analysis indicated that in tasks where there may be an advantage in disguising one’s intentions (e.g., penalty kick), relying on peripheral vision was essential. Early mistakes were among the main sources of distractions; thus, players reported beginning with easy plays as a strategy to prevent distractions. Implications for applied sport psychology were drawn and future studies recommended.

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Cliques in Sport: Perceptions of Intercollegiate Athletes

Luc J. Martin, Jessi Wilson, M. Blair Evans, and Kevin S. Spink

Although cliques are often referenced in sporting circles, they have received little attention in the group dynamics literature. This is surprising given their potential influence on group-related processes that could ultimately influence team functioning (e.g., Carron & Eys, 2012). The present study examined competitive athletes’ perceptions of cliques using semistructured interviews with 18 (nine female, nine male) intercollegiate athletes (Mage = 20.9, SD = 1.6) from nine sport teams. Athletes described the formation of cliques as an inevitable and variable process that was influenced by a number of antecedents (e.g., age/tenure, proximity, similarity) and ultimately shaped individual and group outcomes such as isolation, performance, and sport adherence. Further, athletes described positive consequences that emerged when existing cliques exhibited more inclusive behaviors and advanced some areas of focus for the management of cliques within sport teams. Results are discussed from both theoretical and practical perspectives.

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Developmental Experiences and Well-Being in Sport: The Importance of the Coaching Climate

Lorcan D. Cronin and Justine B. Allen

The present study explored the relationships between the coaching climate, youth developmental experiences (personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative) and psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). In total, 202 youth sport participants (Mage = 13.4, SD = 1.8) completed a survey assessing the main study variables. Findings were consistent with Benson and Saito’s (2001) framework for youth development. In all analyses, the coaching climate was related to personal and social skills, cognitive skills, goal setting, and initiative. Mediational analysis also revealed that the development of personal and social skills mediated the relationships between the coaching climate and all three indices of psychological well-being (self-esteem, positive affect, and satisfaction with life). Interpretation of the results suggests that coaches should display autonomy-supportive coaching behaviors because they are related to the developmental experiences and psychological well-being of youth sport participants.

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Moderated and Mediated Effects of Coach Autonomy Support, Coach Involvement, and Psychological Need Satisfaction on Motivation in Youth Soccer

Amanda J. Reynolds and Meghan H. McDonough

We examined whether coach involvement moderated the predictive effect of coach autonomy support on motivation both directly and indirectly via need satisfaction. 142 soccer players (106 female; 12-15 years) completed measures of coach autonomy support and involvement, need satisfaction, and motivation. For intrinsic motivation and identified regulation, need satisfaction mediated the effect of autonomy support, but there was also a moderated direct effect whereby autonomy support had a positive effect only when involvement was moderate to high. Autonomy support also positively predicted external regulation and negatively predicted amotivation via need satisfaction. Coach-athlete relationships that are both autonomy supportive and involved are associated with more adaptive forms of motivation, and findings suggest that lack of autonomy support may undermine need satisfaction and motivation.

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Motivational Factors in Young Spanish Athletes: A Qualitative Focus Drawing From Self-Determination Theory and Achievement Goal Perspectives

Bartolomé J. Almagro, Pedro Sáenz-López, Juan A. Moreno-Murcia, and Chris Spray

This study qualitatively examined how athletes perceive their coach’s support for autonomy, as well as athletes’ motivation, satisfaction of basic psychological needs, and the 2 × 2 achievement goal framework of young Spanish athletes. Fifteen Spanish athletes (six females and nine males) between 13 and 16 years of age were interviewed from various sporting contexts. Content analysis of the interviews revealed: the coexistence of various types of motivation for the practice of these sports by the athletes that were interviewed; the presence of integrated regulation among some of these young athletes; the importance of autonomy support and the satisfaction of basic psychological needs for motivation and athletic commitment. The results are discussed on the basis of self-determination and achievement goal theory. Strategies are proposed for improving motivation and adherence to athletic practice in young athletes.

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Parenting in Youth Sport: From Research to Practice

Clay Sherman

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Profiling, Exploiting, and Countering Psychological Characteristics in Talent Identification and Development

Áine MacNamara and Dave Collins

The importance of psychological characteristics as positive precursors of talent development is acknowledged in literature. Unfortunately, there has been little consideration of the “darker” side of the human psyche. It may be that an inappropriate emphasis on positive characteristics may limit progress. Negative characteristics may also imply derailment or the potential for problems. A comprehensive evaluation of developing performers should cater for positive dual effect and negative characteristics so that these may be exploited and moderated appropriately. An integrated and dynamic system, with a holistic integration of clinical and sport psychology, is offered as an essential element of development systems.