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Harry L. Hom Jr., Joan L. Duda, and Arden Miller

Two major ways of judging one’s competence and defining subjective success in achievement situations are task (focus is on improvement) and ego (focus is on beating others) involvement (16). Specific to the athletic context, this study examined the relationship of young athletes’ proneness to task and ego involvement, or individual differences in the degree of task and ego orientation, respectively, to their (a) beliefs about the causes of success, (b) perceived ability, and (c) degree of satisfaction/enjoyment in the athletic domain. Subjects were 55 young athletes recruited from summer basketball camps. Congruent with previous research on older athletes and the classroom, a conceptually consistent relationship between goal orientations and views concerning the causes of success was revealed. Young athletes who were high in task and ego orientation tended to perceive themselves as more capable and report greater satisfaction/enjoyment. Implications concerning the motivational consequences of goal orientations for children and youth are discussed.