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Gert-Jan De Muynck, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Jochen Delrue, Nathalie Aelterman, Leen Haerens and Bart Soenens

Grounded in self-determination theory, this experimental study examined whether the valence (i.e., positive vs. negative) and style (i.e., autonomy-supportive vs. controlling) of normative feedback impact the self-talk, motivational experiences (i.e., psychological need satisfaction and enjoyment), and behavioral functioning (i.e., perseverance and performance) of tennis players (N = 120; M age = 24.50 ± 9.86 years). Positive feedback and an autonomy-supportive style positively influenced players’ enjoyment and perseverance, with psychological need satisfaction and self-talk playing an intervening role. While positive feedback yielded its beneficial effect via greater competence satisfaction and decreased negative self-talk, the beneficial impact of an autonomy-supportive communication style was explained via greater autonomy satisfaction.