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sports coach UK recently commissioned the University of Gloucestershire1 to examine how self-determination theory can be used by coaches to develop coaching sessions. This post provides an easy-to-use summary of key points and practical actions.
The quality of a sporting experience and the likelihood of a participant being motivated and staying in sport is often determined by the motivational climate created by the coach. This relies on satisfying three key psychological needs: autonomy, competence and relatedness.
This summary shows key points from the research, broken down into the different types of people you may coach.
Seven things every coach should know
The satisfaction of all three psychological needs (autonomy, competence and relatedness) is required to engender a positive motivational climate that encourages effort, persistence, enjoyment, satisfaction, prolonged engagement with sport and, critically, enhanced self-confidence within and outside of the sporting domain.
Coaching young people (11–13 year olds)
Making it happen
Provide plenty of feedback for your young athletes; not just what you say, but also what you do, as young people are incredibly sensitive to body language.
How can you demonstrate that your instructions will lead to improvement? Can you use people you have coached in the past as examples?
Coaching adolescents (15–18 year olds)
Making it happen
Embrace technology! Adolescents want to use technology – like videos and iPads – to see their progression, which will also serve to enhance feelings of competence.
Keep an eye on what is happening to your young athletes at school. If they have tests or pressures, can you make the training easier?
Shared goal setting can be key for team harmony. Involve everyone in establishing and monitoring group roles and behaviours.
Develop a plan to incorporate new players into the team. For more on this, see our ‘Bringing New Players into Your Team’ summary
Download Self-determination Theory: A Guide for Coaches.
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1Dr Denise M Hill, Dr Mustafa Sarkar, Dr Anita Navin, Professor Andrew Parker, Professor Jean Côté and Alison Croad, School of Sport and Exercise, University of Gloucestershire
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