The Views and Roles of Coaches in Youth Athlete Motivation: A Qualitative Approach
The coach’s influence on youth sport motivation and adherence to sport has been studied previously (Conroy & Coatsworth, 2007; Smith, Smoll, & Cumming, 2007) albeit mostly from the perspective of the athletes. This study examines the way successful coaches view the motivations of young athletes. Six coaches, identified by their peers as quality coaches, were interviewed. Content analysis of the tape recorded semi-structured interviews revealed several main themes including: coaches’ role in encouraging motivation; the balance between praise and accountability; empowering the athletes; building personal relationships with the athletes; and focusing on improvement throughout the season. These themes show support for the prevailing motivational theories in youth sport.