Tracking and comparing self-determined motivation in elite youth soccer: Influence of developmental activities, age, and skill

David Hendry, Andrew M. Williams, Peter Crocker, Nicola J. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: Our aim was to determine if self-determined motivation (SDM) in elite,
men’s soccer changes over time and differs as a function of age, skill-grouping, and
engagement in soccer play and practice. We tested predictions from the Developmental
Model of Sport Participation (DMSP) regarding relations between practice and play and
SDM among both elite and non-elite samples.
Methods: Elite youth soccer players in the United Kingdom (n = 31; from the
Under 13/U13 and U15 years age groups) completed practice history and motivation
questionnaires at time 1 (T1) and ∼2 years later (T2: now U15 and U17 years). Non-elite
players (n = 32; from U15 and U17 years) completed the same questionnaires at T2 only.
Results: For the elite groups, global SDM decreased over time for the current U17
group (from U15), but no change was seen for the current U15 group (from U13).
Age group differences at T2 mirrored these data, with U17 players showing lower
global SDM and higher controlled motivation than U15 elites. The non-elite players
did not show age group differences, but elites scored higher for global SDM and
autonomous motivation than non-elites. The recent hours accumulated in practice
negatively correlated with global SDM in elite and non-elite groups, but play was
unrelated to measures of motivation.
Conclusion: Differences in SDM as a function of age and skill point toward the dynamic
nature of these motivations over time, likely a result of proximity to external rewards
related to professional status. Although high volumes of practice are related to lower
global SDM in both skill groups, the absence of any relations between SDM and soccer
play does not support a key prediction related to the DMSP.
Original languageEnglish
Article number304
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019

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