Developmental soccer experiences and self-determined motivation: A follow-up study of elite youth players


In this 2.5 year follow-up of elite youth soccer players from the UK, we assessed changes in indices of self-determined motivation and their relationships with various soccer activities (practice & play). Participants from two age categories (under 15 yr, n =20; under 17 yr, n = 11 at T2) completed the behavioural regulation in sport questionnaire (BRSQ) and retrospective soccer activity questionnaire at time 1 (T1 = Oct, 2011) and time 2 (T2 = Jan, 2013). Accumulated hours in soccer practice during the last 2.5 years (range 552 – 1503) was negatively correlated with global self-determined motivation (SDI; r = -.32, p < .05) and positively correlated to external motivation (r = -.49, p < .01) and amotivation (r = -.37, p < .05). Hours in play were not related to SDI. A series of 2 (Age category; U15, U17) x 2 (Time; T1, T2) repeated measures ANOVA's showed that intrinsic motivation generally decreased from T1 to T2 (p = .01). Motivation for older age group players became less self-determined and more controlled over time (Age X Time interaction, p < .05). Since the older players had just been awarded, or were just about to be offered, adult-professional contracts, these data highlight the changing nature of motivation as a function of rewards associated with Professionalism. The younger players did not show the same relationship between practice and motivation over time, SDI did not decrease.