Exploring the coaching context, needs, motivation, and coaching behaviour


In the context of three studies, we examined the contextual variables that lead coaches to engage in need-supportive and need-thwarting interpersonal behaviours. Study 1 looked at the coaching context for 56 multi-sport coaches through an online personal inventory in order to identify the contextual factors that had the largest impact on coaches. In Study 2, basketball coaches (N = 310) reported their psychological needs and motivation for coaching, along with their reported use of autonomy-supportive, autonomy-thwarting, competence-supportive, competence-thwarting, relatedness-supportive, and relatedness-thwarting interpersonal behaviours. In Study 3, multi-sport coaches (N = 225) completed the same measures as Study 2, along with measures of the factors that were identified as important in Study 1. The analysis showed that these factors within the coaching environment either supported or thwarted their psychological needs. In turn, coaches' need satisfaction predicted increased autonomous motivation for coaching, while coaches' need frustration predicted increased controlled motivation for coaching. Then coaches' autonomous motivation positively predicted coaches' reported use of the three types of supportive interpersonal behaviours, and negatively predicted use of the three types of thwarting interpersonal behaviours, and the opposite effects were found for controlled motivation. Overall, the results of these three studies provided additional support for understanding how the coaching context, coaches' psychological needs, and their motivation for coaching influence their behaviours with their athletes.

Acknowledgments: This project was conducted with the support of a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship.