The desire to achieve high athletic performance can lead some coaches to use controlling behaviors like threats, guilt inducements, or orders (Deci & Ryan, 2002). However, these behaviors can have long-term negative impacts on athletes, such as reduced performance and well-being (Bartholomew et al., 2009). Self-Determination Theory (SDT) suggests that an alternative to these controlling behaviors is to support athletes' autonomy (i.e., show consideration for athlete internal frame of reference and volition by being empathic, informational, and supportive of active participation; Mageau & Vallerand, 2003). The reROOT program (Gadoury et al., 2019) was developed based on fundamental and applied SDT research (Carpentier & Mageau, 2013; Joussemet et al., 2014; Mageau & Vallerand, 2003) to teach coaches 40 need-supportive skills, with the aim of improving athlete sport development.
This study evaluates the usefulness of the reROOT program using a qualitative approach. A total of 32 university-level coaches participated to the program. Of these coaches, 14 participated to focus groups that took place one week after the end of their program. Thematic analyses were conducted to evaluate: 1) coaches' appreciation of the program, 2) the application of the program's skills, and 3) the observed impacts. Qualitative analyses suggest that coaches used, or wanted to use, nearly half of the program's skills and developed self-awareness. They also described positives impacts of the program on athletes' engagement and responsiveness. All coaches reported that they would recommend the reROOT program. Results thus suggest that overall coaches found the reROOT program useful.