High School Athletes' Perceptions of the Motivational Climate in Their Off-Season Training Programs

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Chamberlin, JM, Fry, MD, and Iwasaki, S. High school athletes' perceptions of the motivational climate in their off-season training programs. J Strength Cond Res 31(3): 736–742, 2017—Athletes benefit tremendously from working hard in off-season training (OST) because it sets them up to avoid injuries and perform their best during the season. Ironically, many athletes struggle to stay motivated to participate regularly in this training. Research has highlighted the benefits for athletes perceiving a caring and task-involving climate, where they gauge their success based on their personal effort and improvement, and perceive each member of the team is treated with mutual kindness and respect. Athletes who perceive a caring and task-involving climate on their teams are more likely to report greater adaptive motivational responses. Research has not currently examined athletes' perceptions of the climate in OST programs. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between athletes' perceptions of the climate in an OST program and their motivational responses. High school athletes (N = 128; 90 males 35 females; mean age = 15.3 years) participating in summer OST programs completed a survey that included measures of intrinsic motivation, commitment, their valuing OST, feeling like it is their decision to participate in OST, their perceptions that their teammates take OST seriously, and attendance. A canonical correlation revealed that athletes, who perceived a highly caring and task-involving climate reported higher intrinsic motivation, value of and commitment to OST; attendance; and perceived teammates take OST seriously. Results suggest that creating a caring and task-involving climate in OST programs may help athletes optimize their motivation to participate in important strength and conditioning programs.

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