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Fulfillment of basic psychological needs: a qualitative investigation of strategies used by elite youth soccer coaches

  • Johannes RaabeEmail author
  • Tucker Readdy
  • Oliver Höner
Main Article

Abstract

An optimal coaching style can result in the simultaneous fulfillment of individuals’ basic psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. According to self-determination theory, such need fulfillment increases the likelihood that athletes will experience self-determined motivation, which, in turn, has been found to positively affect their cognition, affect, and behavior. The purpose of the current research was to investigate specific strategies elite youth soccer coaches use that they believe nurture athletes’ perceptions of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 coaches from the German Soccer Association’s (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) talent identification and development program. Using thematic analysis, five themes were constructed: (a) Design task-oriented practices, (b) transfer tasks and responsibilities to players within boundaries, (c) support players in the development and implementation of optimal goals, (d) promote positive interactions within the team, and (e) show players appreciation independent of their performance. The present findings allow for a more nuanced understanding of need-supportive coaching and its application in the coach–athlete relationship.

Keywords

Self-determination theory Motivation Need-supportive coaching Youth sport Football 

Befriedigung psychologischer Basisbedürfnisse – eine qualitative Befragung zu Strategien von Elitenachwuchstrainern im Fußball

Zusammenfassung

Ein optimaler Coachingstil kann zur simultanen Befriedigung der drei psychologischen Basisbedürfnisse nach Kompetenz, Autonomie und sozialer Eingebundenheit beitragen. Laut der Selbstbestimmungstheorie fördert die Befriedigung dieser Basisbedürfnisse eine selbstbestimmte Motivation bei Sportlern, die sich wiederum positiv auf deren Kognition, Emotion und Verhalten auswirkt. Das Ziel der vorliegenden Studie war, Strategien zu untersuchen, die Elitenachwuchstrainer im Fußball anwenden und die nach ihrer Meinung die Kompetenz, Autonomie und soziale Eingebundenheit von Sportlern befriedigen. Es wurden halbstrukturierte Interviews mit 16 Trainern des Talentförderprogramms des Deutschen Fußball-Bunds geführt. Mithilfe einer thematischen Analyse wurden fünf Themenbereiche gebildet: (a) Training aufgabenorientiert gestalten, (b) innerhalb von Leitplanken Aufgaben und Verantwortung auf Spieler übertragen, (c) Spieler bei der Setzung und Verwirklichung optimaler Ziele unterstützen, (d) positive Interaktionen innerhalb der Mannschaft fördern und (e) Spielern leistungsunabhängig Wertschätzung vermitteln. Die aktuellen Ergebnisse erlauben ein differenzierteres Verständnis eines Coachingstils, der die Basisbedürfnisse befriedigt, und dessen Anwendung in der Trainer-Athleten-Beziehung.

Schlüsselwörter

Selbstbestimmungstheorie Motivation Bedürfnisbefriedigendes Coaching Jugendsport Fußball 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Louisa Wolf and Selina Zürn at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen for their support of this study.

Funding

This study is part of the research project “Scientific support of the DFB’s talent development program,” which is funded by the German Soccer Association (Deutscher Fußball-Bund, DFB). We would like to thank the DFB for the support of the current endeavor and all coaches for their participation.

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

J. Raabe, T. Readdy, and O. Höner declare that they have no competing interests.

For this article, all studies with human participants performed were in accordance with the ethical standards indicated in each case.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Physical Activity and Sport SciencesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Sports ScienceEberhard Karls University of TübingenTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Division of Kinesiology and HealthUniversity of WyomingLaramieUSA

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