A study of perceived motivational climate in collegiate soccer
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The primary purpose of the study was to use Ames (1992b) adaptation of Epstein’s (1989) TARGET framework as an observational coding method to assess the motivational climate being created by the coach in competitive collegiate soccer. The secondary purpose was to determine the correspondence between the behavioural measure and the players and coaches perceptions of the motivational climate. The final purpose of the study was to compare the correspondence between the coach’s perception and the athlete’s perceptions of the motivational climate. The independent researcher used Ames (1992b) adaptation of Epstein’s (1989) TARGET framework to create an observational behavioural coding system for measuring the task, authority, recognition, grouping, evaluation, and time aspects of the coaching sessions. One coach was filmed coaching soccer over three sessions involving a total of 24 athletes. Objective assessment of the TARGET elements exposed a strong performance focus for the task (unidimensional), authority (coach centred), grouping (whole group), and timing (set timing). However the recognition and evaluation constructs were revealed to be marginally performance focused, although a mastery focus was also prevalent in the observed coaching behaviour. Further exploration suggested an independent interrelationship between the TARGET constructs with recognition and evaluation being the most prominent in determining athletes climate perceptions. Disparity was evident between the observational analysis and the subjective perceptions of the motivational climate. Furthermore, a comparison between the coaches and athletes perceptions revealed considerable differences in perception of the motivational climate created, with the athletes providing a more accurate perception. These findings and the implications for coaches are discussed.
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