Coach-Created Motivational Climate and Youth Soccer Player Self-Efficacy and Self-Talk


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Youth sports offer children a learning environment that can promote beneficial developmental experiences. Examples of these experiences include safe conditions for physical play with their peers, emotional maturation via executive functioning, and behavioral responses such as effort and concentration. The purpose of this study is to examine the relation between player perception of the coach-created motivational climate and player self-efficacy and usage of self-talk. Motivational climates are an inherent aspect of the psychological environment created by social agents that contribute to the athletic achievement-related experiences of the participants. For this thesis, participants were recruited from Vienna Youth Soccer, a non-profit soccer organization, and were aged between 10-13 years old. A total of 67 parents and players completed the survey with the average age of players being 11.55 years (SD =1.11). Participants completed the survey which measured player perceptions of the coach-created motivational climate, soccer self-efficacy, and self-talk use. The hypotheses included; players perceiving more of an ego-oriented motivational climate would have lower self-efficacy; players perceiving more of an ego-oriented motivational climate would use more negative selftalk; players who use much positive self-talk would have higher soccer self-efficacy; players with low self-efficacy and/or high in negative self-talk would show less interest in continuing to play soccer in future seasons; perception of motivational climate would be similar between the House and Travel soccer programs. Findings from correlational and multiple regression analyses revealed several significant relations between the variables but most of the hypotheses were not supported. Significant correlations were found between self-efficacy and three self-talk dimensions: motivational self-talk, positive self-talk, and negative self-talk. Females rated a higher perception of ego-oriented motivational climate and used less negative self-talk compared to males. White participants had higher levels of soccer self-efficacy that non-White participants. The child's own mastery-oriented motivation was marginally correlated with self-efficacy. Players who used much positive self-talk also used a lot of motivational and cognitive self-talk. Players use of self-talk was related to how much their coach encouraged them to use self-talk. Boys expected to continue longer in soccer than girls. There were no differences in motivational climate, self-efficacy, and self-talk use between the House and Travel players. The results from the multiple regressions controlling for race, gender, program type and age, however, indicated there no significant relationships between perception of coach motivational climate and soccer self-efficacy, motivational climate and use of selfx talk, nor between player self-efficacy and self-talk. The limited results might be explained by the small sample size and relatively low internal consistency reliability scores on a few of the measures. Coaches and soccer clubs should continue to be mindful of how they create their soccer environments and further research is needed.