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Motivational coaching climate outscores winning for young athletes
Date:10/31/2007

Winning isnt everything, its the only thing. former UCLA and Vanderbilt football coach Red Sanders

I just want to play and have fun. a typical 10- to 15-year-old athlete

New research indicates that young athletes find playing for coaches who stress personal improvement, having fun and giving maximum effort is far more important and has a bigger impact on them than a teams won-loss record.

In terms of athletes ratings of how much fun they had and how much they liked playing for their coach, our results showed that a mastery climate was about 10 times more influential than was the teams won-loss record, said Ronald Smith, a University of Washington sport psychologist and co-author of a study published in the current issue of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.

This approach to coaching, known as a mastery motivational climate, contrasts with an ego climate, in which the main goal is winning at all costs and success is defined as being better than other players.

We also found that a win-at-all-costs ego climate was negatively related to enjoyment and liking the coach, said Smith.

Co-author Frank Smoll, also a UW sport psychologist added, Many coaches mistakenly believe that winning is the most important thing to kids. But our research provides convincing evidence that refutes this myth.

The UW researchers have promoted the mastery approach as a way to foster positive and supportive communication between coaches and athletes and to counteract the negative influences of an ego climate on young athletes. They also have developed a brief training workshop for coaches called the Mastery Approach to Coaching to help enhance the youth sport environment.

This study replicates research we did with Little League Baseball players back in the 1970s, said Smoll. Things havent changed because kids internal makeup and core values are still the same when it comes to playing sports.

In the current study, the researchers surve
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Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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