SOCIAL INFLUENCES ARE MORE MOTIVATIONAL THAN A COACH IN DEVELOPING SWIMMERS

Chan, D. K., Lonsdale, C., & Fung, H. H. (2011). Influences of coaches, parents, and peers on the motivational patterns of child and adolescent athletes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 21, 1-11.

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This study assessed the relative impact of social influences initiated by coaches, parents, and peers on children and adolescent athletesí motivational patterns, involving self-rated effort, enjoyment, competence, and competitive trait-anxiety. Questionnaire data were collected from 408 youth swimmers (aged 9-18 years).

Results of multi-group structural equation modeling analyses generally showed that compared with athletes in the adolescent age-group, the social influence from mother was stronger in childhood, and that from peers was greater in adolescence. The coach was more influential for athletesí effort and enjoyment in childhood, and competence in adolescence. Age appeared to moderate the impact of social influence from significant others on young athletesí sport experiences.

Implication. The influence of others on the sporting participation of young people changes with age. The coach is not the major influence but seems to provide specific influences in some areas while other social groups and influences are of more importance.

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