Table of Contents
The motivation of a talented young soccer player is critically important in their progression through the academy; the academy coach playing a vital role in supporting their success. Given the commitment required to realise the goal of becoming a professional player, maintaining motivation is an essential ingredient to future successes. Fostering a task-focused (mastery) motivational climate is frequently advocated as a strategy for supporting player motivation. However, specific research-grounded guidance on how to develop and manage the psychological environment has been lacking. The present study aims to provide insight and identify coaching behaviours that support mastery-based features of the achievement environment. Four elite academy soccer coaches of a club competing in the English Premier League, participated in semi-structured interviews exploring ways to promote a mastery motivational climate across four structural elements of the TARGET framework: recognition, authority, task, and evaluation). Thematic analysis identified specific coaching strategies that were employed to support the development of a mastery climate within elite youth soccer environments. Findings are discussed and future research directions suggested.
Keywords: TARGET, mastery motivational climate, coaching