Investigation into the Motivation Strategies of the Elite ITU Triathlon Coaches
Scull, Jeffery (Jeff)
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The purpose of this study was to identify elite triathlon coaches’ beliefs and practices as they pertain to motivating world-class triathletes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four elite triathlon coaches operating out of three different training groups. Furthermore, the athletes within these groups completed questionnaires assessing their motivational profiles, basic psychological needs, and perceived autonomy support. The interviews were analyzed deductively according to the Motivational Model of the Coach-Athlete Relationship (Mageau & Vallerland, 2003). The data revealed that coaches predominantly used an autonomy-supportive coaching style while also providing structure and involvement. The coaches emphasized an individualized approach for each athlete to best meet their needs. Athletes’ responses to the questionnaires provide support for the coaches’ philosophies and perceived behaviours. The findings of this study provide valuable direction for elite and developing coaches looking to enhance their communication skills in order to optimize athlete needs and motivation.