Need-supportiveness and athlete well-being: Coaches' competence-support at risk in the elite sport context throughout the season

Hedda Berntsen, Andreas Ivarsson, Elsa Kristiansen


The aim of this study was to explore how coaches’ behaviour affected athletes’ well-being by examine: (a) the potential change in perceptions of need-support from the coach (over an academic year), and (b) the within-person relationship between the three aspects of need-supportiveness and subjective vitality at the end of the winter sport season. 102 youth elite student athletes completed ta questionnaire three times. Bayesian growth curve analyses showed that the levels of relatedness and autonomy support were stable and high throughout the year. In contrast, competence support decreased during the season. In addition, the results showed a credible positive within-person relationship between changes in all three facets of need-supportiveness from the coach and vitality measured at the end of the season which support SDT tenets. These findings indicate the importance of need-support for athletes' wellbeing, and that competence support needs extra attention in the elite sport context where the competence need is constantly challenged.


coaching; elite sport context; athlete well-being

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