Motivational clusters and performance in a real-life setting

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The present research investigated whether assessing adolescent elite athletes’ motivational profiles at the beginning of the season would allow us to predict their subsequent performance over the course of a competitive season. In two studies, athletes completed the French version of the Sport Motivation Scale (Brière et al., Int J Sport Psychol 26:465–489, 1995) at the beginning of the season. Objective levels of performance were recorded for the following season, as well as for the season prior to questionnaire completion. In Study 1, the sample comprised a total of 170 French junior national tennis players (M = 13.42 years). Results revealed the presence of a four-cluster solution, reflecting different levels of autonomous and controlled motivations. Results revealed that controlling for past performance, athletes with the least self-determined motivational profile obtained lower levels of subsequent tennis performance than those in the three other (more self-determined motivational) clusters. In Study 2, there were a total of 250 French junior national fencers aged 15 years. Results revealed a three-cluster solution very similar to that of Study 1. In addition, in line with Study 1, results revealed that the least self-determined motivational profile led to the lowest level of performance. Overall, these findings suggest that cluster analysis is useful in the understanding of the complex relationship between motivation and performance in elite sport.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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