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Positive psychology (pp) is a vast field that has lasted for almost two decades, and it has experienced significant growth since its inception. It is recognized that positive psychology is an umbrella term covering a range of concepts from different disciplines. The field of positive psychology has overgrown, with recent researches establishing that the most focused topics of pp include life satisfaction, optimism, fairness, achievements, and motivation. Similarly, the field of coaching positive psychology has experienced substantial growth in both practice and research. The way coaches structure their training, methods, and feedback quality delivered to the athletes are all behaviors that have significant motivational implications.

Equally, motivation in sports is necessary for the attainment of effective sports performance. Coaches play a crucial part in the development of motivation for athletes. Techniques employed by coaches to motivate athletes can develop confidence in players and enhance persistence. However, the coaches have a vital duty in the field to ensure there is positive psychology training, but the application of autonomy-supportive has enabled then to do well in the coaching exercises (Heelis, 2017). The goal of this research is to analyze positive psychology concerning autonomy-supportive coaching and other sporting issues.

Autonomy Supportive Approaches

The findings of this research raise a significant question as to whether it is promising for trainers to learn how to be more needs supportive and less controlling. Some pieces of empirical evidence elucidate experimentally that the needs of supportive coaching are yet to be tested. However, coaches can apply this approach when they are mainly working with elite athletes. Clifford mallet employed the needs supportive approach when the coach was training Australian teams of the relays (Heelis, 2017). Clifford used some of the strategies, such as providing a range of alternatives to the athletes in various areas of performances and giving a rationale to different decisions. Other approaches Clifford used are encouraging athletes to have personal responsibility in learning and actively seek proposals, views, and feedback. Mallet established that the adoption of autonomy-supportive techniques promoted the self-determination levels of the team (Solstad, 2018). This primary evidence reveals that the need for supportive training is achievable, even in elite sporting settings.

The intervention studies intended to develop the interpersonal skills of the coaches provide a shred of evidence backing the possible effectiveness of the needs supportive coaching (Smith and McEwan, 2016). Leaving needs supports aside; this evidence focuses on how the trainers can change their interpersonal behaviors while working with the athletes. For instance, trainers can learn how to encourage and instruct athletes. Equally, they might learn how to avoid humiliating and mockery comments, establish strong prospects, and avoid distressing or bullying athletes. Generally, coaches who attend the training programs show more positive effects than those who do not attend. To that end, the athletes show a definite improvement in their performances when they get training from coaches who attend training programs (Heelis, 2017. On the other hand, athletes who get training from the coaches who do not take part in the said programs perform dismally. However, great performances are associated with high standards of motivation, funny and greater liking of the co-players, and the coaches.

Well being

Psychological wellbeing is a micro-level structure that gives insights on how one can assess alone, which leads to quality results. The area of mental wellbeing comprises self-acceptance, environmental awareness, personal improvement, life objectives, and self-determination (Heelis, 2017). Coaching enhances the optimum functioning and wellbeing of an individual. However, much of the coaching focuses on improving the performance of the athletes and the team (Solstad, 2018). Recently, the emergence of the work of balancing life as a common goal has led to the recognition of wellbeing in sports, something that has been overlooked over the years. Wellbeing plays a key role in boosting the engagement and the performance of the players. All this is best applicable in organizational and executive settings, thus resulting in the holistic wellbeing of the executive participants.

Also, wellbeing has had a greater focus outside the organizational setting. Within the domain of coaching, several people have engaged in services involving life coaches that help broader lifetime goals and in managing a myriad of sporting issues ranging life transitions, career shifts, lifestyle alteration, entrepreneurial endeavors, and relationship matters (Solstad, 2018). Equally, there is the development of health coaching, wellbeing coaching, and wellness coaching, where the understanding of psychological wellbeing and extensive health-related concerns are also relevant.

Exploring the 5C’s

Sports may give the participants an exceptional opportunity to acquire some skills and positive traits, which might enable them to do well in sports (Heelis, 2017). The acquisition of skills like competency values life skills, and assets is imperative in their development. One of the most significant aspects of the conceptualization of positive psychology coaching is 5C’s model. The model epitomizes five paradigms of character, competence, connection, compassion, or caring, and confidence (Jones, 2011). Formerly the model comprised four constructs included connection, competence, character, and confidence. Later, the modification was done on the model to accommodate compassion or caring.

Fraser Thomas and coted put forth an integrated model in sports and claimed that there is a need to investigate the elements of the young people in games (Jones, 2011). Coaches may adopt the 5C’s so that to cater to all the needs of the participants. The inclusion of the 5C’s in sports by the coaches could play a significant role, yet there is no empirical evidence supporting the existence of the 5c’s in sports.

Modeling Construct

Modeling is a practice that reveals the personal qualities of self-esteem, character, and gratitude (Glazier and Mehdizadeh, 2019). Character gives a person the essential intellect of navigating life circumstances in a manner that yields the highest good for several people. A character is when an individual behaves while somebody is watching; it is ever modeled, observed, or emulated, but can never be taught.

The other quality that can be achieved through modeling is gratitude. There is a widespread misunderstanding of the basic principle of freedom. The provision of freedom of choice does not imply that the participants have all the right to do whatever they want, but freedom is there to select what is right. Gratitude appreciates the role of others in the process of development. In other words, appreciation adds value to teammates. However, the coaches ought to make great use of the virtue of gratitude so that it is not misused (Glazier and Mehdizadeh, 2019). The coaches might also embrace the goodness of self-esteem. The attribute does not rely on the assignment given to the individuals but responds positively to encouragement from others.

Modeling has taken coaching to a different level, the demonstration level. Modeling eliminates abstraction and generality of the anticipated behaviors (Glazier and Mehdizadeh, 2019). Supporting modeling with respect and loyalty, it makes coaching more efficient and adds benefits of making coaching reliable, personal, and a basis for secure relationship building.

Self-Determination Theory

Achieving motivation requires self-motivation from an individual. The self-motivation theory examines the influence coaches have on athletes’ achievement of positive attitude on sporting competitions (Ryan & Deci, 2017). Motivation is a multidimensional approach, which means that an individual is likely to be motivated by many factors, which include control and self-determination. A self-determined athlete performs well in sports because one finds athletics enjoyable and exciting, thus self-motivation.

Sportspersons who value the benefits accrued from participation can develop a positive attitude towards sports. Contrary, extrinsic motivation (motivation attained from other people) makes one find sports unenjoyable and uninteresting. Some benefits associated with self-motivation include the experience of constructive emotions, persistence, high levels of performance, and an increase in the concentration period (Ryan & Deci, 2017). However, extrinsically motivated athletes experience negative attitudes toward sports. Controlled motivation can also lead to antisocial behavior, drop-out from games, and poor performance. Therefore, coaches should embrace self-determination for players to succeed in athletics.

The development of self-motivation requires one to fulfill psychological needs, which include competence, relatedness, and autonomy. Competence means an urge to be successful in a competition. Relatedness is a feeling of connectedness to other people, which leads to motivation. Autonomy represents a feeling of personal control over activities (Langdon et al., 2016). For optimum motivation, one needs to achieve the three psychological needs. However, autonomy is the most critical mental aspect in the achievement of positive motivation in sports.

Coaching Techniques and Athlete Motivation

Self-motivation develops when coaches meet athletes’ expectations (Langdon et al., 2016). When coaches use techniques against athlete expectations, extrinsic motivation resurfaces. Thus, it is vital to understand certain aspects of coaching that affect athletes’ motivation negatively and positively. Viewing motivation from self-determination theory, coaches must consider the support of three psychological needs, that is, autonomy, relatedness, and competence. When applying autonomy, coaches give an appropriate response and takes into consideration the players’ perspective. The autonomy approach also enables coaches to offer chances for choice while trying to minimize the use of commanding language in controlling athletes. According to Yeates et al. (2019), the creation of an autonomous environment needs appropriate skills, primarily to ensure avoidance of an authoritative leadership style. Therefore, coaches should try their best to employ an autonomous approach for athletes while training.

A coach becomes autonomous in training by applying some practices while training. First, for any coaching tactics, it is necessary to provide the rationale for rules used. Second, it is good to give athletes a chance to make significant decisions during the training. Then, a coach should know that some techniques during training maybe tiresome; hence look for alternative methods. The promotion of athletes’ responsibility is also significant as this promotes tranquility. In the case of criticism, the coach should criticize the behavior and not the character of a player. Feedback should solve a problem rather than focusing on an issue. Lastly, a coach should encourage athletes to improve self-performance and avoid social comparisons.

A relationship exists between the autonomous approach and the players’ outcome. For instance, athletes who take their coach as autonomous portray high levels of psychological wellbeing and self-determination (Ryan & Deci, 2017). Such athletes also display physical wellbeing, adherence, perseverance, enjoyment, and a positive attitude towards sports participation. Also, it is suitable for a coach to support athletes by supporting the sense of competence, as this impacts motivation as well. Attaining competence requires setting clear rules and realistic targets. Besides, relatedness ensures that athletes have a sense of belonging while training. Therefore, besides autonomy, the other two psychological needs that are competence and relatedness are as well necessary in the achievement of athletes’ goals.

Organized sports activities can lead to a controlled environment for athletes for autonomy and other psychological needs (Yeates et al., 2019). For instance, rewarding the best athletes may lead to controlled motivation since a player performs better to gain rewards, and not as a result of intrinsic motivation. Moreover, training schedules are predetermined, leading to inflexible deadlines, which affects the motivation of athletes. Therefore, the use of a controlling style by coaches makes athletes feel pressured to act in a specified way. Consequently, players tend to comply with rules, though they may not support commands from the coach. Therefore, controlled motivation resurfaces as a technique used by coaches.

Specific techniques used by coaches are perceived as controlled motivation. First, giving rewards to ensure that athletes spend most of their time in training leads to controlled motivation (Langdon et al., 2016). Also, making commands to certain aspects of players is a way of controlling athletes’ behavior. The use of verbal threats can as well contribute to extrinsic motivation to players. Another form of controlled motivation includes some coaches withhold attention in case athletes underperform during a competition. Coaches should, therefore, try to promote intrinsic motivation to players since controlled motivation makes athletes underperform in sporting activities.

Athletes who view their coach as authoritative become less determines during training and competitions. Such athletes will record low levels of satisfaction for psychological needs. Insatiable psychological needs lead to adverse effects such as depression, poor eating habits, and inadequate response to sports. Thus, control of behaviors can lead to the short-term achievement of desired responses but leads to long-term negative results. Therefore, there is a need for coaches to try and minimize controlled motivation since it has long-lasting effects on performance. Managers should emphasize on uncontrolled motivation as this will lead to long-term positive outcomes. A coach may issue extra physical exercises to players as controlling behavior while providing chances for athletes’ autonomous behavior. Nevertheless, in terms of different coaching styles, it needs supportive behaviors to come out of determination and desired player outcomes.

In conclusion, coaches play a significant role in sports experiences since behaviors, standards, and motivational styles used helps athletes to have a positive attitude towards sports. Sports are important in physical and mental health, hence the need to have coaches who motivate players. Some of the health benefits related to games include reduced risk to diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart complications (Heelis, 2017). Therefore, it is good to employ autonomy-supportive coaching styles in sports. Autonomy is useful since it is a component of motivation as obtained from self-determination theory. Autonomous support is essential as it polishes coaches’ training skills. The functional importance of autonomy-supportive approach is where a player feels that their behavior originates from intrinsic motivation.



Glazier, P.S., and Mehdizadeh, S., 2019. Challenging conventional paradigms in applied sports biomechanics research. Sports Medicine, 49(2), pp.171-176.

Heelis, W., 2017. Coach Leadership Experiences in the Management of Difficult Athletes (Doctoral dissertation, McGill University Libraries).

Jones, M.I., Dunn, J.G.H., Holt, N.L., Sullivan, P.J., and Bloom, G.A., 2011. Exploring the ‘5Cs’ of positive youth development in the sport. Journal of Sport Behavior, 34(3), pp.250-267.

Langdon, J., Wilson, C., & Burdette, G. (2016). Motivating Athletes through the use of Autonomy-Supportive Coaching.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. Guilford Publications.

Smith, M. and McEwan, H., 2016. Autonomy-supportive Coaching: An Autoethnographical Account of the Coaching Process. The Journal of Athlete Centered Coaching, 1(01), pp.110-130.

Solstad, B.E., Ivarsson, A., Haug, E.M. and Ommundsen, Y., 2018. Youth sport coaches’ wellbeing across the season: The psychological costs and benefits of giving empowering and disempowering sports coaching to athletes. International Sport Coaching Journal, 5(2), pp.124-135.

Yeates, N., Gallo, M., & McEwen, C. (2019). Optimizing the learning environment through autonomy supportive coaching.

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