Background: Motivation is central to successful performance. In the case of sports
coaches, drive is a prerequisite to sustained successful engagement in a complex,
dynamic, and turbulent work environment. What fuels these coaches’ drive to pursue
this vocational activity? Coach motivation has been underrepresented in previous
research which has typically focused on the crucial impact coach behavior has on
athlete motivation and subsequent sport participation. However, the motivation of
coaches influences their coaching practices and behaviors.
Purpose: The purpose of the current study was to examine the motivation of Australian
Participants and setting: 13 coaches (nine men, four women) from a range of sports and
levels of competition (i.e. participation, development, high performance) were selected
to take part.
Data collection: Participants were involved in one semi-structured interview lasting 50–
90 minutes that was digitally recorded and transcribed by a professional blind to the
nature of the task.
Data analysis: Content analysis of the interview data was conducted to identify themes.
Higher order themes were based on a process of triangular consensus.
Findings: Data yielded four key dimensions related to why coaches coached: (1)
connection with sport; (2) coach and athlete development; (3) external influences, and
(4) internal influences.
Conclusion: Coaches have a range of motivations driving their continued involvement.
Findings are discussed in light of self-determination theory, and specifically the
importance of promoting high levels of self-determined motivation and psychological
need satisfaction in this population.