Need-supportiveness and athlete well-being

Coaches' competence-support at risk in the elite sport context throughout the season

  • Hedda Berntsen Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
  • Andreas Ivarsson Center of research on Welfare, Health and Sport, Halmstad University
  • Elsa Kristiansen School of Business, University of South-Eastern Norway, Drammen
Keywords: coaching, elite sport context, athlete well-being


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.

How to Cite
Berntsen, H., Ivarsson, . A., & Kristiansen, E. (2019). Need-supportiveness and athlete well-being: Coaches’ competence-support at risk in the elite sport context throughout the season. Current Issues in Sport Science (CISS), 4, 010.
Psychology & Philosophy