Practice and play as determinants of self-determined motivation in youth soccer players

David T. Hendry, Peter R. E. Crocker, Nicola J. Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Based upon predictions derived from the Developmental Model of Sports Participation, we tested whether hours in domain-specific play (self-led activities) and practice (coach-led activities) during childhood (~5–12 year) in an elite group of youth soccer players from the UK (N = 144) were related to motivation. Independent analysis of three different age groups (Under 13, 15 and 17 year) did not show relations between play and practice activities during childhood and global measures of motivation. However, secondary analysis showed that when controlling for years in soccer, years in the UK Academy system were negatively related to global indices of self-determined motivation (SDI) and positively related to controlled motivation for the oldest players. Despite predictions, there was no evidence that play during childhood was positively related to more SDI. Prospective research is recommended to enable more robust conclusions about the role of early developmental practice activities, especially early specialisation in a high-performance system, on both skill and psychosocial development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1099
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number11
Early online date30 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2014


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