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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Sport and Exercise Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health and Human Development

First Advisor

Arthur-Cameselle, Jessyca

Second Advisor

Keeler, Linda

Third Advisor

Washburn, Nick (Nicholas S.)


Coaches tend to take on many roles with their athletes (Conroy et el., 2006). In the majority of previous studies that use the self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) as a theoretical framework applied to sport, athletes have preferred the autonomy-supportive coaching style over the controlling-coaching style (Amorose & Anderson-Butcher, 2015) and autonomy-support is correlated with key variables including autonomous forms of motivation, well-being, and enjoyment (e.g., Amorose & Anderson-Butcher, 2015; Felton & Jowett, 2013). Of course, many athletes want coaches who help increase their sport performance. Yet, the extremely limited research on the effects of autonomy-supportive coaching on participants’ motor task performance have been largely inconclusive (Mladenovic, 2015), with only some researchers finding positive effects on performance (Manninen et al., 2020). Thus, there is a need for continued research on this topic. This proposed experimental study measured the effects of autonomy-supportive feedback compared to controlling feedback on the performance of novice jugglers. The current study was conducted in person and included 18 college students with an average age of 20.33 (SD =1.19) of all genders over the age of 18. The participants watched an instructional video on how to juggle and were then allowed to practice; participants were split into two groups: 1) controlling group, who was provided with no choice, no rationale, and given feedback during the practice session such as “Practice it like you saw in the training video;” 2) autonomy-supportive group, who was provided with choice, rationale, and given feedback during practice that included, “You can practice however you like.” The novice jugglers were tested on the number of consecutive catches made and how quickly they reached five balls both before watching a juggling instruction video (pre-test) and after a 10-minute practice period (posttest). The primary researcher provided the feedback. The Learning Climate Questionnaire (LCQ) was given to participants to measure the coaching climate. Two mixed ANOVAs compared the results of the groups’ performance to determine if the type of feedback affected juggling performance. Results of the first mixed ANOVA revealed that there was no statistically significant interaction between groups and time on the number of consecutive catches. Results of the second mixed ANOVA revealed that there was no statistically significant interaction between groups and time on the variable of time needed to catch five balls; however, there was a medium effect size as indicated by partial eta squared = 0.07. Results on the independent samples t-test to compare the groups’ responses on the LCQ indicated differences in scores between the autonomy supportive and controlling group that were statistically significant, with a large effect size. Overall, it was found that different coaching styles lead to differences in perceptions of the learning environment, but there were no statistically significant effects on performance. Therefore, coaches need to be aware of their coaching style and how it may affect their athletes’ experience while learning a new skill.




Autonomy-Supportive, Controlling, Coaching, Needs, Motivation, Climate, Feedback


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Juggling--Study and teaching; Coaching (Athletics); Motivation (Psychology)




masters theses




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