Experience in competitive youth sport and needs satisfaction: The Singapore Story

Koon Teck Koh *, C. K. John Wang *, Karl Erickson ** and Jean Côté **

(*) Motivation in Educational Research Lab, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
(**) Queens University, Canada

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between sport experiences and psychological needs satisfaction of Singapore high school athletes who were involved in inter-school competition. A total of 1250 school athletes from 22 sports participated in the study. The athletes were between 13 and 18 years old and had an average of 3 years of experience in school sport (SD=.18). Cluster analysis was employed to identify homogenous groups based on the seven developmental experiences domains of the Youth Experience Survey (YES 2.0; Hansen & Larson, 2005). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to determine whether differences existed among the clusters in terms of psychological needs satisfaction (i.e., sense of autonomy, perceived competence and relatedness). The results of the cluster analysis showed that there were different subgroups of athletes with distinct developmental experiences, and they varied in the degree to which their psychological needs were satisfied. Generally, subgroups that had high levels of positive experiences and low levels of negative experiences in sport had better fulfillment of psychological needs. It is important to ensure that policies and programmes are formulated, delivered and monitored effectively to promote positive experiences for youth who are involved in competitive sports.

Keywords: Analysis Cluster, Psychological needs, Self-determination theory, Sport experiences, Youth