Award Date


Degree Type

Professional Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Sport and Leisure Service Management


Hotel Administration

Advisor 1

Cynthia Carruthers

First Committee Member

Jim Busser

Second Committee Member

Kurt Stahura

Third Committee Member

Jack Young

Number of Pages



The purpose of this paper is to understanding the motivating factors pertaining to the involvement of youth in sport and how parents can assist in providing their children optimal sport experiences. The paper will begin by providing a background of youth sport involvement, and include the benefits and drawbacks of youth sport participation. To ensure that young athletes are positively motivated toward sport participation, it is important to understand their reasons for participation, as well as how others, such as parents, impact their motivation toward sport. This paper will address a number of motivational theories. Deci and Ryan's cognitive evaluation theory and self-determination theory will provide the foundation for the paper. Discussion will also include Ckszentmihalyi's theory of flow, Bandura's self-efficacy theory, and Nicholls' achievement goal theory. Based on the theoretical literature discussed, this paper will provide recommendations for parents to create optimal sport experiences for their children, as well as implications for future research.


Child athletes; Sports — Psychological aspects; Sports for children; Teenage athletes


Child Psychology | Sports Sciences




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