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date: 17 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Performance, by its very nature, epitomizes the construct of human motivation (i.e., individuals being moved to act). Motivation research therefore plays a vital role in providing a better understanding of the conditions and processes that support optimal performance, as well as a performer's well-being, development, functioning, and persistence. In this chapter, the central components and phenomena addressed within the meta-theory of self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2008) are outlined. A critique of empirical work related to performance and achievement is then provided before the focus shifts to an appraisal of a number of key issues related to sport performance and measurement. In the penultimate section, a number of applications aimed at supporting optimal performance and engagement are presented in the form of supports for basic psychological needs (i.e., for autonomy, competence, and relatedness). Last, a number of future research directions are presented and discussed.

Keywords: Self-determination theory, motivation, autonomy support, need-satisfaction, goals, sport psychology, performance psychology

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