Master of Science (MSc)
Faculty of Science
Dr. Mark Eys
Situational competition is a form of intrateam competition (i.e., the type of competition that occurs within a team) that is organized by the coach, has a clear start and end point, can occur between any two members of the same team, and is a crucial method of preparing athletes for gameday (Harenberg et al., 2016a). Motivational climate is a theory that describes the motivational influence that various social agents (e.g., the coach) exert on athletes (Ames, 1992). A performance climate is traditionally labelled as comprising of competitive tasks (e.g., situational competition) and social comparison (Ames, 1992). This climate implies an emphasis from athletes on out-performing others, which is associated with negative achievement patterns (Nicholls, 1984). The purpose of this study was to observe situational competition in practice scenarios and gain insight on its potential association with the motivational climate of competitive sport teams through both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Athletes (N = 64, Mage = 19.62, SD = 5.42) from three interdependent sport teams at the collegiate and representative level completed a questionnaire package assessing time spent in situational competition and their perceptions of their team’s motivational climate directly after participating in researcher-observed team practices. Multiple bivariate correlation analyses indicated that the amount of time athletes spent in situational competition had no significant relationship with their perceptions of motivational climate at the individual level. At the group level, while unstable, a negative relationship was found between the frequency of situational competition and athlete perceptions of a performance climate. Further, three coaches (Mage = 45.75, SD = 14.38) indicated during semistructured interviews that situational competition within competitive sport teams might provide athletes with the opportunity to master the art of competing rather than promote an emphasis on outperforming their teammates. Future research is encouraged to explore the motivational outcomes of situational competition on lower-level sport teams with athletes that are less competitive in nature.
Cowie, Ethan, "Situational Competition and the Motivational Climate of Competitive Sport Teams" (2024). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2592.
Available for download on Thursday, September 17, 2026