Intrinsic and Extrinsic Performance Motivation: Turning Athletes’ Attitudes from “Have to” into “Want to”

by Jenna Werking, MS, CSCS, CSPS
NSCA Coach August 2022
Vol 9, Issue 2

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This article aims to share practical application strategies that strength and conditioning coaches can use in fostering a positive change in their athlete’s performance by understanding intrinsic and extrinsic performance motivation and how to adopt an autonomy-supportive coaching style.

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This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »

Related Reading



1. Cassidy, TG, Jones, RL, and Potrac, PA. Understanding Sports Coaching: The Pedagogical, Social and Cultural Foundations of Coaching Practice. New York, NY: Routledge; 10-15, 2015.

2. Coatsworth, J, and Conroy, D. The effects of autonomysupportive coaching, need satisfaction, and self-perceptions on initiative and identity in youth swimmers. Developmental Psychology 45(2): 320, 2009.

3. Duda, JL, and Balaguer, I. Coach-created motivational climate. In: Jowett, S, and Lavalle, D (Eds.), Social Psychology in Sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2007.

4. Gillet, N, Vallerand, RJ, Amoura, S, and Baldes, B. Influence of coaches’ autonomy support on athletes’ motivation and sport performance: A test of the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 11(3): 155-161, 2010.

5. Greenleaf, R. Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. New York, NY: Paulist Press; 1977.

6. Gustafsson, H, DeFreese, JD, and Madigan, DJ. Athlete burnout: Review and recommendations. Current Opinion in Psychology 16: 109-113, 2017.

7. Kidman, L, and Davis, W. Empowerment in coaching. In: Broadhead, J, and Davis, W (Eds.), Ecological Task Analysis Perspectives on Movement. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2006.

8. Raedeke, TD, and Smith, AL. The Athlete Burnout Questionnaire Manual. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology; 2009.

9. Ryan, RM, and Deci, EL. Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and wellbeing. American Psychology 55: 68-78, 2000.

10. Schary, DP. Servants in the weight room: Coaches using servant leadership to improve student-athlete well-being. Strength and Conditioning Journal 41(2): 25-30, 2019.

11. Szedlak, C, Batey, J, Smith, M, and Church, M. Examining experienced S&C coaches’ reflections on the effectiveness of psychosocial behaviors in coaching. International Sport Coaching Journal 1-9, 2020.

About the author

Jenna Werking, MS, CSPS,*D, CSCS,*D

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Jenna Werking earned a Masters degree in Exercise Physiologyand is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA). Werking isa Certified Strength and C ...

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