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Research Foundation

Scientific evidence confirms that a mastery orientation has strong positive effects on children in a variety of achievement domains, including sports. A mastery orientation involves an emphasis on skill development, maximum effort, and fun, and it occurs within an encouraging and supportive learning environment. In contrast to a "win at all costs" approach, a mastery climate has been shown to have the following benefits for young athletes:

  • More enjoyment of their sport experiences
  • Greater attachment to the coach
  • Greater liking for teammates
  • Increases in self-esteem
  • Decreases in performance anxiety
  • Reduced dropout rates from sports
  • Increases in mastery-oriented achievement goals and decreases in an emphasis on defining success as outperforming others
  • Higher mastery-oriented achievement goals in school