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“Until I’m Just Too Old to Turn the Pedals”: Exploring Motivational Characteristics of Participants in a High School Mountain Bike Program

Kent Griffin, Karen Meaney, Anthony Deringer


Self-determination theory (SDT) (Ryan & Deci, 2000) suggests that when a person is motivated they likely experience a sense of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. It is important to understand how these constructs relate to physical activity and sport if we are to persist in our notion that these pursuits can positively impact the holistic development of youth (Camiré, Trudel, & Forneris, 2013; Frankl, 2007). Thus, the purpose of this investigation is to examine the motivational characteristics of adolescents participating in an after-school mountain bike program. Data were analyzed via field notes, interviews and focus groups. Content analysis of the individual and focus group interviews along with field notes revealed that the mountain bike sport environment served to foster motivational characteristics as is described in SDT.Based on this investigation, students who participated in the after-school program (n=28) reported a sense of autonomy, competence and relatedness.

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Self-Determination Theory; After-school Physical Activity; Adolescents; mountain biking

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