Training and motivation in childhood and adolescence in Finnish elite footballers at different phases of their athletic careers
Holopainen, S., Lyyra, N., & Kokkonen, M. (2021). Training and motivation in childhood and adolescence in Finnish elite footballers at different phases of their athletic careers. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 21(6), 3476-3482. https://doi.org/10.7752/jpes.2021.06471
Published inJournal of Physical Education and Sport
© 2021 JPES
This study retrospectively explored 1) early specialization and hours of training in childhood and adolescence and 2) the interrelations of different types of motivation in four samples of elite male footballers in different phases of their athletic careers (N=91): Finnish first-tier players (n=23), youth national team players (U19 and U21; n=33), national team players (n=22), and Finland’s so-called Golden Generation players of the 1990s and 2000s (n=13). For this study, the Golden Generation was defined by FAF as footballers who had played at least ten official World cup or European championship qualifying games between the years 1996‒2008 and played in international top leagues during their career. Data were collected anonymously by an online survey. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the mean values of childhood and adolescent training hours and motivation types. The normality of the data distribution was tested by the Shapiro-Wilk test. Differences between the player groups in practice hours in childhood and adolescence were analyzed by the nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis test and the significance level for pairwise comparisons was adjusted by Bonferroni correction. Interrelations between the players’ motivation types were analyzed with Spearman’s correlational coefficients. The results showed that the players had specialized in football at around age 11. Most (81%) had also practiced another sport. Football practice hours, which increased throughout childhood and adolescence, were higher than combined training for other sports. The Golden Generation players spent the least time on organized practice and the most on unorganized training and other sports in the early years. The elite footballers scored highest in intrinsic motivation and lowest in amotivation towards football. Intrinsic motivation and the two forms of autonomous extrinsic motivation were positively intercorrelated. Amotivation was negatively associated with intrinsic motivation and positively with external regulation. ...
PublisherEditura Universitatea din Pitesti
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- Liikuntatieteiden tiedekunta 
Additional information about fundingThis study was conducted at the University of Jyväskylä in collaboration with the Football Association of Finland.
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