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The Need to Feel Competent

We have read several studies about why people do recreational sports and how many of them seek coaching. While the number of people seeking shooting instruction is definitely increasing, the reason why people do recreational sports intrigued us most.

In a recent study in UK Sports Coaching, researchers referred to the fact that everyone has a deep psychological need to feel competent. Most people take up a recreational sport because it is fun, so the coach must mix skill improvement with fun. And the two don’t always mix easily.

In the traditional sense of coaching, improvement typically follows a fairly strict order and sequence that is decided upon by the coach.

In coaching recreational sport, the student typically determines how quickly they want to progress and how often they are willing to train and explore doing new things to learn how to do something better. After all, they do want to get better.

At the same time, though, they are doing the sport because it is fun first. The fun must remain in it for them to continue. But what we are learning is that the need to feel competent is the real driver.