Does enhancing relatedness amongst varsity-level athletes improve team performance?

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University of New Brunswick


This research uses Deci & Ryan’s (2017) Self-Determination Theory to examine if enhancing relatedness amongst varsity-level athletes improves team performance. This study incorporates a quasi-experimental design, and uses a convenience sample of varsity-level athletes (n=16) at a Canadian university. Four interventions, two psycho-education and two relatedness building, were administered across eight weeks. Participant relatedness was assessed by semi-structured qualitative questionnaires using a repeated measures approach. Thematic analysis revealed that enhancing relatedness skills of the participants contributed to improvements in interpersonal communication, team collaboration, and perceived connection amongst team members. Enhanced self-awareness and heightened awareness of others’ mental states seemed particularly crucial to enhancing relatedness amongst participants. Data suggests that relatedness may have positively impacted on-court team performance, however more research is required to determine the nature of the relationship between relatedness and on-court performance.