Athletic Satisfaction

Athletic satisfaction is the level of contentment NCAA student-athletes have with their sport and their ability. For example, satisfaction reflects the degree to which student-athletes are satisfied with achieving personal goals in their sport as well as whether they feel they have dominated their opponents.

Student-athletes across NCAA Divisions endorse the significance of their athletic performance, as one in two agree satisfaction with their sport and ability is central to their athletic experience. There are some aspects of athletic satisfaction student-athletes are more fulfilled by than others. For instance, about 13% strongly agree “showing up” their competition is important for athletic satisfaction, whereas about 50% agree the knowledge that they are doing their best as an athlete is is the most important contributor toward satisfaction in sport. These findings suggest that satisfaction in athletics is driven more by internal factors than external factors. This finding aligns with decades of literature examining athlete motivation in sport.

Similarly, key NCAA stakeholders suggest that two of the most desired student-athlete outcomes are enhanced performance and enjoyment in sport. Many individuals discuss the importance of balancing these two goals in an effort to enhance student-athletes’ positive experiences and fulfillment during their intercollegiate athletics experience.

I want her to feel validated and to recognize all of the hard work and effort that her sport requires and the time and dedication that she’s put into that. I think that’s really important when they are pouring their heart into something to be recognized for that.

Quick Facts

  • An example of athletic satisfaction is the degree to which student-athletes are content with achieving personal goals in their sport.
  • About about 13% of NCAA student-athletes strongly agree “showing up” their competition is important for athletic satisfaction.
  • Interviews with key stakeholders across NCAA Divisions highlight the importance of helping student-athletes balance their enjoyment in sport with performance outcomes.

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