The Road to Success: Utilizing NFL Player's Attributions to Success to Support Youth Development

Date of Award


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Jessica Bartley

First Committee Member

Lindsay Roberts


Youth development, self-determination, integrative theory in sport, success in NFL


This paper explores common themes and premises shared by National Football League (NFL) players when deliberating on their path to success. “Success” in this case is defined as playing for at least three years in the NFL. In addition, the participants were asked to elaborate on how they overcame adversities they faced in their journey to the NFL. The purpose of finding these common themes were to potentially supplement youth sport development programs, in combination with future research. The theoretical premise behind the investigation of these themes utilized Deci and Ryan’s (1985) self-determination theory, as well as Vallerand and Losier’s (1999) integrative theory of motivation in sport. In coding the participants’ answers, several themes arose which fit into the key dimensions posited in both theories; the themes included autonomy, competence, relatedness, cooperation, and coaches’ behavior. These findings could suggest that fostering development of these attributes could be beneficial in cultivating a nurturing and encouraging environment in youth athletic development programs.


Copyright is held by the authors. Permanently suppressed.


27 pages

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