Athlete empowerment accentuates giving athletes autonomy for decision-making with the clear purpose of offering them opportunities to make choices, be responsible, and develop higher levels of motivation. The focus in Sport Education is on placing the athlete in the center of the experience where the participant can become competent, literate, and enthusiastic as a result of participation. This is in line with the nonlinear pedagogical approach, where the learning processes can be structured by manipulating performer constraints. Therefore, this chapter focuses on examining and understanding the processes involved in athlete learning through manipulating performer constraints when using the Sport Education model in Finland. Twenty-three players and their three coaches from one junior sport club participated in the study. The Sport Education season consisted of 11 practice sessions over 8 weeks. Data were collected through interviews, observations, questionnaires, and document analysis. Results suggested that players were united within their small teams and that they enjoyed having the autonomy and responsibility. As a conclusion, the Sport Education season implemented through manipulating performer constraints facilitated perceptions of empowerment, which in turn fostered motivated players.
Part of the book: Sport Pedagogy