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Across a variety of domains, such as in academics and in the military, grit is a significant predictor of performance, even after controlling for dimensions of innate ability. However, little is known about how grit develops or the psychosocial factors that may contribute to its presence (i.e. motivational climates, mindsets, and goal orientations). Although sport is a natural context in which to examine grit, both as a predictor and an outcome, few studies have done so. Thus, within the framework of achievement motivation theory, we examined the relationships of the perceived motivational climate created by coaches (task-involving vs. ego-involving), athletes’ mindset (growth vs. fixed) and goal orientation (task vs. ego), to their grit. Male high school varsity soccer players (N = 81) completed questionnaires measuring these constructs. Having a growth mindset and a task goal orientation, but not the perception of a task-involving climate, significantly predicted higher levels of grit (R2 = .15); ego-related constructs were not significantly related to grit. Components of achievement motivation theory, specifically mindset (fundamental belief regarding whether or not ability can change with hard work and effort) and goal orientation (approaching tasks to either improve ability or demonstrate ability), may be particularly salient in athletes developing a perspective that allows them to work effectively and diligently toward long-term goals. Limitations and future directions are discussed.


Education | Kinesiology | Sports Sciences


This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, DOI 10.1080/1612197X.2019.1655775. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.