István Csáki, Zsolt Szakály, Barbara Fózer-Selmec, Selmeci Zoltán Kiss and József Bognár
Due to the fact that neither physical nor physiological and anthropometric differences in adolescents can serve as definitive differentiating factors in terms of choosing successful and non-successful players, coaches are encouraged to focus more on thepsychological characteristics ofyoung players. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine football players’ psychological skills in an elite football academy as related to age and position. Every young player at one of the most successful football academies in the country participated in this study (N=119, M=16.44±1.17). The sample was divided into four age groups according to the championship system (U16, U17, U18, U21), and into specific football positions (goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, and striker). Basedonthe results, the young academy football players had a low level ofamotivation (1.45±0.68), a high level of extrinsic motivation (5.96±0.64), and can be characterized with a higher level task (4.02±0.62) than ego orientation (3.01±0.62). All of the results for coping skills were in the mid-range (M=3.00-3.41). There were no differences in motivation, perceived motivational climate, and coping among the football players regarding their positions. However, there were significant differences among the age groups in perceived motivation and coping skills. Older players were more egooriented and had a higher level of peaking under pressure, while younger players demonstrated higher level task, ego, and coach ability levels. Football coaches need to focus less on positions and more on age differences when dealing with motivation, perceived motivation, and coping.