The aim of the paper is to widen knowledge about motivation of elite, recreational athletes and non-athletes. Participants from the elite athletes group (n = 35, 16.7 ± .70 years old) were football players of the Slovak national team. Recreational athletes (n = 31, 16.8 ± .80 years old) and non-athletes (n = 29, 15.7 ± .60 years old) are visiting Grammar School in Zvolen. D-M-V standardized questionnaire was used to determine performance motivation. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov's test disconfirmed the null hypothesis on the normality of data. We used the non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests to determine the statistical significance of the differences. The results showed that there were significant (p .0.01) differences with large effect size (η2 ≥ .14) in all the three (the performance motives scale, the anxiety inhibiting performance scale and the anxiety supporting performance scale) dimensions among the research groups. The motivation of elite athletes is significantly higher (p = .048; r = .25) compared to the recreational athletes. Also, compared to the non-athletes, the level of performance motivation is significantly higher (p = .002; r = .51) in the elite athletes. Based on the results of the study we can formulate the statement that the level of performance motivation is contingent on the level of sport activity.