Achievement Motivation and Academic Success: A Study of Student-Athletes in a Malaysian Sports School


  • Mohd Amirul Syafiq bin Abdullah
  • Aini Marina Ma’rof
  • Tengku Fadilah Tengku Kamalden
  • Nor Aniza Ahmad


Achievement Motivation, Student-Athletes, Academic Performance, Academic Achievement, Malaysian Sports School


Despite excelling in competitive sports, student-athletes have consistently underperformed academically despite empirical evidence suggesting a positive impact of regular physical activities on learning and memory. Reports show that their exam performance is just above the passing marks and that they need help to look for jobs. Thus, this research investigates the relationships between achievement motivation and academic achievements in a Malaysian sports school context. This study was conducted on 282 secondary school-aged student-athletes. Participants were selected using stratified random sampling to ensure all age groups were covered. A series of Pearson's Correlation Coefficients were performed to determine the relationships between achievement motivation and academic achievements in four core subjects – Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics, and Science. Motivation seems to be a factor that has a significant relationship with academic achievement in all four core subjects. Based on the data, male student-athletes have higher amotivation levels. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation have positive correlations with language subjects and negative correlations with amotivation. Intrinsic motivation towards accomplishment was an additional significant predictor for the Science subject. In sum, the main findings of this study suggest that motivation plays a significant role in affecting student outcomes in the four core subjects, but especially in language subjects, shedding new light on issues about student-athletes' academic achievement. This study has demonstrated that motivation plays an integral part in improving student-athletes' academic achievement in the current sample; thus, schools should prioritize addressing the lack of this fundamental driving force that energizes and directs student behaviour toward achievement over other enrichment programs. Policyholders such as school boards should also focus more on motivational programs to help improve the students' overall performances.