Psychologically athletic performance is a multiplicative function of intrapersonal (for example, intrinsic motivation) and interpersonal (for example, social support) factors. It is theorized that the layer immediately surrounding an athlete's inner core of psychological functioning consists of 4 intrapersonal factors: self-motivation, cognitive capacity and coping skills, affective orientation and mental training skills. The layer surrounding these factors is comprised of interpersonal factors, such as social support and the athlete-coach relationship. A theoretical model was advanced to show that competition-generated intrinsic motivation predisposition and social support are the two main properties of the athletic competition context that buffer against increased athletic and life stress. If such buffering effects occur, athletes' physical and psychological capacity is maintained or even enhanced. This in turn promotes continued competitive athletic participation and performance. Maximization of psychological conditions for successful performance requires that coaches foster athletes' intrapersonal and interpersonal psychosocial resources by serving as facilitators of their autonomous self-regulation rather than as controllers of their goals and behaviors.