Physical education (PE) can be the starting point for many students to be physically active throughout their lives. Positive emotional experiences in PE are discussed as beneficial for long-term physical activity, however, triggers of students’ emotions are still unclear. The purpose of this study is to explore, from a student’s perspective, emotions and their triggers, which occur in PE classes. N = 12 students (male: six, female: six, ø-age: 15.6 ± 1.2 years) have been interviewed using a focused semi-structured interview to identify their emotions in PE and to explore the situations in which they occurred. An inductive approach with elements of the Grounded Theory Method was implemented to analyze the data. Students reported a wide range of positive and negative emotions. Furthermore, four crucial triggers were identified: (I) Attractiveness of the task, (II) social belonging, (III) competence and (IV) autonomy. Parallels to existing theories, especially the Self-Determination Theory (SDT), will be discussed. These results can be used to improve teachers’ knowledge about students’ emotions in PE in order to build a basis for lifelong physical activity.
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