Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $41.00

1 year subscription

USD  $54.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $77.00

2 year subscription

USD  $101.00

The practice of high school sport is, in large part, justified based on the premise that participation exposes student-athletes to an array of situations that, when experienced positively, allow them to learn and refine the life skills necessary to become active, thriving, and contributing members of society. The purpose of this paper is to examine how we can maximize the developmental potential of high school sport and make it impactful. Extant literature suggests that high school sport participation exposes student-athletes to a variety of experiences that can positively and negatively influence their personal development, with coaches playing a particularly influential role in this developmental process. However, within this body of evidence, issues of research quality have been raised, limiting the inferences that can be drawn. Future research directions are presented that address methodological limitations. Furthermore, in efforts to (re)consider the desired impact of high school sport, a critical discussion with policy and practical implications is offered.

Turgeon is with the School of Psychoeducation, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada. Kendellen, Kramers, and Camiré are with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Rathwell is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, Canada.

Camiré (mcamire@uottawa.ca) is corresponding author.
  • Ashdown-Franks, G., Sabiston, C.M., Solomon-Krakus, S., & O’Loughlin, J.L. (2017). Sport participation in high school and anxiety symptoms in young adulthood. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 12, 19–24. doi:10.1016/j.mhpa.2016.12.001

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bean, C., & Forneris, T. (2016). Examining the importance of intentionally structuring the youth sport context to facilitate positive youth development. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 28, 410–425. doi:10.1080/10413200.2016.1164764

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bean, C., Kramers, S., Forneris, T., & Camiré, M. (2018). The implicit/explicit continuum of life skills development and transfer. Quest, 70, 456–470. doi:10.1080/00336297.2018.1451348

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bowers, E.P., Johnson, S.K., Buckingham, M.H., Gasca, S., Warren, D.J., Lerner, J.V., & Lerner, R.M. (2014). Important non-parental adults and positive youth development across mid- to late-adolescence: The moderating effect of parenting profiles. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 43, 897–918. PubMed ID: 24557780 doi:10.1007/s10964-014-0095-x

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Buford-May, R.A. (2001). The sticky situation of sportsmanship: Contexts and contradictions in sportsmanship among high school boys basketball players. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 25, 372–389. doi:10.1177/0193723501254003

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M. (2014). Youth development in North American high school sport: Review and recommendations. Quest, 66, 495–511. doi:10.1080/00336297.2014.952448

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M. (2015a). Being a teacher-coach in Ontario high schools: Challenges and recommendations. PHEnex Journal, 7(1), 1–15.

  • Camiré, M. (2015b). Examining high school teacher-coaches’ perspective on relationship building with student-athletes. International Sport Coaching Journal, 2, 125–136. doi:10.1123/iscj.2014-0098

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., & Kendellen, K. (2016). Coaching for positive youth development in high school sport. In N.L. Holt (Ed.), Positive youth development through sport (2nd ed., pp. 126–136). London, UK: Routledge.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., Kendellen, K., Rathwell, S., & Felber Charbonneau, E. (2018). Evaluation of the pilot implementation of the Coaching for Life Skills program. International Sport Coaching Journal, 5, 227–236. doi:10.1123/iscj.2018-0006

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., Rocchi, M., & Kendellen, K. (2016). Profiling the Canadian high school teacher-coach: A national survey. International Sport Coaching Journal, 3, 145–155. doi:10.1123/iscj.2015-0110

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., Rocchi, M., & Kendellen, K. (2017). A comparative analysis of physical education and non-physical education teachers who coach high school sport teams. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 12, 557–564. doi:10.1177/1747954117727629

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., & Trudel, P. (2010). High school athletes’ perspectives on character development through sport participation. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 15, 193–207. doi:10.1080/17408980902877617

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., & Trudel, P. (2013). Using high school football to promote life skills and student engagement: Perspectives from Canadian coaches and students. World Journal of Education, 3(3), 40–51. doi:10.5430/wje.v3n3p40

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., Trudel, P., & Forneris, T. (2009). High school athletes’ perspectives on support, communication, negotiation and life skill development. Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, 1, 72–88. doi:10.1080/19398440802673275

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., Trudel, P., & Forneris, T. (2012). Coaching and transferring life skills: Philosophies and strategies used by model high school coaches. The Sport Psychologist, 26, 243–260. doi:10.1123/tsp.26.2.243

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., Trudel, P., & Forneris, T. (2014). Examining how model youth sport coaches learn to facilitate positive youth development. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 19, 1–17. doi:10.1080/17408989.2012.726975

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Camiré, M., Werthner, P., & Trudel, P. (2009). Mission statements in sport and their ethical messages: Are they being communicated to practitioners? Athletic Insight, 11(1), 75–85.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carson Sackett, S., & Gano-Overway, L.A. (2017). Coaching life skills development: Best practices and high school tennis coach exemplar. International Sport Coaching Journal, 4, 206–219. doi:10.1123/iscj.2016-0080

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coakley, J. (2011). Youth sports: What counts as “positive development”? Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 35, 306–324. doi:10.1177/0193723511417311

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, K., Gould, D., Lauer, L., & Chung, Y. (2009). Coaching life skills through football: Philosophical beliefs of outstanding high school football coaches. International Journal of Coaching Science, 3(1), 29–54. doi:10.1080/10413200601113786

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dworkin, J., & Larson, R. (2006). Adolescents’ negative experiences in organized youth activities. Journal of Youth Development, 1(3), 1–19.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eccles, J.S., & Barber, B.L. (1999). Student council, volunteering, basketball, or marching band. What kind of extracurricular involvement matters? Journal of Adolescent Research, 14, 10–43. doi:10.1177/0743558499141003

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ferris, K.A., Ettekal, A.V., Agans, J.P., & Burkhard, B.M. (2016). Character development through youth sport: High school coaches’ perspectives’ about a character-based education program. Journal of Youth Development, 10, 127–140. doi:10.5195/JYD.2015.13

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Forneris, T., Camiré, M., & Williamson, R. (2015). Extracurricular activity participation and the acquisition of developmental assets: Differences between involved and noninvolved Canadian high school students. Applied Developmental Science, 19, 47–55. doi:10.1080/10888691.2014.980580

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fox, C.K., Barr-Anderson, D., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Wall, M. (2010). Physical activity and sports team participation: Associations with academic outcomes in middle school and high school students. Journal of School Health, 80, 31–37. PubMed ID: 20051088 doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2009.00454.x

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gould, D., & Carson, S. (2008). Life skills development through sport: Current status and future directions. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1, 58–78. doi:10.1080/17509840701834573

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gould, D., Chung, Y., Smith, P., & White, J. (2006). Future directions in coaching life skills: Understanding high school coaches’ views and needs. Athletic Insight, 8(3), 28–38.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gould, D., Collins, K., Lauer, L., & Chung, Y. (2007). Coaching life skills through football: A study of award winning high school coaches. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 19, 16–37. doi:10.1080/10413200601113786

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gould, D., Voelker, D.K., & Griffes, K. (2013). Best coaching practices for developing team captains. The Sport Psychologist, 27, 13–26. doi:10.1123/tsp.27.1.13

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gregory, S. (2017). How kids’ sports became a $15 billion industry. Retrieved from http://time.com/4913687/how-kids-sports-became-15-billion-industry/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harrison, P.A., & Narayan, G. (2003). Differences in behavior, psychological factors, and environmental factors associated with participation in school sports and other activities in adolescence. Journal of School Health, 73, 113–120. PubMed ID: 12677730 doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2003.tb03585.x

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harwood, C.G., Barker, J.B., & Anderson, R. (2015). Psychosocial development in youth soccer players: Assessing the effectiveness of the 5Cs intervention program. The Sport Psychologist, 29, 319–334. doi:10.1123/tsp.2014-0161

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hayden, L.A., Whitley, M.A., Cook, A.L., Dumais, A., Silva, M., & Scherer, A. (2015). An exploration of life skill development through sport in three international high schools. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 7, 759–775. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2015.1011217

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holt, N.L., Neely, K.C., Slater, L., Camiré, M., Côté, J., Fraser-Thomas, J., . . . Tamminen, K. (2017). A grounded theory of positive youth development through sport based on results from a qualitative meta-study. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 10, 1–49. PubMed ID: 27695511 doi:10.1080/1750984X.2016.1180704

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holt, N.L., Tink, L.N., Mandigo, J.L., & Fox, K.R. (2008). Do youth learn life skills through their involvement in high school sport? A case study. Canadian Journal of Education, 31, 281–304.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hoover, S.J., Winner, R.K., McCutchan, H., Beaudoin, C.C., Judge, L.W., Jones, L.M., . . . Hoover, D.L. (2017). Mood and performance anxiety in high school basketball players: A pilot study. International Journal of Exercise Science, 10, 604–618. PubMed ID: 28674604

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jewett, R., Sabiston, C.M., Brunet, J., O’Loughlin, E.K., Scarapicchia, T., & O’Loughlin, J. (2014). School sport participation during adolescence and mental health in early adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55, 640–644. PubMed ID: 24928804 doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.04.018

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kendellen, K., & Camiré, M. (2017). Examining the life skill development and transfer experiences of former high school athletes. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 15, 395–408. doi:10.1080/1612197X.2015.1114502

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kniffin, K.M., Wansink, B., & Shimizu, M. (2015). Sports at work: Anticipated and persistent correlates of participation in high school athletics. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 22, 217–230. doi:10.1177/1548051814538099

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lacroix, C., Camiré, M., & Trudel, P. (2008). High school coaches’ characteristics and their perspectives on the purpose of school sport participation. International Journal of Coaching Science, 2(2), 23–42.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marsh, H.W., & Kleitman, S. (2003). School athletic participation: Mostly gain with little pain. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 25, 205–228. doi:10.1123/jsep.25.2.205

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mills, P.R. (1979). The place of interscholastic sport in American education, 1920–1939. In W.M. Ladd & A. Lumpkin (Eds.), Sport in American education: History and perspective (pp. 33–49). Washington, DC: AAHPERD.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mirel, J. (1982). From student control to institutional control of high school athletics: Three Michigan cities, 1883–1905. Journal of Social History, 16, 83–100. doi:10.1353/jsh/16.2.83

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association. (2018). Estimated probability of competing in college athletics. Retrieved from http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/estimated-probability-competing-college-athletics

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Federation of State High School Associations. (2018). Who we are—Mission statement. Retrieved from https://www.nfhs.org/who-we-are/missionstatement

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Neely, S.R., & Vaquera, E. (2017). Making it count: Breadth and intensity of extracurricular engagement and high school dropout. Sociological Perspective, 60, 1039–1062. doi:10.1177/0731121417700114

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Newman, T.J., Ortega, R.M., Lower, L.M., Paluta, L.M., & Vargas, T. (2016). Informing priorities for coaching education: Perspectives from youth sport leaders. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 11, 436–445. doi:10.1177/1747954116645207

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • O’Hanlon, T. (1980). Interscholastic athletics, 1900–1940: Shaping citizens for unequal roles in the modern industrial state. Educational Theory, 30, 89–103. doi:10.1111/j.1741-5446.1980.tb00912.x

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Partridge, J.A., & Knapp, B.A. (2016). Mean girls: Adolescent female athletes and peer conflict in sport. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 28, 113–127. doi:10.1080/10413200.2015.1076088

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Petitpas, A.J., Cornelius, A.E., Van Raalte, J.L., & Jones, T. (2005). A framework for planning youth sport programs that foster psychosocial development. The Sport Psychologist, 19, 63–80. doi:10.1123/tsp.19.1.63

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pierce, S., Erickson, K., & Dinu, R. (2018). Teacher-coaches’ perceptions of life skills transfer from high school sport to the classroom. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/10413200.2018.1500402

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pierce, S., Gould, C., & Camiré, M. (2017). Definition and model of life skills transfer. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 10, 186–211. doi:10.1080/1750984X.2016.1199727

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Pot, N., & van Hilvoorde, I. (2013). Generalizing the effects of school sports: Comparing the cultural contexts of school sports in the Netherlands and the USA. Sport in Society, 16, 1164–1175. doi:10.1080/17430437.2013.790894

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rocchi, M., & Camiré, M. (2018). The contribution of extracurricular coaching on high school teachers’ job satisfaction. Educational Psychology, 38, 305–324. doi:10.1080/01443410.2017.1383359

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Samek, D.R., Elkins, I.J., Keyes, M.A., Iacono, W.G., & McGue, M. (2015). High school sports involvement diminishes the association between childhood conduct disorder and adult antisocial behavior. Journal of Adolescent Health, 57, 107–112. PubMed ID: 25937472 doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.03.009

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • School Sport Canada. (2018). About SSC. Retrieved from http://www.schoolsport.ca

  • Shifrer, D., Pearson, J., Muller, C., & Wilkinson, L. (2015). College-going benefits of high school sports participation: Race and gender differences over three decades. Youth & Society, 47, 295–318. PubMed ID: 26101452 doi:10.1177/0044118X12461656

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • St. Pierre, E.A. (2006). Scientifically based research in education: Epistemology and ethics. Adult Education Quarterly, 56, 239–266. doi:10.1177/0741713606289025

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Strachan, L., MacDonald, D.J., & Côté, J. (2016). Project SCORE! Coaches’ perceptions of an online tool to promote positive youth development in sport. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 11, 108–115. doi:10.1177/1747954115624827

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trottier, C., & Robitaille, S. (2014). Fostering life skills development in high school and community sport: A comparative analysis of the coach’s role. The Sport Psychologist, 28, 10–21. doi:10.1123/tsp.2012-0094

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trudel, P., & Gilbert, W.D. (2006). Coaching and coach education. In D. Kirk, M. O’sullivan, & D. McDonald (Eds.), Handbook of physical education (pp. 516–539). London, UK: Sage.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Van Boekel, M., Bulut, O., Stanke, L., Palma Zamora, J.R., Jang, Y., Kang, Y., & Nickodem, K. (2016). Effects of participation in school sports on academic and social functioning. Journal of Applied Development Psychology, 46, 31–40. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2016.05.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vella, S.A., Oades, L.G., & Crowe, T.P. (2013). A pilot test of transformational leadership training for sports coaches: Impact on the developmental experiences of adolescent athletes. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 8, 513–530. doi:10.1260/1747-9541.8.3.513

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilkes, S., & Côté, J. (2010). The developmental experiences of adolescent females in structured basketball programs. PHEnex Journal, 2, 1–21.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wretman, C.J. (2017). School sports participation and academic achievement in middle and high school. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 8, 399–420. doi:10.1086/693117

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 114 114 19
Full Text Views 27 27 14
PDF Downloads 15 15 6