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.