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Given the prevalence of group contexts in sport and the importance of the social environment for motivating youth participants, understanding and enhancing group dynamics are critical to facilitate youths’ participation in, and development through, sport. The current objective was to report on a scoping review that was employed to summarize research focused on the dynamics in youth sport groups. The review identified several themes that have been focused on with regularity (i.e., cohesion) and identified others with opportunities for greater incorporation in youth sport research (e.g., cooperation). Furthermore, encouragement is provided to move beyond survey-based, cross-sectional research and to give greater consideration to a developmental approach to understanding child and youth perceptions of the groups to which they belong. Overall, there are many opportunities for researchers to study the dynamics of youth sport groups with an aim to enhance the experiences of young athletes and facilitate group functioning.
Petersen is with the Human Studies Program, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada. Eys and Watson are with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON, Canada; Eys is also with the Dept. of Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Evans is with the Dept. of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.