An Examination of Mental Skills Training in Junior Tennis Coaches

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of North Carolina–Greensboro
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The effects of mental skills training in youth sport have been well documented (Efran, Lessor, & Spiller, 1994; Li-Wei, Qi-Wei, Orlick, & Zitzelsberger, 1992; Wanlin, Hrycaiko, Martin, & Mahon, 1997). This investigation focused on understanding why mental skills training information is not being used by junior tennis coaches and identifying better ways to convey this information to coaches. Focus-group interviews were conducted with 20 elite junior tennis coaches. Results revealed a need for more mental skills training coach education on content information. Understanding how to teach mental skills was also emphasized, as was the need for coaches to become more comfortable with this process. Coaches suggested that mental skills training information could be made more user-friendly through development of hands-on concrete examples and activities, increased mental skills training resources (particularly audio and video formats), and involvement in mental skills coach education efforts.

Daniel Gould, Nicole Damarjian, and Russell Medbery are with the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, 27412-5001.

This research was supported by a grant from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Sport Science program. We would like to thank USTA Player Development staff members Lew Brewer, Paul Roten, and Ron Woods for their support throughout the project.

Special (hanks is extended to the 20 coaches for agreeing to participate in the project and for being so willing to openly express their opinions and feelings with the investigative team.

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