Psychological Skills and Characteristics Facilitative of Youth Athletes’ Development: A Systematic Review

in The Sport Psychologist
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Research has identified psychological skills and characteristics (PSCs) perceived to facilitate talented youth athletes’ development. However, no systematic categorization or synthesis of these PSCs exists to date. To provide such synthesis, this systematic review aimed to identify PSCs perceived as facilitative of talented youth athletes’ development, group and label synonymous PSCs, and categorize PSCs based on definitions established by Dohme, Backhouse, Piggott, and Morgan (2017). PRISMA systematic-review guidelines were employed and a comprehensive literature search of SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, and ERIC completed in November 2017. Twenty-five empirical studies published between 2002 and 2017 met the inclusion criteria. Through thematic analysis, 19 PSCs were identified as facilitative of youth athletes’ development—8 were categorized as psychological skills (e.g., goal setting, social-support seeking, and self-talk) and 11 as psychological characteristics (e.g., self-confidence, focus, and motivation). The practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Dohme is with the Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. Piggott and Backhouse are with the School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom, and the Inst. of Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds, United Kingdom. Morgan is with the Football Association, Needwood, Burton-upon-Trent, United Kingdom.

Dohme (LDohme@cardiffmet.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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