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 categorisation or synthesis of these PSCs exists to date. To provide such synthesis, this systematic review aims to: (i) identify PSCs perceived as facilitative of talented youth athletes’ development; (ii) group and label synonymous PSCs; and (iii) categorise PSCs based on definitions established in 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. Eight PSCs were categorised as psychological skills (e.g., goal-setting, social support seeking, and self-talk) and eleven as psychological characteristics (e.g., self-confidence, focus, and motivation). The practical implications of these findings are discussed.

The Sport Psychologist
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