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.
Lea-Cathrin Dohme, David Piggott, Susan Backhouse, and Gareth Morgan
Ryan W. Guenter, John G.H. Dunn, and Nicholas L. Holt
The purpose of this study was to examine “intangible” characteristics that scouts consider when evaluating draft-eligible prospects for the Western Hockey League. Sixteen scouts participated in semistructured interviews that were subjected to an inductive thematic analysis and then organized around predetermined categories of why intangibles were important, what intangibles were valued, and how scouts evaluated these intangibles. Intangibles helped scouts establish players’ fit with the organizational culture of teams and influenced scouts’ draft-list ranking of players. The key intangibles scouts sought were labeled compete, passion, character, and leadership/team player. Scouts noted red flags (i.e., selfish on-ice behaviors, bad body language, and poor parental behavior) that led them to question players’ suitability for their respective organizations. Finally, scouts used an investigative process to identify and evaluate these intangibles through direct observation; interviews with players, coaches, and trainers; and assessments of players’ social media activities. Implications for sport psychology consultants are discussed.
Sarah Lawrason, Jennifer Turnnidge, Luc J. Martin, and Jean Côté
To maximize the effectiveness of coach development, educational programs should target coaches’ interpersonal behaviors, be informed by behavior-change techniques, and incorporate comprehensive evaluation procedures. Thus, informed by the full-range leadership model (see Bass and Riggio in 2006) and the Behaviour Change Wheel (see Michie et al. in 2011), Turnnidge and Côté in 2017 developed the Transformational Coaching Workshop (TCW). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the TCW’s effectiveness through observation before and after coaches’ workshop participation. Participants included 8 male head coaches of youth soccer teams. Systematic observation and coding using the Coach Leadership Assessment System were employed pre- and postworkshop to examine coaches’ leadership behaviors. Coaches made improvements in the types of leadership behaviors used and how they were conveyed. This study demonstrates that systematic observation can be implemented to explore real-world changes in behaviors. Future research should examine the impact of the TCW on athlete outcomes.
Michelle Smith, Hayley E. McEwan, David Tod, and Amanda Martindale
The research team explored UK trainee sport and exercise psychologists’ perspectives on developing professional-judgment and decision-making (PJDM) expertise during their British Psychological Society Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (Stage 2). An assorted analysis approach was adopted to combine an existing longitudinal qualitative data set with the collection and analysis of a new qualitative data set. Participants (1 female, 6 male) were interviewed 4 times over a 3-yr training period, at minimum yearly intervals. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and reflexive thematic analysis applied to transcripts using the theoretical concepts of PJDM. Experience, analytical reasoning, and observation of other practitioners’ practice was useful for developing PJDM expertise. PJDM expertise might be optimized through the use of knowledge-elicitation principles. For example, supervisors could embed critical cues in the anecdotes they share to expand the experience base that trainees can draw from when making decisions.
Ashley M. Duguay, Todd M. Loughead, and James M. Cook
The present study sought to address 2 limitations of previous athlete-leadership research: (a) Researchers have predominantly examined the shared nature of athlete leadership using aggregated approaches, which has limited our ability to examine differences in the degree of sharedness between teams, and (b) the limited availability of research related to dyadic predictors (i.e., qualities of the relation between 2 individuals) of athlete leadership. Therefore, social-network analysis was used to examine athlete leadership across multiple levels (i.e., individual, dyadic, and network) in 4 competitive female youth soccer teams (N = 68). Findings demonstrated differences in the degree to which athlete leadership was shared between the teams. Furthermore, multiple-regression quadratic-assignment procedures showed that skill nomination and formal leadership status were significant predictors of how often participants reported looking to their teammates for leadership.
Zachary McCarver, Shelby Anderson, Justine Vosloo, and Sebastian Harenberg
The purpose of the present study was to explore diversity characteristics and experiences of discrimination in certified mental-performance consultants (CMPCs). The results of a questionnaire (N = 260) indicated that CMPCs remain a rather homogeneous population (>80% White, heterosexual, and able-bodied). Female and non-White consultants were significantly more likely to experience discrimination in the field. The findings indicate that minorities remain underrepresented among CMPCs. In addition, the profession is in need of interventional strategies to prevent experiences of discrimination in applied sport psychology.
Mike Stoker, Ian Maynard, Joanne Butt, Kate Hays, and Paul Hughes
In previous research, multiple demands and consequences were manipulated simultaneously to examine methods for pressure training. Building on literature, in this study a single demand or consequence stressor was manipulated in isolation. Specifically, in a matched within-subject design, 6 international shooters (mean age 28.67 yr) performed a shooting task while exposed to a single demand (task, performer, environmental) or consequence (reward, forfeit, judgment) stressor. Perceived pressure, anxiety (intensity and direction), and performance were measured. Compared with baseline, manipulating demands did not affect pressure or anxiety. In contrast, pressure and cognitive anxiety significantly increased when judgment or forfeit consequence stressors were introduced. Thus, the findings lack support for manipulating demands but strongly support introducing consequences when pressure training. Compared with baseline, the judgment stressor also created debilitative anxiety. Hence, in terms of introducing a single stressor, judgment appeared most impactful and may be most effective for certain athlete populations.
Philip D. Imholte, Jedediah E. Blanton, and Michelle M. McAlarnen
The purpose of this study was to crystalize a single case of informal athlete leadership in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) during the 2015 season. Teammates and coaches of a Class A MiLB team voted for the highlighted participant as the best athlete leader on the team. The first author conducted 8 individual semistructured interviews with the participant, 2 coaches, and 5 teammates. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis and open-ended prompts based on leadership and athlete literature, the first author learned about the highlighted participant’s emergence as a leader on a team without formal leadership titles. Findings revealed 4 main themes: navigating personal on-the-field failure, fulfilling others’ expectations, helping teammates manage emotions, and fostering a fun working environment. Findings also indicated 1 foundational theme, having a philosophy, that grounded the 4 main themes. Implications for athlete leadership development and future directions for athlete leadership research are discussed.