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Fostering Psychosocial Characteristics Within an English Soccer Academy

Tom O. Mitchell, Ian H.J. Cowburn, David Piggott, Martin A. Littlewood, Tony Cook, and Kevin Till

The possession of certain psychosocial characteristics can offer performance advantages in a range of domains. However, integrating a program to support the development of psychosocial characteristics is a lengthy process and involves context-specific knowledge and effective working relationships with stakeholders. The aim of this article is to present a real-life example of the design, delivery, and implementation of a theoretically informed psychosocial development program for players within an academy soccer setting to include player workshops, coach delivery, and ways to influence the environment. This multifaceted approach included formal and informal meetings, observations, coach education, and social media groups. Initial reflections suggested workshops are an effective method to “teach” some of the aspects within the program. Integrating coaches throughout design and implementation is recommended. Key stakeholders should consider investing time in education for coaches to develop strategies to foster psychosocial development in their players. Limitations and future recommendations are discussed.