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Performance Enhancement and the Young Athlete: Mapping the Landscape and Navigating Future Directions

Chris G. Harwood and Sam N. Thrower

The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive narrative review of extant scientific knowledge on the effectiveness of performance-enhancement-based interventions in youth sport settings. Specifically, the authors explore the effects of psychological interventions on the sport performance of young athletes (18 yr of age or under). Drawing on over 80 published studies that have attempted to enhance young athletes’ performances using a range of methodological and strategic approaches, four main clusters of research are presented. These clusters include single-strategy psychological-skills-training (PST) interventions, multimodal PST interventions, alternative single-strategy interventions, and alternative multimodal interventions. In each of these clusters, the landscape of work is overviewed and papers of particular methodological interest are highlighted before the authors draw out critical reflections, future research directions, and recommendations for supporting further scholarship and practice with young athletes.

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Evaluating the “Optimal Competition Parenting Workshop” Using the RE-AIM Framework: A 4-Year Organizational-Level Intervention in British Junior Tennis

Sam N. Thrower, Christopher M. Spray, and Chris G. Harwood

The purpose of the current study was to utilize the RE-AIM (i.e., reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance) framework to evaluate the national-level scale-out of the Lawn Tennis Association’s “Optimal Competition Parenting Workshop” (OCPW) across a 4-year period. During 2018, 65 workshops were run across the United Kingdom, 1,043 parents registered, and 933 parents attended. Adopting a quasi-experimental design, multilevel analyses revealed significant increases in parents’ (n = 130) task goal orientation and competition tennis parenting efficacy, as well as significant decreases in ego goal orientation and unpleasant emotions. Children’s perceptions of both mother- and father-initiated ego-involving motivational climate and their own ego goal orientation significantly decreased across time. From 2019 to 2021, a further 64 workshops were delivered to 1,110 parents with no significant differences in parents’ satisfaction, enjoyment, instructor evaluation, or transfer intention over time when compared against workshop evaluations in 2018. Overall, the OCPW represents a well-received, practical, and effective brief intervention for enhancing parental involvement in junior tennis.