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

Lea-Cathrin Dohme, David Piggott, Susan Backhouse, and Gareth Morgan

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.

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Beyond Knowledge Transfer: The Role of Coach Developers as Motivators for Lifelong Learning

Lea-Cathrin Dohme, Alexandra J. Rankin-Wright, and Sergio Lara-Bercial

Research investigating coach education and development has grown significantly over the past three decades. Most of these efforts have focused on establishing how coaches learn; yet the actual impact of specific coach education and development interventions has received considerably less attention. Moreover, the role of coach developers in facilitating this impact remains largely unknown. To address this knowledge gap, this study used a realist evaluation approach to engage in a detailed exploration of a large-scale, multi-annual coach education and development intervention with high school coaches in the Philippines. Using interviews and focus groups at two different time points with multiple stakeholders, this study established a series of context, mechanism and outcome configurations that provide a nuanced perspective on how coach education and development works. More specifically, this paper offers a novel interpretation of the role of coach developers as ‘motivators for lifelong learning’ established through three key mechanisms: 1) being available, approachable, and supportive; 2) creating a sense of belonging; and 3) raising coaches’ aspirations by increasing their sense of purpose and duty. Practical guidelines for the education of coach developers, as well as future coach education and development programmes are provided.