Positive youth development (PYD) programs assist youth in acquiring the skills, attitudes, and values that are critical in coping with various risk factors in their communities. The purpose of this paper is to highlight strategies that sport psychology consultants can use to support PYD programs and develop collaboration and consistency of delivery among community youth serving agencies that use sport and physical activity-based experiences to promote positive youth development. In particular, the role of sport psychology consultants within sport and physical activity programs that serve as a catalyst for community youth development (CYD) is examined. Barriers to collaboration among community-based organizations are identified and strategies to overcome these obstacles are proposed. Sport psychology consultants are in a unique position to support PYD and CYD in the athletes and communities they serve.
Al Petitpas, Judy Van Raalte, and Ted France
Leonardo Ruiz, Judy L. Van Raalte, Thaddeus France, and Al Petitpas
More than 1,400 Latin American professional baseball players, age 16-21, are employed by 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) academies in the Dominican Republic. The popular press has highlighted scandals related to professional youth baseball player recruitment, selection, and exploitation in the academies, but little attention has been given to the academy experiences of youth baseball players from the perspective of the players themselves. For this research, 11 professional baseball players residing at an MLB Academy in the Dominican Republic participated in semi-structured interviews. Players described their transitions into the baseball academy system, their experiences in the academy, and their perceptions and expectations upon leaving or being released from the academy. Themes that emerged from the data included athletes’ hopes and dreams, stress, faith, and career transitions. Clinical implications of these findings for sport psychology practitioners are discussed.