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Corliss Bean and Tanya Forneris

The current case outlines practical strategies used by youth leaders to implement a female-only physical activity-based mentoring program. This program was selected as the case for the current paper as it scored the highest on program quality out of 26 different sport and physical activity-based youth programs within a larger project. The two program leaders were interviewed to understand what practical strategies they used to foster a high-quality program within this context. The leaders discussed how they: (a) focused on developing individualized relationships with youth, (b) balanced structure with flexibility to allow for youth voice, (c) intentionally integrated life skills, and (d) combined engaging activities with downtime to differentiate the program from school. This case provides a practical account of how front-line workers in youth mentoring programs, specifically within sport and physical activity contexts, can deliver a quality program. Reflection on areas for future work within the field of sport psychology, including ways to bridge the gap between research and practice and the need to develop communities of practice for youth programmers, are presented.

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Corliss Bean, Tanya Forneris and Michael A. Robidoux

Ice hockey is one of the most played sports by youth in Canada, and over the past twenty years, female participation rates in hockey have increased by nearly 900% (Hockey Canada, 2005; 2009). However, despite female involvement in the sport, much controversy still remains for women crossing the gender line of ‘malestream’ (Hall, 1996) hockey. The goal of this paper is to use a case study to offer information about the dynamics of female youth hockey in terms of team play, parental interaction in the stands, and youth and parental commentary about their experiences. Through video and researcher observations, extensive field notes, and interviews, the context of female hockey was examined. Results revealed that female hockey may indeed be an environment that provides a unique experience for players. Four overarching themes emerged: 1) rule differences; 2) seriousness; 3) positive parental support; and 4) emphasis on team play and social relationships.

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Corliss Bean, Majidullah Shaikh and Tanya Forneris

Coaches are primary influencers in helping youth achieve positive developmental outcomes in sport; however, it is not well understood how coaches achieve quality program delivery. The purpose of this study was two-fold: (a) to understand strategies that coaches used to facilitate program quality in youth sport and (b) explore differences in strategies between recreational and competitive programs. Twenty-five coaches participated in semistructured interviews, where they discussed strategies employed for program delivery. Interviews were guided, in-part, by Eccles and Gootman’s eight setting features that should be present within a program for youth to achieve positive developmental outcomes. An inductive-deductive thematic analysis was employed, in which strategies associated with facilitating program quality were interpreted inductively, and then categorised deductively under a relevant setting feature. Results indicated that coaches used unique strategies across all eight setting features, with a predominant focus on strategies to support youth’s efficacy and mattering (e.g., giving positive reinforcement) and opportunities for skill-building (e.g., valuing holistic development of youth), with lesser focus on strategies that involved integrating family, school, and community. Practical implications are discussed on how coaches can use strategies to address multiple setting features and recommendations are provided for improving program delivery.