The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of adolescents’ positive and negative developmental experiences in sport. Twenty-two purposefully sampled adolescent competitive swimmers participated in a semistructured qualitative interview. Content analysis led to the organization of meaning units into themes and categories (Patton, 2002). Athletes suggested their sport involvement facilitated many positive developmental experiences (i.e., related to challenge, meaningful adult and peer relationships, a sense of community, and other life experiences) and some negative developmental experiences (i.e., related to poor coach relationships, negative peer influences, parent pressure, and the challenging psychological environment of competitive sport). Findings underline the important roles of sport programmers, clubs, coaches, and parents in facilitating youths’ positive developmental experiences in sport, while highlighting numerous important directions for future research. Implications for coach training and practice are outlined.
Jessica Fraser-Thomas and Jean Côté
Cassidy Preston and Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Performance success and positive development are goals of youth sport coaching that need not but often do find themselves in conflict with each other, yet there is a dearth of research that has inquired into the tensions between these 2 goals for sport coaches. Adopting an autoethnographic research design, this study explored the first author’s coaching experiences with a focus on his attempts to facilitate players’ personal development and the team’s performance success in a Canadian elite minor ice hockey context. Framed in a positive-youth-development approach, the first author’s philosophy and behaviors were informed by key tenants of achievement goal theory and self-determination theory. Three key areas were problematized: pursuing personal development and performance success, creating a task-oriented environment, and implementing autonomy-supportive behaviors. Practical implications for elite youth coaches and coach educations programs are discussed.
Karl Erickson, Jean Côté, and Jessica Fraser-Thomas
What experiences are needed to become a high-performance coach? The present study addressed this question through structured retrospective quantitative interviews with 10 team- and 9 individual-sport coaches at the Canadian interuniversity-sport level. Minimum amounts of certain experiences were deemed necessary but not sufficient to become a high-performance coach (e.g., playing the sport they now coach and interaction with a mentor coach for all coaches, leadership opportunities as athletes for team-sport coaches only). Although coaches reported varying amounts of these necessary experiences, general stages of high-performance coach development were traced. Findings serve to identify and support potential high-performance coaches and increase the effectiveness of formal coaching-education programs.
Cassidy Preston, Veronica Allan, Lauren Wolman, and Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Extensive research highlights the important roles of coaches and parents in fostering positive youth development (PYD). However, little research has examined the complex coach–parent relationship in the bidirectional interactions of the coach-parent-athlete triad. This research is particularly pertinent in elite youth sport, wherein the performance-oriented environment may impede the pursuit of PYD. As such, this study aimed to deepen understandings of the coach–parent relationship in relation to athletes’ PYD. Specifically, the first author critically analyzed and reflected on his experiences as an elite youth ice hockey coach, thus offering a unique portrayal of reflective practice in the context of sport coaching. Two interconnected themes emerged: understanding conflict in the coach-parent-athlete relationship and fostering collaboration through enhanced coach–parent communication. Findings and reflections are discussed in relation to the dual-concern model of conflict resolution, and strategies to help practitioners foster cooperative coach–parent relationships are presented.