The purpose of the current study was to examine two different trajectories of sport participation and explore any similarities or differences that may result regarding personal development and sport outcomes. Seventy-four youth athletes (40 “specializers” and 34 “samplers”) were recruited for the current study and four measures were employed to assess sport experiences and outcomes. Discriminant function analyses revealed no differences between groups in asset possession or sources of enjoyment however, differences were reported in sport experiences and burnout. The “samplers” reported more experiences regarding the integration of sport and family as well as linkages to the community. Although the “specializers” reported higher levels of physical/emotional exhaustion than did the “samplers,” they also reported more experiences related to diverse peer groups. The differences highlight the importance of examining specific pathways of development in sport to gain a deeper understanding of youths’ experiences in sport.
Leisha Strachan, Jean Côté, and Janice Deakin
Leisha Strachan, Tara-Leigh McHugh, and Courtney Mason
This study aimed to understand how positive youth development through sport and physical activity is understood and experienced by urban indigenous youth. Research in positive youth development claims that structured physical activities are critical for development. The 5 Cs (i.e., confidence, competence, character, connection, caring) are a gold standard when discussing positive outcomes and are important characteristics for youth to possess to attain the sixth C—contribution. Indigenous leaders recognize the value of sport for indigenous children and youth. Recent works in sport psychology have called for research to understand youth sport and physical activity from diverse cultural perspectives. The current study used a community-based participatory framework, and 43 youth from across 3 Canadian settings were recruited. Talking circles were used to collect the data. Results point to some unique understandings of the 5 Cs by the participants—namely, the inclusion of the self within each C.
Fernando Santos, Daniel Gould, and Leisha Strachan
Research on positive youth development (PYD)-focused coach education programs have provided valuable insights on how to increase youth sport coaches’ ability to facilitate PYD. Variables such as key program stakeholders’ behaviors (e.g., parents) and course instructors’ behaviors, however, have not been studied. This paper offers suggestions for conceptualizing and organizing research on PYD-focused coach education programs and interventions that expand beyond coaches. Specifically, research on PYD-focused coach education programs should consider including sport leaders and parents in such interventions, and provide training for coach instructors to teach youth sport coaches how to facilitate PYD. Conducting this type of research will help researchers have greater real world impact and facilitate an understanding of the sustainability of PYD behaviors.
Fernando Santos, Leisha Strachan, Daniel Gould, Paulo Pereira, and Cláudia Machado
Team captains play an important role in promoting positive life-skills development (PLSD) in their teammates. However, little research has been conducted to understand how team captains perceive the value of PLSD in high-performance sport. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to understand how team captains integrate PLSD in high-performance sport. The participants in this study were 10 team captains from high-performance sports with teammates ranging from 14 to 38 years old. Data collection was conducted through 2 semistructured interviews. Results indicated that participants considered themselves PLSD-focused leaders and acknowledged the need to develop specific PLSD strategies. Nevertheless, team captains recognized the need to obtain support from their coaches to implement PLSD. Moving forward, coaches could provide a support system for athlete leaders to further enhance their ability to promote PLSD in high-performance sport.
Fernando Santos, Nuno Corte-Real, Leonor Regueiras, Leisha Strachan, Cláudia Dias, and António Fonseca
Over the last decades positive development (PD) has served as a framework for several investigations within the sport science community. In fact, multiple researchers have analyzed youth coaches’ role in PD. However, there is recent interest in exploring high performance coaching due to the complexity of the coaching practice, the different developmental needs presented by players, and the relevance of PD within this particular environment. The purpose of this study was to understand the perspectives of Portuguese football coaches about the importance of PD in high performance coaching. The participants in the study were ten male Portuguese football coaches who trained athletes between the ages of 16 and 39 years of age. Findings showed that coaches viewed winning and on field performance as top priorities in their coaching philosophy, but recognized the importance of PD. Coaches also envisioned the determinant role youth coaches have in this domain. Coaches conceptualized PD as an overarching framework that could be used across the developmental spectrum to convey a range of PD outcomes in high performance contexts such as teamwork, respect for others and transfer to other life domains. Moving forward, coach education courses should help coaches develop strategies to foster PD.