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Adam D.G. Baxter-Jones and Peter J. Helms

This paper reviews the findings from a longitudinal study following the growth and development of young British athletes. Four sports were studied: gymnastics, soccer, swimming, and tennis. Four main areas of concern were identified and studied: sports injury, growth and development, psychological and psychosocial problems, and physiological functioning. No evidence was found to suggest that training affected growth or sexual development. The incidence and severity of injuries was low. Athletes were shown to have a healthy lifestyle. The negative effects of intensive training at a young age were outweighed by the many social, psychological and health benefits that a serious commitment to sport brought these young people.

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Colin A. Zestcott, Uri Lifshin, Peter Helm and Jeff Greenberg

This research applied insights from terror management theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) to the world of sport. According to TMT, self-esteem buffers against the potential for death anxiety. Because sport allows people to attain self-esteem, reminders of death may improve performance in sport. In Study 1, a mortality salience induction led to improved performance in a “one-on-one” basketball game. In Study 2, a subtle death prime led to higher scores on a basketball shooting task, which was associated with increased task-related self-esteem. These results may promote our understanding of sport and provide a novel potential way to improve athletic performance.