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Stewart A. Vella

Mental health is one of the most prominent global burdens of disease among young people, while organized youth sport is one of the most popular activities for children and adolescents worldwide. Organized sport can be an engaging vehicle for the promotion of mental health, but participation also brings several meaningful risks and detriments for young people’s mental health. This paper contains a review of the evidence underpinning the relationships between sport participation and mental health during childhood and adolescence and also outlines the key areas of risk for mental health problems. Relevant theoretical frameworks are discussed, as are the key concepts underpinning 2 exemplar sport-based interventions to promote mental health and reduce the risk of mental health problems. Recommendations for best practice in organized youth sport are not available. However, relevant frameworks are outlined, from which administrators, coaches, and athletes can base the design and delivery of sport programs to be consistent with relevant theoretical and philosophical approaches such as the athlete-centered approach to youth sports.

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Stewart A. Vella and Dana J. Perlman

The purpose of this paper is to provide a concise resource for coaches, coach educators, and coaching scientists by reviewing three common approaches to coaching: the mastery approach to coaching; autonomy-supportive coaching; and the transformational leadership approach to coaching. The theoretical foundations, purpose, evidence base, specifed behaviours, and translation into coaching and coach education of each approach are reviewed. Despite diverse theoretical foundations and variations in purpose, there is some overlap in the coaching behaviours prescribed by each approach. However, there is limited empirical evidence to support the use of the three approaches in coach education and this is detrimental to effective and evidence-based coach education. Efforts to integrate theoretical foundations are promising, and a comprehensive prescription of coaching behaviours based on an integration of the three approaches is possible. This approach can potentially lead to cumulative effects on positive athlete outcomes. Future research should elucidate the common and unique contributions of these approaches to athletes’ outcomes, and whether they differ by age, sex, type of sport, or competition level.

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Lauren A. Gardner, Christopher A. Magee and Stewart A. Vella

Background: Dropout from organized youth sport has significant adverse health implications. Enjoyment and behavioral intentions have consistently been linked with participation and dropout; however, few studies have investigated these links using a prospective design. This study explored whether enjoyment and intentions to continue predicted dropout behavior at 1-year follow-up. Methods: Questionnaires were completed by 327 regular sport participants (mean age = 13.01 y at baseline). After 1 year, 247 individuals (75.5%) continued participating in their main sport and 26 individuals (8%) dropped out. A hierarchical logistic regression model estimated the probability of dropout. In step 1, the following covariates were included: age, sex, competition level, perceived competence, parental support, coach–athlete relationship, friendship quality, and peer acceptance. In step 2, enjoyment and intentions to continue were included. Results: Step 1 indicated that age, parental support, coach–athlete relationship quality, and peer acceptance were significantly associated with dropout. Step 2 explained further variance in dropout, with both enjoyment and intentions inversely associated with dropout. Peer acceptance was the only covariate to remain significantly associated with dropout in step 2. Conclusions: Findings support the use of enjoyment and behavioral intentions as indicators of sport participation/dropout behavior and may aid the development of interventions aimed at preventing future dropout.

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Stewart A. Vella, Lindsay G. Oades and Trevor P. Crowe

This paper describes the validation of The Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory (DTLI) within a participation youth sports context. Three hundred and twenty-two athletes aged between 11 and 18 years completed the DTLI. Using a confirmatory factor analysis, the DTLI yielded an underlying factor structure that fell short of cut-off criteria for adjudging model fit. Subsequent theory-driven changes were made to the DTLI by removing the ‘high performance expectations’ subscale. Further data-driven changes were also made on the basis of high item-factor cross-loadings. The revised version of the DTLI was subjected to confirmatory factor analysis and proved to be a good fit for the obtained data. Consequently, a Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory for Youth Sport has been suggested for use within the participation youth sport context that contains 22 items, and retains six subscales.

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Lisa M. Barnett, Dean A. Dudley, Richard D. Telford, David R. Lubans, Anna S. Bryant, William M. Roberts, Philip J. Morgan, Natasha K. Schranz, Juanita R. Weissensteiner, Stewart A. Vella, Jo Salmon, Jenny Ziviani, Anthony D. Okely, Nalda Wainwright, John R. Evans and Richard J. Keegan

Assessment of physical literacy poses a dilemma of what instrument to use. There is currently no guide regarding the suitability of common assessment approaches. The purpose of this brief communication is to provide a user’s guide for selecting physical literacy assessment instruments appropriate for use in school physical education and sport settings. Although recommendations regarding specific instruments are not provided, the guide offers information about key attributes and considerations for the use. A decision flow chart has been developed to assist teachers and affiliated school practitioners to select appropriate methods of assessing physical literacy. School physical education and sport scenarios are presented to illustrate this process. It is important that practitioners are empowered to select the most appropriate instrument/s to suit their needs.

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Richard J. Keegan, Lisa M. Barnett, Dean A. Dudley, Richard D. Telford, David R. Lubans, Anna S. Bryant, William M. Roberts, Philip J. Morgan, Natasha K. Schranz, Juanita R. Weissensteiner, Stewart A. Vella, Jo Salmon, Jenny Ziviani, Anthony D. Okely, Nalda Wainwright and John R. Evans

Purpose: The development of a physical literacy definition and standards framework suitable for implementation in Australia. Method: Modified Delphi methodology. Results: Consensus was established on four defining statements: Core—Physical literacy is lifelong holistic learning acquired and applied in movement and physical activity contexts; Composition—Physical literacy reflects ongoing changes integrating physical, psychological, cognitive, and social capabilities; Importance—Physical literacy is vital in helping us lead healthy and fulfilling lives through movement and physical activity; and Aspiration—A physically literate person is able to draw on his/her integrated physical, psychological, cognitive, and social capacities to support health promoting and fulfilling movement and physical activity, relative to the situation and context, throughout the lifespan. The standards framework addressed four learning domains (physical, psychological, cognitive, and social), spanning five learning configurations/levels. Conclusion: The development of a bespoke program for a new context has important implications for both existing and future programs.