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Strategies for Fostering a Quality Physical Activity-Based Mentoring Program for Female Youth: Lessons Learned and Future Directions

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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Perceived Outcomes of a Biofeedback and Neurofeedback Training Intervention for Optimal Performance: Learning to Enhance Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation With Olympic Athletes

Margaret Dupee, Tanya Forneris, and Penny Werthner

The purpose of this study was to explore the perceived outcomes of a biofeedback and neurofeedback training intervention with high performance athletes. Five Olympic level athletes preparing for world championships and the 2012 Olympic Games took part in a 20 session intervention over the period of one year. At the completion of the intervention, a semistructured interview was conducted with each athlete. The athletes indicated that they became more self-aware, were better able to self-regulate both their physiological and psychological states, developed a greater sense of personal control, and a greater understanding of skills inherent in the field of sport psychology. Three of the athletes made the Canadian Olympic team for the 2012 Olympic Games and two of those athletes won bronze medals. The present study suggests that biofeedback and neurofeedback training may be useful in enabling athletes to perform optimally, in both training and competition, on a consistent basis.

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Coaching and Transferring Life Skills: Philosophies and Strategies Used by Model High School Coaches

Martin Camiré, Pierre Trudel, and Tanya Forneris

Whether life skills are developed through sport greatly depends on how coaches create suitable environments that promote the development of youth (Gould & Carson, 2008). The purpose of this study was to examine, using Gould and Carson’s (2008) model of coaching life skills, the philosophies and strategies used by model high school coaches to coach life skills and how to transfer these life skills to other areas of life. Interviews were conducted with both coaches and their student-athletes. Results indicated that coaches understood their student-athletes preexisting make up and had philosophies based on promoting the development of student-athletes. Results also demonstrated that coaches had strategies designed to coach life skills and educate student-athletes about the transferability of the skills they learned in sport. Although variations were reported, coaches and student-athletes generally believed that student-athletes can transfer the skills learned in sport to other areas of life. These results are discussed using Gould and Carson’s model and the youth development literature.

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Coaching Strategies Used to Deliver Quality Youth Sport Programming

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.

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High School Sport Stakeholders’ Perspectives on Coaches’ Ability to Facilitate Positive Youth Development

Martin Camiré, Tanya Forneris, and Pierre Trudel

Coaching for positive youth development (PYD) in the context of high school sport is a complex process given that many factors influence this environment. The purpose of this study was to explore the ability of high school coaches to facilitate PYD from the perspective of administrators, coaches, and athletes. Although stakeholders in general perceive coaches as having the ability to facilitate PYD, scores for coaches were higher than athletes and administrators and scores for athletes were higher than administrators. Furthermore, coaches who participated in coach education perceived themselves as having a greater ability to facilitate PYD compared to coaches with no coach education.

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The Perspective of Ontario Girls’ Youth Hockey as an Alternative Sport Model

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.