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Aubrey Newland, Rich Gitelson and W. Eric Legg

Given the challenge of consistent physical activity among aging adults, it is important to find ways to increase physical activity levels in this population. Participants in the Senior Olympic Games may extend their sport participation through the use of mental skills. This study examined the relationship between mental skills use by Senior Olympic Games participants and their grit, or passion and perseverance, toward a long-term goal. The participants in the Arizona Senior Olympic Games (n = 304) completed an online survey of mental skills use (Athletic Coping Skills Inventory) and grit (Grit Scale-Short). Based on the ongoing validity and reliability issues of the Grit Scale-Short, two regression models were examined, with consistency of interests (passion) and perseverance of effort (perseverance) as dependent variables. After controlling for age and sex, mental skills accounted for 15.2% of the variance in consistency of interests and 13.1% of the variability in perseverance of effort. The results are discussed in light of the findings.

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Aubrey Newland, Maria Newton, E. Whitney G. Moore and W. Eric Legg

Given the key role coaches play in the experience of athletes, understanding the relationship between coach leadership styles and positive youth development (PYD) is crucial. This study examined the relationship of coach transformational leadership (TFL) to PYD. Athletes (n = 203) nested within 28 competitive youth basketball teams completed questionnaires about their coaches’ TFL, and two measures related to their own PYD – Youth Experiences for Sport, measuring PYD specific to the sport context, and a measure to assess the 5Cs (Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character, and Caring). Due to the nested nature of athletes within team and significant intraclass correlations, the predictive contribution of team and individual level perceptions of TFL was assessed with multilevel modeling. Individual and team perceptions of coach TFL significantly predicted 59% of the YES-S variance. In addition to team and individual main effects, a significant cross-level interaction predicted 20% of a player’s development of the 5Cs. Thus, athletes reporting above average coach TFL on teams reporting above average coach TFL reported the greatest 5C development. These results provide additional support for TFL as an avenue to foster PYD. Findings elucidate transformational coach behaviors that are related to positive experiences in youth sport and the 5Cs.