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Zenzi Huysmans and Damien Clement

In a prospective study of collegiate athletes (N = 117), the application of self-compassion within the context of sport injury was explored. Previous literature indicated that self-compassion enhances adaptive coping and well-being and reduces anxiety in stress-provoking situations. This research suggested that it could potentially reduce the stress response and subsequent injury risk. Findings indicated that self-compassion may buffer the experience of somatic anxiety (rs = −.436, p < .01) and worry (rs = −.351, p < .01), and reduce the engagement of avoidance-focused coping strategies (rs = −.362, p < .01). There were no significant findings related to self-compassion and injury reduction. A challenge with this research is distinguishing the impact of resistance to self-compassion from the potential benefits that it may have on coping and appraisal of stress in sport. This research was a preliminary exploration of self-compassion within the context of responses to stress and subsequent injury risk. Results suggest that further investigation across different athletic populations, sports, and injury situations is warranted.

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Zenzi Huysmans, Damien Clement, Robert Hilliard and Adam Hansell

A strong body of research supports the meaningful role of coaches in helping youth athletes develop personally and emotionally through the learning of life skills. However, limited exploration of this topic has taken place in non-Western regions where youth face very different developmental challenges. To explore this topic further, nine coaches in Swaziland participated in semi-structured interviews. Inductive thematic analysis revealed that although most coaches found it difficult to articulate a coaching philosophy, they valued developing both the athlete and the person. Coaches focused on teaching a range of life skills and values that were relevant to overcoming the most salient local youth challenges. The main strategies coaches employed to develop life skills were discussion, providing opportunities to build skills, and modelling appropriate behaviours through caring coach-athlete relationships. Results of this study provide further support for the role of coaches as facilitators of life skills learning in the Southern African context. Additional education is needed to help youth coaches craft coaching philosophies that are grounded in life skills outcomes. Future efforts should also focus on developing cost-effective programming to teach coaches how to build caring coach-athlete relationships and intentionally facilitate life skills learning in young people.