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Kristoffer Henriksen, Carsten Hvid Larsen, Louise Kamuk Storm and Knud Ryom

Young competitive athletes are not miniature elite athletes; they are a distinct client group to whom sport psychology practitioners (SPPs) increasingly deliver services. Interventions with this client group are often undertaken by newly educated SPPs who are in need of good guiding principles. Yet, there is a lack of research informing SPPs’ work with this group. In this current study, semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with four experienced practitioners about their most successful interventions in competitive youth sport. Analysis showed three major themes: (a) young athletes should be equipped with a holistic skills package that enables them to handle a number of existential challenges; (b) young athletes are embedded in an environment (coaches, experts, teammates etc.) that should be involved in the interventions; and (c) interventions with young athletes should maintain a long-term focus. These themes are discussed in the context of current literature on sport psychology service delivery.

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Janice L. Thompson

Very little is known about the energy needs of young athletes. Recent studies using the doubly labeled water method have shown that the recommended dietary allowances for energy may be too high for normally active children and adolescents living in affluent societies. No studies of energy balance in young athletes have been published. Self-report dietary records of young athletes indicate that energy, carbohydrate, and select micronutrient intakes of certain athletic groups and individual athletes may be marginal or inadequate. Potential consequences of inadequate energy and nutrient intakes in young athletes include poor bone health, fatigue, limited recovery from injuries, menstrual dysfunction in female athletes, and poor performance. Studies of energy balance and nutrient status in young athletes are needed to better understand the nutritional needs of this group.

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Trisha Patel and Neeru Jayanthi

; Jayanthi et al., 2013 ). Estimates currently attribute 45.9% to 54% of injuries sustained in youth sports are described as overuse ( DiFiori et al., 2014 ). Overall, the increased risk for overuse injury is most evident in one study of nearly 1200 young athletes who have a higher degree of specialization

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Chris G. Harwood and Sam N. Thrower

-standing tendency to focus research efforts on studying elite, adult, or intercollegiate athletes ( Tremayne & Newbery, 2005 ), Vealey suggested that young athletes are More ripe for PST intervention than older athletes who have already internalized dysfunctional responses to competition. Thus, PST with younger

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Adam D.G. Baxter-Jones

widespread belief that achieving international success at the senior level requires starting intensive training before puberty ( Maffulli & Helms, 1988 ). Of course, the negative side to this philosophy is the issue of burnout during the pubertal years, where young athletes may retire prematurely from sport

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Kari Stefansen, Gerd Marie Solstad, Åse Strandbu and Maria Hansen

In this paper, we explore coach-athlete sexual relationships (CASRs) from the perspective of young athletes, with the aim of adding to the evolving research on CASRs as a contested social phenomenon. Our starting point is what we see as two conflicting images of such relationships in contemporary

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Harry L. Hom Jr., Joan L. Duda and Arden Miller

Two major ways of judging one’s competence and defining subjective success in achievement situations are task (focus is on improvement) and ego (focus is on beating others) involvement (16). Specific to the athletic context, this study examined the relationship of young athletes’ proneness to task and ego involvement, or individual differences in the degree of task and ego orientation, respectively, to their (a) beliefs about the causes of success, (b) perceived ability, and (c) degree of satisfaction/enjoyment in the athletic domain. Subjects were 55 young athletes recruited from summer basketball camps. Congruent with previous research on older athletes and the classroom, a conceptually consistent relationship between goal orientations and views concerning the causes of success was revealed. Young athletes who were high in task and ego orientation tended to perceive themselves as more capable and report greater satisfaction/enjoyment. Implications concerning the motivational consequences of goal orientations for children and youth are discussed.

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Lisa Chu and Brian W. Timmons

Nutritional considerations for the overweight young athlete have not been thoroughly discussed in the scientific literature. With the high prevalence of childhood obesity, more children participating in sports are overweight or obese. This is particularly true for select sports, such as American football, where large size provides an added advantage. While sport participation should be encouraged because of the many benefits of physical activity, appropriate nutritional practices are vital for growth, and optimizing performance and health. The overweight young athlete may face certain challenges because of variable energy costs and nutrient requirements for growth and routine training, compared with nonoverweight athletes. Special attention should be given to adopting healthy lifestyle choices to prevent adverse health effects due to increased adiposity. In this review, we aim to discuss special nutritional considerations and highlight gaps in the literature concerning nutrition for overweight young athletes compared with their nonoverweight peers.

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Paddy C. Favazza, Gary N. Siperstein, Susan A. Zeisel, Samuel L. Odom, John H. Sideris and Andrew L. Moskowitz

This study examined the effectiveness of the Young Athletes program to promote motor development in preschool-aged children with disabilities. In the study, 233 children were randomly assigned to a control group or the Young Athletes (YA) intervention group which consisted of 24 motor skill lessons delivered 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) showed that children who participated in the YA intervention exhibited mean gains of 7–9 months on the Peabody Developmental Motor Subscales (PDMS) compared with mean gains of 3–5 months for the control group. Children in the YA intervention also exhibited significant gains on the gross motor subscale of the Vineland Teacher Rating Form (VTRF). Teachers and parents reported benefits for children not only in specific motor skills, but also kindergarten readiness skills and social/play skills. The necessity for direct and intentional instruction of motor skills, as well as the challenges of involving families in the YA program, are discussed.

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Paul J. McCarthy, Marc V. Jones, Chris G. Harwood and Steve Olivier

One reason sport psychologists teach psychological skills is to enhance performance in sport; but the value of psychological skills for young athletes is questionable because of the qualitative and quantitative differences between children and adults in their understanding of abstract concepts such as mental skills. To teach these skills effectively to young athletes, sport psychologists need to appreciate what young athletes implicitly understand about such skills because maturational (e.g., cognitive, social) and environmental (e.g., coaches) factors can influence the progressive development of children and youth. In the present qualitative study, we explored young athletes’ (aged 10–15 years) understanding of four basic psychological skills: goal setting, mental imagery, self-talk, and relaxation. Young athletes (n= 118: 75 males and 43 females) completed an open-ended questionnaire to report their understanding of these four basic psychological skills. Compared with the older youth athletes, the younger youth athletes were less able to explain the meaning of each psychological skill. Goal setting and mental imagery were better understood than self-talk and relaxation. Based on these fndings, sport psychologists should consider adapting interventions and psychoeducational programs to match young athletes’ age and developmental level.