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									 The Importance of
  Children’s Sport
    Psychology
  Some of the most important
implications of sport psychology
   are found in the children’s
 arena, where participants are
   plentiful and highly involved.
Why a Psychology of
the Young Athlete
      So many children are involved (an
      estimated 45 million in the United States).
      Children are intensely involved in
      youth sports.
      Participation peaks at a critical
      developmental period in the child’s life
      (approx. ages 10-13).
      Organized sport is not automatically
      beneficial; qualified, competent adult
      leadership is needed.
Why a Psychology of
the Young Athlete
      Physical benefits of participation

      Psychological benefits of participation
      (e.g., character dev’t: sport = life)
     Social benefits of participation
     (e.g., SUPER PROGRAMS…First Tee…)


     Other preventive effects: teen pregnancy…
     J D….
Why Children Join and
Discontinue Participation in
Sports
Stress and Burnout
in Children’s
Competitive Sport

      Are young athletes placed
      under too much stress?
        No, the vast majority of young
        athletes are not under excessive
        stress (less than 10% are).
Factors Associated With Burnout
in Young Athletes
      Very high self- and other-imposed
      expectations
      Win-at-all-costs attitude
      Parental pressure
      Long repetitive practices with
      little variety
      Inconsistent coaching practices


                                        (continued)
Factors Associated With Burnout
in Young Athletes
      Overuse injuries from excessive practice
      Excessive time demands
      High travel demands
      Love from others displayed on the basis
      of winning and losing
      Perfectionism
Stress and Burnout
in Children’s
Competitive Sport
     Is state anxiety heightened in
     young athletes?
       High stress (state anxiety) levels are
       relatively rare, but affect many children in
       specific situations.
       Stress among elite junior competitors is
       caused by fear of failure and feelings of
       inadequacy.
       Children at risk for heightened state
       anxiety exhibit certain personal
       characteristics.
Personal Characteristics of Children at
Risk for Heightened State Anxiety
       High trait anxiety
       Low self-esteem
       Low performance expectancies
       relative to team
       Low self-performance expectations
       Frequent worries about failure


                                        (continued)
Personal Characteristics of Children at
Risk for Heightened State Anxiety
       Frequent worries about adult
       expectations and evaluation by others
       Less perceived fun
       Less satisfaction with their performance,
       regardless of winning or losing
       Perceived participation as important
       to parents
       Outcome goal orientation and low
       perceived ability
Situational Sources
of Stress


     Defeat versus victory:
      Children experience more state anxiety
      after losing than winning.
Situational Sources
of Stress


     Event importance:
      The more importance placed on a
      contest, the more state anxiety
      experienced by participants.
Situational Sources
of Stress


     Sport type:
      Children in individual sports experience
      more state anxiety than children in
      team sports.
Meet the ……

 Parents !!!
Parental Roles
      Parental enjoyment of physical activity
      is related to parental encouragement
      and a child’s perceived competence
      and participation.
      Parental support buffers the adverse
      stressful effects youth players experience.
      The goal orientations of parent and
      child are significantly related.
      Parents can play a highly positive or
      a highly negative role in youth sport
      experience.
Parental Roles

      Keys:
       Educate parents about sport-parent
       responsibilities and the sport-parent
       code of conduct.
       Appreciate the tricky business of
       parental support.
Sport Parent Responsibilities
       1. Encourage your children to play sports,
          but don’t pressure them. Let your child
          choose to play—and quit—if she or he wants.
       2. Understand what your child wants from
          sport and provide a supportive atmosphere
          for achieving those goals.
       3. Set limits on your child’s participation in
          sport. You need to determine when your
          child is physically and emotionally ready to
          play and to ensure that that conditions for
          playing are safe.
                                           (continued)
Sport Parent Responsibilities
       4. Make sure the coach is qualified to guide
          your child through the sport experience.
       5. Keep winning in perspective, and help your
          child do the same.
       6. Help your child set realistic performance
          goals.
       7. Help your child understand the valuable
          lessons sports can teach.
       8. Help your child meet his or her
          responsibilities to the team and the coach.

                                            (continued)
Sport Parent Responsibilities
       9. Discipline your child appropriately
          when necessary.
      10. Turn your child over to the coach at
          practices and games—don’t meddle or
          coach from the stands.
      11. Supply the coach with information
          regarding any allergies or special health
          conditions your child has. Make sure your
          child takes any necessary medications to
          games and practices.
 Effective Coaching
Practices for Young
      Athletes
 Key:
   Children have special coaching
   needs, different from the needs
   of adults.
What the Research Says About
Coaching Children

       Smith, Smoll, and Curtis’s (1979)
       classic research notes that a coach’s
       instruction, reinforcement, and
       mistake-contingent instruction and
       encouragement correlate with a
       player’s self-esteem, motivation,
       and positive attitudes.
What the Research Says About
Coaching Children

       Learning a positive approach to
       coaching results in lower player-
       dropout rates (5% compared with
       26% for untrained coaches).
Effective Coaching Practices for
Young Athletes

      1. Catch kids doing things right and give
         them plenty of praise.
      2. Give praise sincerely.
      3. Develop realistic expectations.
      4. Reward effort as much as outcome.
      5. Focus on teaching and practicing skills
         (maximize participation and activity).
                                           (continued)
Effective Coaching Practices for
Young Athletes

      6. Modify skills and activities to be
         developmentally appropriate.
      7. Modify rules to maximize action
         and participation.
      8. Reward correct technique, not just
         outcome.
      9. Use a positive “sandwich” approach
         when you correct errors.
                                         (continued)
Effective Coaching Practices for
Young Athletes

     10. Create an environment that reduces
         fear of trying new skills.
     11. Be enthusiastic.
Facilitating Motivation
in Young Athletes
     Implications for Practice
       Enhanced perceived competence—
       teach young athletes to view success
       as exceeding their own goals, not
       merely as winning.
       Keep participation and withdrawal
       statistics.


                                      (continued)
Facilitating Motivation
in Young Athletes
     Implications for Practice
       When children discontinue, rigorously
       analyze why they are withdrawing
       from sport.
       – Interest in another sport?
       – Withdrawal permanent or temporary?
       – Did the child have a say in the decision?
       – Effects on long-term welfare?
 Basic Guidelines for Coaches
         and Parents

• Winning isn’t everything or the
  only thing.
• Failure is not the same as losing.
• Success does not equal winning -
  success is found in striving for
  victory and excellence. Success =
  giving 100% effort
        Winners and Losers

• The loser is controlled by obstacles; the
  winner is excited by challenges.
• The loser is fearful of failure; the winner is
  confident of victory.
• The loser magnifies misfortunes; the winner
  creates opportunities.
• The loser worships conformity; the winner
  expresses originality.
        Winners and Losers
• The loser is a pessimistic part of the
  problem; the winner is a dynamic part of the
  answer.
• The loser resists change; the winner dares to
  be different.
• The loser has a convenient excuse; the
  winner has a compelling purpose.
• The loser believes the worst; the winner
  expects the best.

								
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