Coaching young athletes to positive development: implications for coach training



Publication Details

Vella, S. & Gilbert, W. (2014). Coaching young athletes to positive development: implications for coach training. In A. R. Gomes, R. Resende & A. Alburquerque (Eds.), Positive Human Functioning From a Multidimensional Perspective, Volume 3: Promoting High Performance (pp. 83-105). United States: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.


Youth sport settings can, and should, be viewed as principle settings for nurturing a wide range of positive developmental outcomes. Coaches are increasingly being called upon to assume this responsibility. The purpose of this chapter is to provide positive youth development guidelines for youth sport coaches and coach educators. The guidelines are based on a comprehensive review of conceptual and empirical literature related to positive youth development in sport and across youth development settings. The Social Cognitive Theory of Achievement Motivation (Dweck, 1999), and implicit beliefs about ability in particular, provides the conceptual framework for our positive youth development guidelines. Insights gleaned from this framework are used to make recommendations for youth sport coaching practice and coach education design. More specifically, six instructional strategies designed to facilitate positive youth development through sport are discussed: (1) a focus on effort and persistence, (2) promoting challenge, (3) promoting the value of failure, (4) defining success as giving your best effort, (5) promoting learning, and, (6) providing high performance expectations. In order to best equip coaches to facilitate positive developmental outcomes a blended approach to coach training has been outlined. According to this approach, foundational training designed to impart generic and sport-specific professional and interpersonal knowledge should be supplemented by opportunities for formal and guided reflection to increase self-awareness.

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