Presentation on theme: "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."— Presentation transcript:
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 Burnout is a special case of sport withdrawal in which a young athlete discontinues sport involvement in response to chronic stress.
Stress and Burnout in Children’s Competitive Sport No, the vast majority of young athletes are not under excessive stress (less than 10% are). Are young athletes placed under too much stress?
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 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. Is state anxiety heightened in young athletes? 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 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 Frequent worries about adult expectations and evaluation by others
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.
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 Educate parents about sport-parent responsibilities and the sport-parent code of conduct. Appreciate the tricky business of parental support. Keys:
Sport Parent Responsibilities (continued) Encourage your children to play sports, but don’t pressure them. Let your child choose to play—and quit—if she or he wants. 1. Understand what your child wants from sport and provide a supportive atmosphere for achieving those goals. 2. 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. 3.
(continued) Make sure the coach is qualified to guide your child through the sport experience. 4. Keep winning in perspective, and help your child do the same. 5. Help your child set realistic performance goals. 6. Help your child understand the valuable lessons sports can teach. 7. Help your child meet his or her responsibilities to the team and the coach. 8. Sport Parent Responsibilities
Discipline your child appropriately when necessary. 9. Turn your child over to the coach at practices and games—don’t meddle or coach from the stands. 10. 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. 11. Sport Parent Responsibilities
Effective Coaching Practices for Young Athletes Children have special coaching needs, different from the needs of adults. Key:
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 Catch kids doing things right and give them plenty of praise. 1. Give praise sincerely. 2. Develop realistic expectations. 3. Reward effort as much as outcome. 4. Focus on teaching and practicing skills (maximize participation and activity). 5. (continued)
Effective Coaching Practices for Young Athletes Modify rules to maximize action and participation. 7. Reward correct technique, not just outcome. 8. Use a positive “sandwich” approach when you correct errors. 9. Modify skills and activities to be developmentally appropriate. 6. (continued)
Effective Coaching Practices for Young Athletes Create an environment that reduces fear of trying new skills. 10. Be enthusiastic. 11.
Facilitating Motivation in Young Athletes Enhanced perceived competence— teach young athletes to view success as exceeding their own goals, not merely as winning. Keep participation and withdrawal statistics. Implications for Practice (continued)
Facilitating Motivation in Young Athletes When children discontinue, rigorously analyze why they are withdrawing from sport. Implications for Practice – 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.
Sport Parent Code of Conduct (continued) Remain in the spectator area during games. 1. Don’t advise the coach on how to coach. 2. Don’t make derogatory comments to coaches, officials, or parents of either team. 3. Don’t try to coach your child during the contest. 4. Don’t drink alcohol at contests or come to a contest having drunk too much. 5.
Sport Parent Code of Conduct Show interest, enthusiasm, and support for your child. 7. Be in control of your emotions. 8. Help when asked by coaches or officials. 9. Thank coaches, officials, and other volunteers who conduct the event. 10. Cheer for your child’s team. 6.
Positive Role of Friends in Youth Sport Companionship – Spending time or “hanging out” together. Pleasant play association – Enjoying being around one’s friends. Enhancement of self-esteem – Having friends say things or take actions that boost one’s self-esteem. (continued)
Positive Role of Friends in Youth Sport Help and guidance – Providing assistance in learning sport skills as well as general assistance, such as in school. Prosocial behavior – Saying and doing things that conform to social convention, such as sharing or not saying negative things. Intimacy – Mutual feelings of close, personal bonds. (continued)
Positive Role of Friends in Youth Sport Emotional support – Expressions and feelings of concern for one another. Absence of conflicts (some friends do not argue, fight, or disagree). Conflict resolution – Friends are able to resolve conflicts. Attractive personal qualities – Positive characteristics such as personality or physical features.
Negative Role of Friends in Youth Sport Conflict (e.g., insults, arguments) Unattractive personal qualities (e.g., self-centered) Betrayal Inaccessibility (lack of opportunity to interact)