Coaching psychological and life skills though sport: Advancing the contemporary coaching agenda

Chris Harwood, Sam N. Thrower, Sara Kramers, Paul Wylleman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Interest in the value of sport as a vehicle for promoting positive developmental outcomes for young athletes has been longstanding in youth sport psychology research. However, there has been a more evident surge in research over the past 20 years that lies adjacent to more global, public health and well-being concerns over the integrity and safety of organised sport cultures vis a vis their duty of care to young people and prevention of athlete mental health issues. Investigations focused on the psychosocial processes of talent development and psychological skills training in youth athletes are paralleled by studies exploring positive youth development (PYD) and life skills interventions through sport. Both avenues of research matter to informing responsibilities in modern-day coaching, yet there has been differential involvement and engagement of the coach in such empirical work. In this chapter, we will review the existing literature on psychological skills development and life skills development in youth sport in the context of informing and advancing future coaching practice. We will consider the importance of advancing contemporary coach education in order to facilitate psychological and life skills development via direct engagement or via indirect, organisational and cultural strategies. In sum, this chapter will showcase how coaches can implicitly and explicitly optimise both the athletic and personal developmental experiences of their proteges.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Coaching Children in Sport
PublisherRoutledge: Taylor & Francis Group
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 May 2022

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