Abstract

Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology with Older Children and Pre-Adolescents

Presenters:
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Theme: Youth sport

Program ID: WKSP-29

Presentation: October 5, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Jasperwood

Abstract:

Extensive literature has been devoted to validating the effectiveness of mental skills in terms of performance enhancement. However, much of the literature (and perhaps most applied work) is devoted to adolescents and adults. There is a general paucity of information related to children and pre-adolescents. Given children have markedly different physical, cognitive and socioemotional sets than adolescents and adults, it is important to recognize mental skills should be introduced in novel ways. A primary objective of this workshop is to cover a variety of mental skills typical in applied work (e.g., confidence, motivation, attention, emotion identification and management, goal setting) yet as they relate to older children and pre-adolescents. For each topic, presenters will cover relevant principles and theories which elucidate the distinct nature of this age group. Thereafter, the workshop will follow a demonstration role-play/audience role-play sequence, where participants observe applied work in action, and then practice with their own mock clients. Presenters will orchestrate role play illustrating sport behavior gone awry in children; subsequent demonstrations will relate to how professionals may facilitate adaptive behaviors. For example, age appropriate goal-setting exercises will be linked with foundational skills of confidence and motivation. Simple props and images will be used to identify feelings, and simple breathing exercises to employ when distraught surrounding a competition. The presenters will demonstrate the importance of context, and the significance of concrete versus abstract thinking. The presenters will also demonstrate the importance of coaching and parental involvement. For example, promoting a mastery orientation with children may be facilitated by having a parent re-examine their definition of winning, and how they communicate “success” to the child. With the aforementioned exercises, the workshop will contribute an important element to the lifelong theme of the conference; offering attendees a renewed appreciation for work with this age group.

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