Enhancing psychosocial responses in early adolescent soccer players: Supervisory consulting within a single case intervention program

Chris Harwood, Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Theme: Youth sport

Program ID: SYM-05

Presentation: October 3, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Melrose


Early adolescence represents an important phase of development in relation to a young player’s increasing ability to understand the psychological demands of their sport. During this phase, players are more ready to appreciate concepts, skills or attributes that are important to their long term enjoyment and performance in soccer. The present study examines the effects of a longitudinal psychosocial intervention focused on improving players’ responses associated with the 5C’s (Harwood, 2008) - Commitment, Communication, Concentration, Control and Confidence. Five players from the Under 13 age group (M = 12.5) at an English professional soccer academy participated in a single-case multiple baseline across individuals design. Applying a supervisory consulting model of practice aligned with Harwood’s protocol, the scientist-practitioner worked directly with the U-13’s coach to educate and integrate the 5Cs into the coach’s normal training practices. Following a three week baseline period to collect player, coach and parental assessments of each player’s current 5C levels, coaching behavior strategies related to each C were integrated and coached in turn over a three week period. After each of the three weeks, the coach, selected players and players’ parents reassessed the 5C responses of the players. This protocol of intervention and reassessment occurred until each block of the 5C’s had been covered in sessions (i.e., 15 weeks). Results indicated that the psychosocial responses of players associated with the 5C’s increased cumulatively across the intervention irrespective of which C was being coached. The commitment and communication coaching phases appeared to have strong effects as the initial two phases of the intervention. Parent and coach-reported evaluations in conjunction with detailed social validation data largely corroborated player perceptions. Key reflections from this study are presented with respect to the psychosocial development of the adolescent player, alongside the roles of coach, parent and peers.

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