Positive Youth Development Meets Army Ranger Training: A Mixed Method Assessment of an Intensive Wrestling Camp for Adolescents

Daniel Gould, Michigan State University, USA
Scott Pierce, Michigan State University, USA
Ian Cowburn, Michigan State University, USA
Andrew Driska, Michigan State University, USA

Theme: Youth sport

Program ID: SYM-15

Presentation: October 4, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Melrose


In the last decade, researchers in sport psychology (e.g., Flett et al., 2012; Camarie & Trudel, 2012) and youth development (e.g., Larson, Hansen, & Moneta, 2006) have shown an increased interest in the role that sport participation plays in fostering psychological growth in young people. Results reveal that sport participation is correlated to growth in initiative, emotional regulation, and teamwork in young athletes. Factors such as the motivational climate created and the coach-athlete relationship have been shown to influence psychological growth (Gould & Carson, 2010, 2011). However, influence of creating intentionally challenging sport climates on the psychological growth of youth athletes. This symposium addresses this void in the literature, and presents results from a mixed-methods study of adolescent athletes taking part in an “intensive” wrestling camp, recognized within the wrestling community for being physically and psychologically demanding. The first presentation will discuss the rationale and design of the project. Next, the quantitative portion of the study will present results of pre/post assessments of 10 psychological attributes. The third presentation provides a qualitative analysis of based on a series of systematic in-depth interviews with athletes, as well 14 days of camp observations. Fourth, individual case analyses are contrasted, providing an idiographic, narrative-based perspective to the project. The final presentation integrates findings from all 3 studies, discusses these findings relative to the extant literature on positive youth development, psychological skills training, and the preparation of military Special Forces, and then forwards implications for future research and professional practice. A discussant, not involved in the project, but highly involved in psychological skills training and positive youth development research, will provide an external critique and evaluation of the investigation to conclude the symposium.

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