Pre- and Post-Camp Qualitative Content Analysis Across Participants
Scott Pierce, Michigan State University, USA
Theme: Youth sport
Program ID: SYM-15
Presentation: October 4, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am
The purpose of this portion of the study was to understand the effect the two-week intensive wrestling camp on the psychological development of the 10 athletes involved using qualitative research methods. One female and nine male wrestlers, aged between 14 and 18 years, were interviewed at the beginning of the camp, periodically throughout the camp, and at the conclusion of the camp. Two researchers embedded in the camp observed these 10 athletes throughout the two-week experience, making detailed field notes of their on-the-mat and off-the-mat activities and behaviors. Hierarchical content analysis across all athlete interviews and field notes provided a detailed understanding of the observed and self-reported psychological development across the 10 athletes throughout the two week camp experience. As a result of the experiences within the structure of the intensive wrestling camp and the interactions with the camp director and coaching staff, the athletes believed that they developed a number of psychological skills and characteristics. The degree to which an athlete developed was dependent on his or her expectations of the camp and his or her psychological make-up at the beginning of the camp. Psychological growth was seen in athletes through the identification of assets that would help them develop as wrestlers, such as creating a new definition of hard work, as well as assets that are useful for other areas of life, such as responsibility and accountability. Analysis suggested that the use of a systematic process and specific coaching strategies for developing these life assets enabled the camp to successfully meet its stated goals of athletic and personal development. The connection between the intensive nature of the camp and the athletes’ perception of psychological development will be highlighted, with specific reference to using military style training to enhance athletic and personal development in youth sport programs.