Priming the Real Me: Rational Thinking and Strengths-based Techniques in Youth Sport

Chris Harwood, Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Theme: Mental training/interventions

Program ID: SYM-14

Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Room: Napoleon


Adolescent athletes face a number of developmental challenges associated with both their progressions and performance in sport, and the growth of their identity as a young person. Motivational factors such as competence, autonomy and relatedness (Deci & Ryan, 1985) continue as critical facets of basic human need fulfillment, whilst cognitive and emotional coping skills continue to be vital elements in managing the stress of training and competition within their sport. Humanistic and cognitive-behavioral approaches to sport psychology can be highly synergistic during the adolescent period where self-concept, self-identity and self-regulation are important parameters for the transitions of the talented young person in sport. This presentation outlines a process of technical work as a practitioner aimed at strengthening the self-concept for young athletes so that they possess an arsenal of robust coping skills for competition. It will draw upon the humanistic and cognitive literature in demonstrating how young athletes can harness a more approach-oriented mindset to both training and competition. Using examples from within youth tennis and soccer, the practitioner’s attention to four different components in collaboration with the athlete will be examined. This signature technique focuses on priming the ‘real me’ by enhancing rational thinking and personal identity.

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