Project Rationale and Overview

Daniel Gould, 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 both sport psychology (e.g., Flett et al., 2012; Camarie & Trudel, 2012) and positive youth development (e.g., Larson et al., 2006) have shown an increased interest in the role that sport participation can play in fostering psychological growth and personal development in young people. However, few studies have examined the process by which such growth through sport participation unfolds over time, influencing athletes’ psychological growth and personal development. This symposium was designed to help fill this void in the literature, and presents results from a mixed-methods study of adolescent athletes (ages 14-18) who participated in a physically and psychologically demanding intensive wrestling camp. The 14-day camp involved approximately 88 hours of physical training (i.e., wrestling, fitness and strength and conditioning activities), and 13 hours of mental training (i.e., presentations, relaxation/imagery sessions, and reflective journaling). In the quantitative portion of the project, 89 wrestlers completed pre-camp and post-camp psychological assessments, which assessed demographics and sport-history, the Athletic Coping Skills Inventory-28, the State Hope Scale, the Behavioral Regulation in Sport Questionnaire , the Trait Sport Confidence Inventory, as well as additional items designed to examine the stated learning goals of the camp (e.g., discipline, accountability). In the qualitative portion of the study, two members of the research team were embedded in the camp 24 hours a day for the entire camp. They conducted pre-camp and post-camp interviews with 10 athletes, as well as brief check-in interviews with athletes and coaches during the camp. The researchers made systematic observations of the wrestlers, took detailed field notes over the duration of camp, and chronicled on-the-mat and off-the-mat camp training activities. Results were content-analyzed both across-participants and within-participants.

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