BPS DSEP Position Statement: Psychological skills training for performance enhancement, long-term development, and wellbeing in youth sport

Sam Thrower*, Jamie Barker, Adam Bruton, Pete Coffee, Jennifer Cumming, Chris Harwood, Karen Howells, Camilla Knight, Paul McCarthy, Stephen D. Mellalieu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Young athletes have become an increasingly important client group for sport psychology practitioners and a population whose physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development should be carefully considered by a practitioner when delivering their services (Visek et al., 2009). The aim of this British Psychological Society (BPS) Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology (DSEP) position statement is to summarise existing knowledge about psychological skills training (PST) interventions and discuss optimal service provision of PST in youth sport. In the first section of this position statement, we provide a brief overview of the literature exploring PST during childhood (5-11 years), early adolescence (12-15 years), and mid-to-late adolescence (16-18 years). Within each sub-section, key developmental considerations (i.e., physical, cognitive, emotional, and social) are provided followed by short summaries of research on basic single strategy (i.e., goal setting, imagery, relaxation, and self-talk) and alternative strategy interventions (e.g., mindfulness, music, perceptual training, and self-modelling) with young athletes. In the second section, optimal service provision of PST is discussed by drawing upon practitioners’ experiences of working with young athletes, concluding with 10 recommendations for youth sport organisations, training and accrediting bodies, researchers, and practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport and Exercise Psychology Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 May 2024

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