The experiences of being a talented youth athlete: Lessons for parents

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    Abstract

    Involvement in organized sport can be highly demanding for young athletes who encounter many difficult situations and stressors. This can be exacerbated among youth athletes who have been recruited into talent-identification youth sport programs. Given that there are a range of negative consequences that can result when talent-identified (TI) youth athletes are unable to cope with the stressors they encounter, additional support is therefore necessary. Parents are uniquely situated to assist in this regard, but they are not always equipped to provide optimal levels of support. Therefore, the aim of this study was to understand the experiences of being a TI youth athlete and present the findings as “lessons” for parents seeking to enhance their involvement in TI youth sport settings. This article reports on qualitative data collected from the 1st year of a 3-year longitudinal study involving TI youth athletes from South Australia. Fifty male athletes (M age = 14.6 years) participated in focus groups to hear their experiences of being a TI youth athlete and understand what difficulties they want their parents to know. From the thematic analysis, 3 major themes were identified from the focus groups with TI youth athletes: (a) difficulties with being talented, (b) negotiating the future, and (c) playing for improvement. From the findings, a number of lessons for parents and youth sport organizations are offered to assist the transmission of knowledge to an applied setting.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)437-455
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
    Volume30
    Issue number4
    Early online date2018
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018

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