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PSYCHOLOGY OF YOUTH SOCCER. Wayne State University Detroit, Michigan. Jeffrey J. Martin, Ph.D. PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF YOUTH SOCCER. Competitive Readiness . Perceptions of ability. Soccer Motivation. Coaching ramifications . Children only play. COMPETITIVE READINESS?.

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psychology of youth soccer

PSYCHOLOGY OFYOUTH SOCCER

Wayne State UniversityDetroit, Michigan

Jeffrey J. Martin, Ph.D.

psychological aspects of youth soccer
PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTSOF YOUTH SOCCER

Competitive Readiness

Perceptions of ability

Soccer Motivation

Coaching ramifications

Children only play

competitive readiness
COMPETITIVE READINESS?

“Most children are not psychologically ready for competitive sport until they are 10-12 years old”

competitive readiness4
COMPETITIVE READINESS
  • This perspective does not mean children cannot learn soccer skills, enjoy soccer,and develop fitness and health
  • However, it doesmean that children do not understand the competition process the way adults do
  • Thus, adults should help children define and understand their soccer experience
competitive readiness5
COMPETITIVE READINESS
  • Cognitive maturity
  • Spatial ability
  • Understanding ability
  • Effort vs. ability
  • Realistic appraisal of ability
soccer motivation
SOCCER MOTIVATION
  • Being with friends
  • Playing
  • Excitement
  • Learning
  • Improving
the importance of perceptions of ability
THE IMPORTANCE OF PERCEPTIONS OF ABILITY

“Sport psychologists believe that the major underlying reason for participating in and leaving sport are perceptions of ability9.”

perceptions of ability information sources
PERCEPTIONS OF ABILITY INFORMATION SOURCES
  • 8-14 yrs vs. 14-18yrs
  • Evaluative Feedback: 1 vs. 3 dimensions (coach, peer, spectators)
  • Internal information: 1 vs. 3 dimensions (effort, skill, ease of learning)
how children play when they are in charge
HOW CHILDREN PLAY WHEN THEY ARE IN CHARGE
  • Potential evidence about how coaches may want to structure practice and games.
characteristics of children only play
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDREN ONLY PLAY
  • Lots of action
  • Lots of personal involvement in the action
  • Close scores – no blowouts
  • Challenges strongly match skills
  • Opportunities to affirm friendships
coaching philosophy
COACHING PHILOSOPHY
  • Professional model vs. Educational and Developmental model
professional model
PROFESSIONAL MODEL
  • Entertainment
  • Success = winning
  • Failure = losing
educational model
EDUCATIONAL MODEL
  • Multiple definitions of success
  • Success = learning, improvement
  • Success = love of physical activity, health, fitness
  • Success = developing desirable personal qualities (e.g., confidence)
  • Success = friendships, fun, good memories
educational model15
EDUCATIONAL MODEL
  • Fewer definitions of failure
  • Failure = not trying hard, not persisting, giving up
  • Failure = poor sportpersonship, unethical behavior
team goals
TEAM GOALS
  • Think short and long term
  • The practice, the current season, next season
  • A lifelong love of physical activity and sport
  • Create an atmosphere so that children want to come to practice
coach created climate
COACH CREATED CLIMATE
  • Create a performance (vs. outcome) oriented atmosphere
  • De-emphasize winning: Its often uncontrollable and unrealistic
  • Children will be exposed to plenty of information stressing the importance of winning(e.g., fun, attention, rewards, etc.)
coach created climate18
COACH CREATED CLIMATE
  • Emphasize controllable and realistic performance goals such as skill development, fitness improvement, learning, etc.
  • Create opportunities for fun and socialization
a few parting empirical research results
A FEW PARTING EMPIRICAL RESEARCH RESULTS
  • One of the strongest predictors of stress in youth sport is the child’s sense of how important winning is to adults
  • Coaches who became more positive (e.g., encouraging) drastically reduced children’s drop out rates and increase their self-esteem