Study connects sports to positive positive youth development

February 7, 2012

Researchers from Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports (ISYS) have found that underserved youth report more life skill and character development when their sports coaches place greater emphasis on creating caring climates. This involves the coach creating an atmosphere that focuses on player self-improvement versus players’ comparing and competing with teammates.

“Our data suggests that if coaches want to develop life skills and character in youth like teamwork and social skills, initiative and a sense of identity, it is important to focus on player self-improvement more so than winning,” said ISYS Director and first author of the study, Dan Gould. “These positive things should occur while at the same time avoiding the creation of an ego-oriented climate focusing primary attention on comparing themselves to others.”

The study surveyed 239 urban youth sports participants and appeared in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise last month.

Read the full article.