Symposium overview abstract


Over the past 50 years, researchers have found that coaching behaviours influence children's self-perceptions, adherence to sport, and psychosocial development (Smith & Smoll, 2002; Smith, Smoll, & Curtis, 1979). Most notably, experts outlined that youth athletes' positive development is not necessarily an automatic outcome of sport participation and can be enhanced through appropriate training patterns and the positive social influences of coaches (Côté, Baker, & Abernethy, 2007). Coaches are increasingly called upon to create environments that foster positive developmental outcomes in youth athletes. This bears great responsibility, as coaches interact with athletes at a time during which they are subject to the challenges of adolescence (Holt, 2016). The purpose of this symposium is to provide examples of effective coaching practices that have enhanced the coach-athlete relationship in various youth sport settings. Each presenter will summarize research that adopted different theoretical and methodological approaches to examine the factors surrounding optimal coach-athlete relationships in youth sport. Presentation one uses focus group interviews to investigate the experiences of student-athletes of coaches trained to use humanistic principles to foster personal development. Presentation two quantitatively examines associations between the coach-athlete relationship, athletes' basic psychological needs satisfaction, and life skills development in high school sport. Presentation three examines the fundamental behaviours of Transformational Coaching, including how these behaviours can be integrated into coach development programs. Presentation four examines the learning experiences and acquisition of knowledge of youth coaches in disability sport as a way to provide guidance on effective coaching practices in this domain.