Coaches' perspectives of using the play better framework in youth sport


Organized sport continues to be endorsed as a favourable environment for promoting youth's psychosocial development. However, with youth sport participation declining—due in part to factors such as disinterest, insufficient coach resources, over-emphasis on winning, and harmful parental influence—it is imperative to provide coaches with tools to minimize these issues, while fostering psychosocial development. In response to current recommendations to equip coaches with practical, evidence-based tools which assist with program delivery, this study aimed to understand coaches' experiences of delivering youth sport programming using the Play Better framework. This framework rewards athletes with charitable donations for reaching process-based training goals set by themselves and their coaches. To examine program delivery, 15 coaches participated in semi-structured interviews (80% male; Mage=44.7 years, SD=4.5 years). Coaches perceived the Play Better framework to enhance their coaching effectiveness through an increased availability of resources, fostered mastery climates, improved integration of task-oriented goals, and broadened perspectives of short- and long-term athlete development. These elements were found to help enhance athlete motivation and de-emphasize winning through skill acquisition and enjoyment. Further, coaches spoke to challenges experienced when implementing the Play Better framework, including parental engagement, technological efficiency, and external donor supports. This research provides initial evidence for how to structure sport programs to minimize issues which contribute to the growing decline in youth sport participation and foster psychosocial development in youth. Future research is needed to assess the impact of utilizing this framework from the perspectives of youth and parents.

Acknowledgments: CHIMP (Charitable Impact)