Monday, 7 March 2011

Coaching and the long term mental health of young athletes

It is often quoted in the popular media that ‘sport builds character’. Indeed, many parents enrol their children in team sports under the assumption that their child will gain important life-skills such as team-work, communication, leadership, moral decision-making, and interpersonal skills. Further, they are likely to benefit from increases in self-esteem, social connections and physical skills, so we are lead to believe. And justifiably so. Research has shown that organised leisure activities such as youth sports provide a unique social context that lends itself to positive developmental gains such as these. In particular, sport is comprised of a unique combination of motivation, attention and challenge that is not found in other youth activities such as schooling, or down-time with friends.

Tiger Mums, Tiger Woods, and the Development of Elite Athletes.

The recent popularity of the ‘Tiger Mum’ has brought a new fascination with harsh parenting styles that demand self-disciplined children. In fact, the Tiger Mum is infamous for her demands that her children practice violin for three hours every day, and study no less than that as well.