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Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches: Developing Champions in Sports and Life

Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches: Developing Champions in Sports and Life

by Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll

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Today, more than 68 million children and adolescents participate in sport programs in the United States. Yet despite the growth and popularity of highly-organized athletic competition, controversy still swirls around the role that adults, particularly coaches, play in the world of youth sports. Coaches not only occupy a critical leadership position in the athletic


Today, more than 68 million children and adolescents participate in sport programs in the United States. Yet despite the growth and popularity of highly-organized athletic competition, controversy still swirls around the role that adults, particularly coaches, play in the world of youth sports. Coaches not only occupy a critical leadership position in the athletic setting, but their influence can extend into other areas of life as well.

Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches is a practical “how-to” guide that helps coaches use their leadership role to achieve optimal benefits for young athletes, both on and off the field/court.It is designed to help coaches create rewarding experiences for young athletes and provides specific behavioral guidelines that have proven to have positive, and lasting, effects. The authors address a wide range of everyday concerns including motivation, stress reduction, psychological skills, relations with parents, legal responsibilities, and other areas of importance to both coaches and athletes. Using clear examples and real stories, they help coaches hone their own skills so they can bring out the best in their young competitors – in sports and in life.

No coach should be without this essential guide, whose principles have been successfully applied and tested on thousands of coaches around the world.

Editorial Reviews

Brent Strom
As a professional baseball coach for over three decades the reader might find it odd that I would endorse a book on youth coaching and sports. That would be a mistake. The gifted athletes Iwork withhave many of the anxieties and problems found in youth players.What Ron Smith and Frank Smoll have done is organize a comprehensive manuscript that helps coaches at all levels create an atmosphere that allows success. Immediate and future success. I ask that youth coaches devour this book for the nuggets it contains. Ron Smith introduced and mentoredmein many of the concepts inSport Psychology for Youth Coaches in the early 90’s as a young pitching coachwith the Houston Astrosorganization.Thank you Ronfor that andhelping put on paper the ideals of coaching I utilize today.
Dick Bennett
This important book, written by two "pros" in the field of sport psychology, has the capacity to help anyone be a better coach and a better parent.
Robert C. Granger
Smith and Smoll are two of the nation’s top social scientists studying coaching and youth sports, and they have been collaborating for decades. In this book, their rich scientific work comes to life through clear writing and a multitude of positive ideas for keeping youth sports in perspective and all kids engaged. Their welcomedmessage is to minimize young people feeling like failures by emphasizing effort, persistence, and improvement. This is a must-read for coaches, teachers, parents, and other adults who work with children and youth.
Chris Carr
Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches: Developing Champions in Sport and Life is a MUST read for any youth sport administrator, coach, or parent! Ron and Frank have once again contributed invaluable research, recommendations, and guidelines for the youth sport participant to have an optimal sporting experience. As a psychologist that has worked with collegiate and elite athletes for over 20 years, I have found that the most successful and happiest high level athletes have experienced many of the positive relationships that are discussed in this book. In my opinion, this book should be required reading for any adult (parent, coach, administrator) involved with kids in sport.
Jim Bauman
Dr. Smith and Dr. Smoll are synonymous with in-depth research and applied sport psychology strategies for young athletes, youth coaches, and parents. Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches is based upon more than 35 years of their research and applied experience. The authors bring to the reader a broad range of necessary topics that are easily understood, easy to implement, and relevant for coaches. Based upon their research, Smith and Smollclearly illustratea myriad of issues and challenges facing youth sport, but they also provide user friendly and research based solutions for these challenges. Although the title of this book implies a target audience of youth coaches, this valuable information applies to athletes and coaches at all levels of sport and life. If you are a coach or you have sons and daughters in sport, this book is a must read!
Britton W. Brewer
Sport Psychology for Youth Coaches: Developing Champions in Sports and Life crystallizes more than three decades of cutting-edge scientific research and applied work in youth sport by two of the field’s most distinguished professionals. Written in an engaging, practical style and sprinkled liberally with quotes from legendary sports figures, the book draws heavily on the expertise and experience of the authors and provides readers with concrete, step-by-step guidelines to improve themselves as coaches and help young athletes maximize their performance and enjoyment in sport.
Kate F. Hays
Smith and Smoll are the ‘go-to’ guys for youth sport coaches, and this easy-to-read book is a distillation of their many years of research, teaching, doing, and writing concerning best practices. Read it and hit all the bases running!
Judy Van Raalte
Finally! A user friendly book for coaches focused on the mental side of the game that is the real deal- written by top experts in the field. Ron Smith and Frank Smoll have made it easier for coaches at all levels to work on the mental side of the game, incorporating the best coaching research, science, and practical tips into their sport programs.
David Yukelson
A must read for any parent or coach involved in youth sports. Drawing on 30 years of experience as leading experts in the field, Ron Smith and Frank Smoll have put together a practical and informative leadership book that helps adults maximize the personal growth and development of young athletes while teaching psychological skills that foster a healthy perspective about winning, personal improvement, and controlling the emotional side of sport.
Sean Cumming
This book is a must for all youth sports coaches. Whether you are a novice or experienced coach, the information and behavioural guidelines contained in this book will help you provide a more positive experience for you athletes and engage more effectively with problem parents. Having spent more than four decades studying the effects of coaching behaviour in youth sports and delivering coach and parent education workshops, Professors Ronald Smith and Frank Smoll have discovered and tested the coaching practices that best promote success both on and off the sports field. Coaches who follow the principles described in this book have been shown to produce athletes who enjoy sports more, have greater respect for the coach, possess higher levels of self-esteem and adaptive motivation, and are less anxious and less likely to drop out of sports.

Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

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Meet the Author

Ronald E. Smith, Ph.D., is professor of psychology and director of the Clinical Psychology Training Program at the University of Washington. He has held a faculty position at Purdue University and visiting scholar appointments at Marquette University, UCLA, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Hawaii. For 12 years, Dr. Smith directed a psychological skills training program for the Houston Astros professional baseball organization. Smith also served as Team Counselor for the Seattle Mariners and as a training consultant to the Oakland Athletics Baseball Club and to Major League Soccer. Smith is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and a past president of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. He is the recipient of a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute for his contributions to the field of mental health. At the University of Washington, Smith has served as Head of the Social Psychology and Personality area and as co-director of the Sport Psychology graduate training program. He also chaired the President’s Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Board, and he co-directed (with Frank Smoll) Husky Sport Psychology Services in the University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Smith has published more than 200 scientific articles and book chapters and has authored or co-authored 34 books on introductory psychology, personality, stress and stress management, sport psychology, and human performance enhancement. His books include Introduction to Personality: Toward an Integration (7th ed., Wiley, 2004), Psychological Skills in Professional Baseball (Houston Astros Baseball Club, 1993), and Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior (5th ed., McGraw-Hill, 2011).

Frank L. Smoll, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at the University of Washington. As a University of Washington faculty member, Smoll teaches courses in sport psychology, and he has served as Graduate Program Coordinator, Human Subjects Coordinator, and Co-Director of the Sport Psychology graduate training program. From 1993-1999, he co-directed (with Ronald Smith) a psychological skills training program for UW athletes (Husky Sport Psychology Services). He has published more than 130 scientific articles and book chapters, and he is co-author of 22 books and manuals, including Children and Youth in Sport: A Biopsychosocial Perspective (2nd ed., Kendall/Hunt, 2002), Sports and Your Child (2nd ed., Warde, 2005), and Guidelines for Coaching Excellence (2009, INDE). Smoll’s professional honors include election to fellow status in the following organizations: American Psychological Association, Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), National Academy of Kinesiology. In 2002, he was the recipient of AASP’s Distinguished Professional Practice Award. Smoll was also named a Sports Ethics Fellow for 2008 by the Institute for International Sports. He is an AASP Certified Consultant and has been actively involved with local and national youth sport organizations. In collaboration with Ronald Smith, Smoll was the recipient of research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the William T. Grant Foundation. A major goal was to develop, test, and disseminate an educational program for youth sport coaches. This program, which is known as the Mastery Approach to Coaching, is the only scientifically validated coaching-education workshop that has been shown to have desirable effects on youngsters’ personal, social, and athletic development. The research was honored as one of the top 100 science-technology contributions in the history of the University of Washington in a volume entitled Pathbreakers: A Century of Excellence in Science & Technology at the University of Washington. More than 26,000 coaches have participated in some 500 workshops in the United States and Canada.

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