Training for Life: Optimizing Positive Youth Development Through Sport and Physical Activity

Maureen R. Weiss, Lindsay E. Kipp and Nicole D. Bolter

in The Oxford Handbook of Sport and Performance Psychology

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199731763
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Training for Life: Optimizing Positive Youth Development Through Sport and Physical Activity

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  • Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology


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Using a positive youth development approach, we comprehensively review the literature on social, psychological, and physical outcomes of children's participation in sport and physical activity. Organizing topical areas around the Five Cs (Lerner & Lerner, 2006 ), we first discuss robust findings on social assets, including social relationships and competencies (parents, peers, coaches) and moral development. Second, we review the knowledge base on psychological assets, including self-perceptions (global self-worth, perceived competence), emotional outcomes (primarily enjoyment and anxiety), and motivational orientations and behaviors. Third, we discuss the unique set of physical assets that are possible from engaging in physical activity–based youth development programs, such as motor skill development, physical fitness, and physical health. Finally, we offer several avenues for future research studies that will provide even more definitive evidence of physical activity as a context for promoting positive youth development.

Keywords: Peer relationships; parental influence; coach behaviors; moral development; self-perceptions; emotions; motivation; motor skill development; physical health

Article.  21568 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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