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What should parents do & when?

THE BENEFITS OF BEING A MULTI-SPORT ATHLETE

PYD THROUGH SPORT:

An interview with Dr. Nick Holt


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the sport parent table of contents

from 03 Message the Editor

Supporting injured athletes

07 PYD SportNET

Zoe Poucher

Sport 11 The Conference Through 15 PYD Sport: An Interview with Dr. Nick Holt an Expert 17 Ask Submit your parenting questions! Sport Parent 17 Spotlight

Nominate a great sport parent!

Resource 18 The Corner

04 Children’s Development in Sport What Should Parents Do and When?

Helene Jorgensen

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The benefits of being a multisport athlete Danielle Home

THE SPORT PARENT

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Editor Shannon Pynn spynn@ualberta.ca

Welcome to the latest issue of The Sport Parent magazine!

Editorial Assistant Danielle Home dhome@ualberta.ca

Over the past few months we have been working to put together the best issue of The Sport Parent magazine yet, and I think we nailed it.

Follow us on twitter @PYDsportNET

In this issue, parents will be able to learn about the benefits of allowing their children to play multiple sports, how to support their children at the various stages of their athletic career, and how to help their children cope with sport-related injury. We were also fortunate enough to have a conversation with Dr. Nick Holt to learn about Positive Youth Development (PYD) through sport. I would like to thank all of our contributors from the University of Alberta and from the University of Toronto for all of their work on this issue. Happy reading! -ShannonÂ

Have any questions or concerns? Click here to send us a message!

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SUPPORTING INJURED ATHLETES BY: ZOE POUCHER

In Canada, youth aged 12-19 have the highest likelihood of injury, and two thirds of all injuries within this group are sportrelated. While many athletes recover from their injuries quickly, for some athletes the process of recovering from a sports injury can be extremely stressful. However, sport psychology researchers have found that social support plays an important role in helping an athlete to deal with the stress associated with injury and recover more quickly.

What is social support? Social support is broadly defined as “the perception and actuality that one is cared for, has assistance available from other people, and that one is part of a supportive social network.” In short, having social support means having people who will help you when you need it.

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Social support has been found to help increase physical and mental health among people of all ages. For young athletes, researchers have identified many positive outcomes of social support, including: o Increased sport participation o Increases in performance o Decreased number of slumps in performance o Increases in self-confidence/self-esteem o Better able to cope with competitive stress

How does social support benefit injured athletes? Social support among injured athletes has been found to: o Improve psychological responses to injury o Act as a coping mechanism o Improve recovery outcomes o Reduce distress o Increase motivation in rehabilitation o Increase treatment adherence


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Types of support Providing social support for injured athletes can take many shapes! There are four main types of social support: Tangible- providing concrete assistance for athletes dealing with an injury • Parents frequently provide tangible support for athletes - driving athletes to games and practices, buying equipment, and paying league fees are all examples of tangible support. For parents supporting an injured athlete, tangible support could take the form of driving your child to their doctor’s appointments or assisting them with physical therapy exercises. Emotional–feeling loved and cared for; the athlete knows others demonstrate concern for them. • This could mean listening to your child when they want to talk about their injury and helping them deal with their frustration of not being able to play. Esteem– enhances the athlete’s feelings of self-competence and affirms their worth as a player. • For instance, helping your child feel like they are still valued as an athlete; talk to the coach

and see if your child can assist with certain tasks during practice so they still feel involved with the team. Have teammates come to visit during the athlete’s recovery so they know they are missed and have not been forgotten. Informational– providing athletes with advice, guidance, suggestions and information • For example, relaying information about rehabilitation from the doctor to your child; asking your child if they have any questions about his or her injury or rehabilitation process; finding information or resources about rehabilitation and sharing it with your child.

What is the best way to provide support? Youth sport researchers have found that youth athletes do not always see the support they are receiving as positive: sometimes parents may be well-intentioned when trying support to their child, but the athlete may feel that he or she is being pressured to return to play. Here are a few things you can do to ensure the support you are providing

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is valuable and positive for your athlete: o Ensuring messages are clear and consistent Try to avoid criticizing a behaviour after one game and praising it after another. o Focusing on effort rather than results For example, provide praise for athlete effort in games, practices, or with their injury rehab exercises. Focus on the process, not on the outcome! o Maintaining control of your own emotions Try not to be more upset about things than your athlete is. Be aware that your emotions can be contagious. o Helping your athlete physically For instance, assisting them with their rehabilitation exercises. Importantly, try to make sure the type of support you are providing matches the needs of your athlete. One of the best things you can do is ask your athlete what they need from you and let them know you will be there to help them through their recovery.

Zoe Poucher is a Master’s student in sport psychology in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. Her research examines social support among elite athletes, and she also works with athletes as a mental training consultant.

If you are interested in learning more about social support, check out these research papers: Knight, C. J., Neely, K. C., & Holt, N. (2011). Parental behaviours in team sports: How do female athletes want parents to behave? Journal of Applied Sports Psychology, 23(1), 76-92. Rees, T., & Freeman, P. (2011). Coping in sport through social support. In J. Thatcher, M. Jones & D. Lavallee (Eds.), Coping and emotion in sport: Second edition (102-117). New York: Routledge. Weiss, M. R., & Fretwell, S. D. (2005). The parentcoach/child-athlete relationship in youth sport: Cordial, Contentious, or conundrum? Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 76(3), 286-305.

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THE BENEFITS OF BEING A MULTISPORT ATHLETE “I PLAYED EVERYTHING. I PLAYED LACROSSE, BASEBALL, HOCKEY, SOCCER, TRACK AND FIELD. I WAS A BIG BELIEVER THAT YOU PLAYED HOCKEY IN THE WINTER AND WHEN THE SEASON WAS OVER YOU HUNG UP YOUR SKATES AND YOU PLAYED SOMETHING ELSE.” (WAYNE GRETZKY) By Danielle Home

The Great One isn’t the only professional athlete to have played multiple sports as a child. Last year, The Wall Street Journal recently recognized Stephen Curry, 2-time NBA MVP, for playing basketball, baseball, football, and soccer before going to college (see the article HERE) . Did you know that Jackie Robinson, baseball Hall of Famer, played four sports in university? Or that before becoming a six time NHL all-star, Jarome Iginla was the starting catcher on Canada’s National Junior Baseball team?

T

here is a common misunderstanding that in order for children to have a chance at reaching elite levels, they must choose one sport at an early age and devote themselves to that single sport year round. The Developmental Model of Sport Participation (DMSP), developed by youth sport researchers at Queen’s University, outlined two pathways that can potentially lead to achieving elite levels of sport: early specialization or early sampling.  Early specialization involves training in one sport with high amounts of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is designed specifically to enhance performance and promote skill development. It has been suggested that the earlier a child is exposed to a sport and begins deliberate practice, the more likely they are to reach higher levels of elite performance. However, researchers have found that specializing early in a single sport can potentially be more harmful than beneficial (click HERE to learn more). Early sampling involves participating in various sports as well as engaging in deliberate play. Deliberate play is characterized by engaging in informal sport games in an organized manner, for the purpose of enjoyment.  Allowing your child to sample different sports early in life has the following benefits:

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WHEN A CHILD IS PLAYING A SPORT THAT THEY ENJOY, THEY ARE DRIVEN BY INTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

• Increases long-term sport involvement Sport sampling has been linked to an increase in lifetime sport involvement, lifetime physical fitness, and possible elite performance. It has also been linked to a longer sport career because youth who play sports in lowpressure environments are less likely to experience overuse injuries, and are also less likely to experience burnout and dropout of sport. Danielle Home recently graduated with a Bachelor’s of Kinesiology Degree at the University of Alberta. Her interests include horseback riding and figure skating. She is also involved with coaching.

• Promotes positive youth development When children participate in multiple sports they are exposed to a broad spectrum of developmental experiences and outcomes, the range of which favourably affect positive youth development. The more sport contexts that a child is exposed to, the greater likelihood they will encounter a positive environment that will nurture their development and teach them transferable life skills. A sport sampling experience also places less emphasis on performance and technical training so children have fun and have positive associations with sport. • Increases motivation and commitment Sport sampling involves deliberate play, which means engaging in informal sport activities that are driven by enjoyment. When a child is

playing a sport that they enjoy, they are driven by intrinsic motivation. They will look forward to going to practices and learning new skills. Intrinsic motivation is the strongest form of motivation and it increases the likelihood that children will continue engaging in sport and physical activity later in life. • Develops physical literacy Sport pathways that involve multiple sports can expose children to a range of motor and cognitive challenges. Rather than just learning to skate, a child can learn to run, jump, catch, throw and develop fundamental movement skills that will prepare them for a lifetime of physical activity. They gain physical literacy skills and competencies that promote their overall development, and will be helpful if/when they choose to specialize in one sport later on. • Prepares children to specialize during adolescence When children participate in a range of sport experiences, they develop a broad set of skills: physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and motor. These skills prepare them for the eventual transition to training for one specific sport, or participating in recreational sport opportunities. In the early years, experiencing a range of movement and physical activity experiences builds skills that provide youth with a broad  

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foundation for eventual specialization. This way, by the time they reach late adolescence they have the psychological, social, emotional, and physical maturity needed to cope with the demands of competitive sport and intense training. • Does not hinder elite sport participation In sports where peak performance is reached after maturation, research has shown that there is no advantage in specializing early on. There are a few sports that do require early specialization to get to the elite level, such as gymnastics or figure skating, in which athletes peak before they are fully developed. Other sports, however, in which athletes have more time to develop before reaching the elite level, do not require focused training until a later age. A child specializing early on has no advantage over a child who takes the sport sampling pathway in terms of potential to reach the point of professionalization in sports such as hockey, basketball, or soccer. As parents, it’s important to keep realistic goals for your child’s sport participation. Not every child in sport will become a professional athlete and not every child wants to become a professional athlete. But if you allow them to play different sports that they enjoy, they can gain a lasting positive association with physical activity that will carry them throughout life. Participating in multiple sports gives them the best chance to have positive experiences and stay involved in sport longterm, without limiting their potential to reach elite levels if that is their goal.   

If you're interested in reading more on this topic, check out the following research papers: Brenner, J. S. (2016). Sports Specialization and Intensive Training in Young Athletes. Pediatrics, 138(3), e1-e8. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2148 Côté, J., Lidor, R., & Hackfort, D. (2009). ISSP Position Stand: To Sample or to Specialize? Seven Postulates About Youth Sport Activities That Lead to Continued Participation and Elite Performance. International Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 7(1), 7-17. Gould, D. (2010). Early Sport Specialization: A Psychological Perspective. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (JOPERD), 81(8), 3337.

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MAY 31-JUNE 4 2017 HOSTED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA The purpose of The Sport Conference is to provide an affordable opportunity for coaches, athletes, parents, and sport administrators to exchange ideas with University of Alberta academics, coaches and graduate students in a multi-disciplinary and interactive format. May 31  Evening Social and Keynote: 'Coaching: When it IS Life or Death' June 1  Athlete Health June 2  Performance Sport June 3  Developing Young Athletes June 4  Coaching Fundamentals

ALL EVENTS WILL BE HOSTED IN THE VAN VLIET COMPLEX ON THE MAIN CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA

Over 80 academic staff members from every University of Alberta faculty have agreed to lead sessions. Session examples include: Dr. Chris de Gara – Coaching: When it IS Life or Death Dr. Nick Holt – Positive Youth Development Through Sport Dr. Brian Maraj - Learning and Skill Acquisition Dr. Derek Truscott – Communication Strategies for Effective Coaching Dr. Marvin Washington - Leadership in Sport Dr. Amber Mosewich – Sport Psychology Dr. John Dunn - Building a Winning Sport Culture Dr. Jim Denison - Sport and Society Golden Bears and Pandas Head Coaches – Coaching Fundamentals

$60 / day $150 / unlimited access  (Prices will increase after April 1st)

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT STACEY.WICKMAN@UALBERTA.CA THE SPORT PARENT | ISSUE 3 | 11


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Children’s Development in Sport What Should Parents Do and When? / BY HELENE JØRGENSEN

Parents play a big role when it comes to their children’s sport. They are the loyal supporter, the role model, and the shoulder to cry on when things don’t go as planned. If done right, parental involvement can increase a child’s success and enjoyment in sport. However, many parents are unsure of how to best support their child, especially when it comes to the different stages of development. They may ask themselves: Am I pushing them too hard? How involved should I be? How can I help my child succeed and have fun at the same time? Generally, children develop through three distinct stages in sport:

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Stage 1 (sampling; age 6-12), Stage 2 (specializing; ages 13-16), and Stage 3 (investment; 16+). As children grow and develop through these stages, parents should adapt their involvement to meet their child’s needs. This means that at each stage, parents should seek ways to understand their children’s needs and goals when it comes to sport so that their involvement is individualized to each child. Although each child is unique, we can provide some basic recommendations, based on research, for what you can do to support your child at each stage. 


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STAGE 1 – SAMPLING (age 6-12): Stage 1 is a child’s introduction to sport. During this stage, parents have a powerful influence. They play a key role in giving their children opportunities to discover and play in various activities. Being highly involved, supportive, and providing praise and understanding in this phase can teach children to enjoy sport now and throughout their life. Here are some suggestions for the first stage: o Be a role model. Teach your child to have positive attitudes and values toward sport. Talk to your child about the importance of sportsmanship and respect for coaches, teammates, and other athletes. o Provide opportunities for your child to participate in a wide range of sporting activities and engage in fun play activities. This gives your child a better chance of finding a sport they enjoy. o Discuss the importance of effort and improvement rather than winning. o Create a safe environment. Aim for lots of support with little pressure. Talk positively about learning something new and doing their best. 

STAGE 2 – SPECIALIZING (age 13-16): Stage 2 is when children begin to narrow in on only one or two sports. As they mature into adolescence they begin to seek greater independence and may want less involvement from their parents. However, this stage is an ideal time to teach your children life skills through their sport participation. Here are some suggestions for what parents can do during the specializing stage: o Help your child learn to evaluate his/her performance without being harsh and criticizing. This way they will learn to evaluate their own performance with self-compassion (e.g. be kind to themselves, to have perspective), which is an important life skill. o When talking to your child about their performance, ask them questions about the process rather than the outcome such as, “What went well?” or “What could you improve on?”   o Give your child the opportunity to be more independent by taking control of their own sporting careers. For example, let your child choose the sport they want to play and how involved they want to be in that sport.

Helene Jørgensen is a MA exchange student at the University of Alberta, visiting from the Norwegian School of Sport Science. She is working towards her MA in Coaching and Psychology. Her research interests include positive youth development in sport, as well as coaching biathlon.

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STAGE 3 – INVESTMENT (age +16): Stage 3 is when most children may decide to focus on one main sport. The transition into Stage 3 can be marked by uncertainty and anxiety for both children and parents. Parents may experience the stage as difficult because they are no longer in the centre of their child’s athletic world .The parents’ role is still valuable, but in a different way. Here are some suggestions: o ‘Let go’ by facilitating your child’s independence from a distance. For example, reduce the degree of involvement by giving your child freedom to think and make decisions about their sports and other activities. o Work together to provide support and advice in a collaborative atmosphere. You can assist your child by giving them advice on planning their schedule, helping with transport to practices and games, and providing financial assistance. o Teach your children good sport conduct and work ethic by role modelling proper behaviours and showing them that hard work pays off, You don't have to teach it explicitly, but if they see you demonstrating these behaviours, they will do the same.  o Help overcome setbacks and transitions in sport and in other areas of life by offering unconditional support. You can help your child cope in sport by being caring and supportive regardless of results.

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Parents, you are instrumental in your children’s sport experience. Optimal involvement occurs over time, should be individualized to different children, and depends on you seeking ways to understand your child’s journey in sport. By adapting your involvement through each stage, modelling positive behaviors and providing support you can enhance your child's opportunities for success and enjoyment. SOURCES: -Harwood, C., & Knight, C. (2009b). Stress in youth sport: A developmental investigation of tennis parents. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10, 447-456. -Holt, N. L., & Knight, C. J. (2014). Parenting in youth sport: From research to practice. London, England: Routledge -Wuerth, S., Lee, M. J., & Alfermann, D. (2004). Parental involvement and athletes’ career in youth sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5, 21-33. - Knight, C. J., & Holt, N. L. (2014). Parenting in youth tennis: Understanding and enhancing children's experiences. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15, 155-164. - Harwood, C. G., & Knight, C. J. (2015). Parenting in youth sport: A position paper on parenting expertise. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 16, 24-35. -Bloom, B. S., & Sosniak, L. A. (1985). Developing talent in young people. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. - Côté, J. (1999). The influence of the family in the development of talent in sport. The Sport Psychologist, 13, 395-417. -Côté, J., Baker, J., & Abernethy, B. (2007). Practice and play in the development of sport expertise. Handbook of Sport Psychology, 3, 184-202. -Lauer, L., Gould, D., Roman, N., & Pierce, M. (2010). Parental behaviors that affect junior tennis player development. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 11, 487-496. -Holt, N. L. (Ed.). (2016). Leadership as a life skill in youth sports. In D. R. Gould (Ed.), Positive youth development through sport. (pp. 151-167). New York, NY: Routledge. -Thrower, S. N., Harwood, C. G., & Spray, C. M. (2016). Educating and supporting tennis parents: A grounded theory of parents’ needs during childhood and early adolescence. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 5(2), 107-124. - Wolfenden, L. E., & Holt, N. L. (2005). Talent development in elite junior tennis: Perceptions of players, parents, and coaches. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 17, 108-126. -Fraser-Thomas, J., & Côté, J. (2009). Understanding adolescents’ positive and negative developmental experiences in sport. The Sport Psychologist, 23, 3-23. -Jowett, S., & Timson-Katchis, M. (2005). Social networks in sport: Parental influence on the coach-athlete relationship. The Sport Psychologist, 19, 267-287. -Holt, N. L., & Dunn, J. G. (2004). Toward a grounded theory of the psychosocial competencies and environmental conditions associated with soccer success. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 16, 199-219. -Wylleman, P., Alfermann, D., & Lavallee, D. (2004). Career transitions in sport: European perspectives. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5, 7-20.


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PYD THROUGH SPORT:

AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. NICK HOLT It is no secret that sport participation can do more than just improve your child’s health and fitness. It can also help your child develop on a social and psychological level. We wanted to learn more about how parents can help their children acquire all the benefits that sport has to offer, so we asked Dr. Nick Holt from the University of Alberta, to discuss something called positive youth development through sport.

Can you tell us a bit about “positive youth development through sport”? Positive Youth Development (or PYD) is a strength-based approach to understanding how children develop. A lot of psychology has focused on ‘fixing’ problems, but PYD is more about building strengths and equipping kids with skills and resources that will enable them to thrive. So PYD through sport is about finding ways to build these strengths, skills, and resources through sport participation. We often refer to this as teaching life skills. What kind of life skills can children learn through sport? Lots! We did a big review of the literature recently and grouped the benefits of sport into three domains – personal, social, and physical. Outcomes in the personal domain included things like improved self-perceptions, academic benefits, and perseverance. In the social domain, we found things like teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. In the physical domain, fundamental movement skills and skills for healthy active living were reported in several studies. So, when sport is delivered in the ‘right’ ways, I have no doubt that children will learn a range of life skills. How do children learn these skills? We have found there are two key aspects related to learning life skills. First, there can be an atmosphere within a club or team that focuses on personal development as well as athlete development. Second, life skills can be learned if they are intentionally targeted by coaches. For instance, a coach might really emphasize the importance of leadership, give children opportunities to be leaders, and talk about how leadership in sport might transfer to other settings, such as school.

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That’s really interesting. What kinds of things should parents look for when considering which sport programs to enroll their children in? Well first, does the program have a clearly defined philosophy? There should be something on the program’s website that describes their approach to delivering programs, as well as their goals and expectations. If a program doesn’t have a website or a pamphlet with this information, it is worth asking the program director to make sure their philosophy aligns with what you want your child to achieve through sport. I would avoid clubs that really focus on the results its U10 teams have achieved, because that is too soon to be focusing on competition. Speak to the coach, find out their philosophy and approach. Ultimately, you want to pick a club that fits with your own values. What do you think is the biggest barrier to PYD in youth sport? I’d say the biggest barrier is probably an over-emphasis on winning at a young age. This hampers everything – not just PYD but also talent development. At a young age, the emphasis should be on having fun and learning new skills. Do you have any advice for parents considering enrolling their children in sport? I would advise parents to give their children lots of opportunities to try different sports when they are little. I really encourage parents to put their kids in sports that will give them skills they can use throughout their life, no matter whether the kids compete in that sport or not in the future. Things like swimming, skiing, skating. These are all activities they can do in adulthood… and I can tell you from personal experience it is way easier to learn to skate as a kid than trying to learn it when you are 40something. If you let your child try different sports, eventually you will find something that your child likes and is probably quite good at. So it is really important to try several sports. Just make sure you don’t over-schedule them. If you’ve got sports seven days a week before the age of 10, you are probably doing too much. My advice would be to maybe pick one sport for the winter and another for the summer and add in some swimming or skating lessons when you can.

"I really encourage parents to put their kids in sports that will give them skills they can use throughout their life, no matter whether the kids compete in that sport or not in the future."

Nick Holt is a Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. His research and teaching focus is on sport and physical activity among children, adolescents, and their families.

If you are interested in reading more about Dr. Holt's research, click here.

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