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Best Practice for Youth Sport

Best Practice for Youth Sport

ISBN 9780736066969

Regular price $88.00 $0.00

Although the physical and psychological benefits of youth participating in sport are evident, the increasing professionalization and specialization of youth sport, primarily by coaches and parents, are changing the culture of youth sport and causing it to erode the ideal mantra: “It’s all about the kids.”

In Best Practice for Youth Sport, readers will gain an appreciation of an array of issues regarding youth sport. This research-based text is presented in a practical manner, with examples from current events that foster readers’ interest and class discussion. The content is based on the principle of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP), which can be defined as engaging in decisions, behaviors, and policies that meet the physical, psychological, and social needs of children and youth based on their ages and maturational levels. This groundbreaking resource covers a breadth of topics, including bone development, burnout, gender and racial stereotypes, injuries, motor behavior, and parental pressures.

Written by Robin S. Vealey and Melissa A. Chase, the 16 chapters of Best Practice for Youth Sport are divided into four parts. Part I, Youth Sport Basics, provides readers with the fundamental knowledge and background related to the history, evolution, and organization of youth sport. Part II, Maturation and Readiness for Youth Sport Participants, is the core of understanding how and why youth sport is different from adult sport. This part details why it is important to know when youth are ready to learn and compete. Part III, Intensity of Participation in Youth Sport, examines the appropriateness of physical and psychological intensity at various developmental stages and the potential ramifications of overtraining, overspecialization, overstress, and overuse. The text concludes with part IV, Social Considerations in Youth Sport, which examines how youth sport coaches and parents can help create a supportive social environment so that children can maximize the enjoyment and benefits from youth sport.

In addition to 14 appendixes, activities, glossaries, study questions, and other resources that appear in Best Practice for Youth Sport, the textbook is enhanced with instructor ancillaries: a test package, image bank, and instructor guide that features a syllabus, additional study questions and learning activities, tips on teaching difficult concepts, and additional readings and resources. These specialized resources ensure that instructors will be ready for each class session with engaging materials.

Best Practice for Youth Sport provides readers with knowledge of sport science concerning youth sport and engages them through the use of anecdotes, activities, case studies, and practical strategies. Armed with the knowledge from this text, students, coaches, parents, administrators, and others will be able to become active agents of social change in structuring and enhancing youth sport programs to meet the unique developmental needs of children, making the programs athlete centered rather than adult centered so that they truly are all about the kids.


Textbook for upper-level undergraduate students enrolled in courses in exercise science, sport and exercise psychology, and athletic coaching education programs with an emphasis on children and youth in sport. Reference text for practitioners and researchers in youth sport.

Part I. Youth Sport Basics

Chapter 1. Overview of Youth Sport

Types of Youth Sport

Patterns of Participation in Youth Sport

Barriers to Youth Sport Participation

Organizations That Support Youth Sport

Wrap Up

Learning Aids

Chapter 2. Evolution of Youth Sport

When and Why Was Sport Introduced Into Schools as an Extracurricular Activity?

How Did Nonschool Youth Sport Become So Popular?

What Does Title IX State, Why Was It Necessary, and How Did It Change Youth Sport?

How Did Little League Baseball Become So Popular?

Why Do Grassroots Youth Sport Programs Lack National Organization and Support?

How Have Changes in Parenting Philosophy and Practice Influenced the Evolution of Youth Sport, Particularly the Decline of Free Play?


Chapter 3. Philosophy and Objectives of Youth Sport

The POPP Sequence: From Philosophy to Action

What Should the Objectives of Youth Sport Be?

Tension Points in Youth Sport Philosophies and Objectives

Consequences of Developmentally Inappropriate Philosophies and Objectives

Palm Community Model of Youth Sport

Examples of Youth Sport Philosophies and POPP Sequences

Wrap Up

Learning Aids

Part II. Maturation and Readiness for Youth Sport Participation

Chapter 4. Physical Growth and Maturation



Physical Growth and Maturational Influences on Sport Opportunities and Performance

Wrap Up

Learning Aids

Chapter 5. Readiness for Learning Skills and Competing

What Is Readiness?

The “Mountain” of Motor Skill Development

Sensitive Periods in Motor Skill Development

Cognitive Readiness

Is Earlier Better?

When Should Kids Start Organized Youth Sports?


Learning Aids

Chapter 6. Motivation and Psychosocial Development

Why Do Children Participate in Youth Sport?




Wrap Up: Provide Kids a Motivational FEAST

Learning Aids

Chapter 7. Modifying Sport for Youth

Why Should Sport Be Modified for Youth?

Why Do Adults Resist Youth Sport Modification?

What Changes Should Be Made?


Learning Aids

Chapter 8. Teaching Skills to Youth Athletes

The Five-Step Teaching Cycle

Instructional Strategies to Maximize Learning


Learning Aids

Part III. Intensity of Participation in Youth Sport

Chapter 9. Physical Training and Young Athletes

Positive Effects of Physical Activity and Training in Kids

Negative Effects of Over-Intensity in Physical Training in Youth

Physical Training Guidelines for Young Athletes


Learning Aids

Chapter 10. Talent Development in Sport

Talent Development Basics

How Is Talent Identified, and When Do We Decide Who Is Talented?

The Relative Influences of Practice and Innate Qualities on Sport Expertise

What’s the Best Way to Develop Sport Talent?

Specialization in Youth Sport

Categorizing Sports Based on Specialization Demands

Tips for Nurturing Talent and Well-Being in Youth Athletes


Learning Aids

Chapter 11. Stress and Burnout in Youth Sport

Stress as a Process

Demands (Stressors) Faced by Youth Athletes

Young Athletes’ Assessment of Demand(s)

Young Athletes’ Responses to Stress

Outcomes From the Stress Process

Flow: The Ultimate Goal for Youth Sport Participants

Burnout in Youth Sport


Learning Aids

Chapter 12. Injuries in Youth Sport

Youth Sport Injury Basics

Overuse Injuries

Physeal Injuries

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Female Athletes

Concussion in Youth Sport

Legal Duties and the Emergency Action Plan


Learning Aids

Part IV. Social Considerations in Youth Sport

Chapter 13. Cultural Competence in Youth Sport

Continuum of Cultural Competence

Gender and Youth Sport

Reasons for Gender Differences in Youth Sport

Race and Ethnicity in Youth Sport

Sexual Orientation and Youth Sport

Disability and Youth Sport

Sexual Abuse in Youth Sport


Learning Aids

Chapter 14. Coaches and Youth Sport

Coaching Education and Certification

Recruiting Youth Sport Coaches

Evaluating Youth Sport Coaches

Building the Youth Sport Coaches’ Skill Set

Youth Sport Coaches’ Meta-Skill: Communication


Learning Aids

Chapter 15. Parents and Youth Sport

Foundations of the Parent-Child Relationship

Three Roles of Youth Sport Parents

WANTED: Positive Parent Behaviors in Youth Sport

Understanding Parent Traps

Parent Education in Youth Sport

Strategies for Coaches in Interacting with Youth Sport Parents

Suggestions to be a Better Youth Sport Parent


Learning Aids

Chapter 16. Moral and Life Skills Development in Youth Sport

Understanding Terms Related to Moral Behavior in Sport

How Sportsmanship and Moral Behavior Are Learned

Enhancing Sportsmanship, Moral Development, and Life Skills in Youth Athletes


Learning Aids

Robin S. Vealey, PhD, is a professor in the department of kinesiology and health at Miami University in Ohio, where she has worked for more than 30 years. She has dedicated nearly her entire adult life to youth sports, whether as a coach, administrator, educator, researcher, or consultant. She is internationally known for her research on the psychological aspects of youth sport and coaching effectiveness. Vealey, who has authored three books, has won several professional awards throughout her academic career, including being named a fellow by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and the National Academy of Kinesiology. She previously was president of AASP, is a certified consultant in sport psychology as recognized by AASP, and is on the U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. In addition to serving on numerous journal editorial review boards, Vealey is a past editor of The Sport Psychologist.

In 2011, Vealey was named to the Marshall University Athletic Hall of Fame after a stellar playing career in women’s basketball. Vealey went on to serve as a collegiate volleyball and women’s basketball coach and an athletics administrator. She currently enjoys playing golf and continues to remain active in various sports as a sport psychology consultant for youth athletes and teams.

Melissa A. Chase, PhD, is a professor in the department of kinesiology and health at Miami University in Ohio, where she has worked for two decades. She specializes in research about coaching efficacy and self-efficacy in children interested in increasing motivation and effectiveness, and she has presented her research across the United States and internationally. She was named a fellow by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and SHAPE America and is a certified consultant in sport psychology as recognized by AASP. Chase was the founding editor of the Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, which is an official AASP publication.

Before becoming a professor, Chase gained experience as a physical education teacher at both the elementary and secondary school levels while coaching various levels of basketball, cross country, track and field, and volleyball for several years. She enjoys running and watching her teenage children participate in youth sports.