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Coaching sport to develop personal strengths in young people: perspectives from positive psychology
  1. Jim McKenna
  1. Professor of Physical Activity and Health, Carnegie Research Institute, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK


Contemporary research emphasises that sport and physical activity can play a powerful role in helping young people to optimise their development. Indeed, this is one of the most enduring legacies that sport advocates wish to claim for engagement. However, it is unwise to assume that exposure to these activities is universally positive, and drop-out (as distinct from transfer) and long-term withdrawal from active living remain worrying outcomes of especially negative experiences. Equally, it is not sensible to assume that engagement should be made trouble-free, since successful management of negative experiences can all contribute to personal development. This presentation will draw on theoretical perspectives from Frederikson's Broaden and Build Theory of Emotions and different conceptualisations relating to both flourishing and resilience to address viable options for improving the experience of sport engagement for young people. With obvious relevance to leadership and governance, these issues will interest coaches, athletes governing bodies of sport and sport psychologists alike.

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