Psychological characteristics of developing excellence in elite youth football players in English professional academies

Saward, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-9363-3410, Morris, J.G. ORCID: 0000-0001-6508-7897, Nevill, M.E. ORCID: 0000-0003-2498-9493, Minniti, A.M. and Sunderland, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-7484-1345, 2020. Psychological characteristics of developing excellence in elite youth football players in English professional academies. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38 (11-12), pp. 1380-1386. ISSN 0264-0414

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This mixed-longitudinal prospective study examined the development of psychological characteristics of developing excellence in relation to the career progression of elite youth football players. In a 20-month period, 111 academy football players aged 11-16 completed the Psychological Characteristics of Developing Excellence Questionnaire (PCDEQ) on 1-5 occasions. This combination of single and repeated assessments resulted in a mixed-longitudinal sample of 226 completed PCDEQs. Players were then prospectively tracked, and their scholarship status assessed at follow-up, at age U17. Multilevel modelling revealed that coping with performance and developmental pressures scores increased with age, and that Category 1-2 academy scholars (4.35 ± 0.61) scored higher than Category 3-4 academy scholars (3.99 ± 0.67) and non-scholars (4.02 ± 0.78) (p<.05). Evaluating performances and working on weaknesses scores increased with age for Category 1-2 academy scholars (U12-U14 vs. U15-U16 = 5.16 ± 0.48 vs. 5.38 ± 0.45), compared to non-scholars (U12-U14 vs. U15-U16 = 5.11 ± 0.59 vs. 5.03 ± 0.71) (p<.05). Imagery use during practice and competition scores decreased with age (U12-U14 vs. U15-U16 = 4.45 ± 0.66 vs. 4.29 ± 0.70) (p<.05). A blend of PCDEs may facilitate optimal career progression. Football academies should develop players’ PCDEs, with a particular focus on developing their coping skills and their ability to realistically evaluate performances and work on weaknesses.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Sports Sciences
Creators: Saward, C., Morris, J.G., Nevill, M.E., Minniti, A.M. and Sunderland, C.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 2020
Volume: 38
Number: 11-12
ISSN: 0264-0414
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 12 Sep 2019 15:42
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2020 08:00

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