Why psychological well-being is so important to talented young athletes

I recently wrote a summary of research looking at psychological well-being of young people in talent development environments. The most interesting thing that struck me was the reason the researchers gave for conducting this type of work.

With talented young athletes so much of their identity is build around their sport, it is basically their life, and therefore any feeling of poor well-being will have a much greater impact on them. Unlike other young people they cannot simply move on to something else without it feeling like a seismic shift in their life.

For the record the results showed that Talent Development Environments could be broken down into three levels based on how they were perceived by the players (high, moderate and low quality environments). Using these categories the researchers discovered a strong link between the quality of the environment and athlete well-being. In other words players in high quality talent environments experienced significantly higher levels of well-being than those in the low quality environments. Three areas in particular showed distinct differences: communication with the coach; goal setting; and well-established relationships. Understanding these can help ensure the well-being of the young athletes in talent development environments.

You can read the full summary HERE.

This was based on the following research:

Ivarsson, A et al (2014) The predictive ability of the talent development environment on youth elite football players’ well-being: a person-centered approach. Psychology of Sport and Exercise