Potential Stressors Elite Youth Soccer Players encounter when making the
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Informed by Lazarus and Folkman’s transactional model of stress and coping (1984), the purpose of this investigation was to explore potential stressors that elite youth soccer players encounter when making the transition from youth team soccer to first team. In addition, identifying coping strategies used to try and cope with the identified stressors. A qualitative research design was adopted in the form of semi-structured interviews with five elite youth soccer players describing their personal experiences. Following content analysis, the findings showed that athletes experience competitive (Making errors and Selection), organisational (Coaches, Change in Environment and Team mates) and personal stressors (Friends and Girlfriend). Participants found making errors and coaches to be the most stressful while in transition. In response to these may stressors athletes used a wide range of coping strategies such as problem-focused coping (Goal-setting and Self-talk) emotionalfocused coping (Social Support) and avoidance coping (Behavioural avoidance). Participants recorded that the most commonly used coping strategy was social support, self-talk and behavioural avoidance. The findings suggest that stress is an ongoing process within an elite youth soccer players’ transition from youth team soccer to first team. Practical implications for elite youth soccer players flourishing through a transition into elite soccer would include developing awareness of the selection of stressors that can influence their transition and the need to consider social support and self-talk as effective strategies.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
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