Mental Qualities and Employed Mental Techniques of Young Elite Team Sport Athletes

Mark Hollands, C Woodcock, Jennifer Cumming, Joan Duda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)
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Research on the psychological characteristics of elite performers has primarily focused on Olympic and World champions; however, the mental attributes of young developing and talented athletes have received less attention. Addressing this, the current study had two aims: (a) to examine the perceptions held by youth athletes regarding the mental qualities they need to facilitate their development and (b) to investigate the mental techniques used by these athletes. Forty-three male youth rugby players participated in a series of focus groups. Inductive content analysis revealed 11 categories of psychological qualities, including enjoyment, responsibility, adaptability, squad spirit, self-aware learner, determination, confidence, optimal performance state, game sense, attentional focus, and mental toughness. Techniques employed included personal performance strategies, reflection on action, taking advantage of a supportive climate, and team-based strategies. Findings are discussed in relation to their implications for mental skills training program development and evaluation in the case of youth elite team sport athletes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-38
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Clinical Sport Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


  • mental skills
  • needs analysis
  • youth athletes
  • team sports


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