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An Exploration of the Experiences of Elite Youth Footballers: The Impact of Organizational Culture

Champ, FM, Nesti, MS, Ronkainen, NJ, Tod, DA and Littlewood, MA (2018) An Exploration of the Experiences of Elite Youth Footballers: The Impact of Organizational Culture. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 32 (2). pp. 146-167. ISSN 1041-3200

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The present study explored how the organizational cultural experiences of elite youth footballers shaped their identity development and behavior. The first author occupied the position of sport psychology practitioner-researcher within 1 professional football club over 3 years. Traditional ethnographic research methods were employed, including observations, field notes, reflections, and informal interviews. A cultural sport psychology perspective on identity as a social construction and research on the cultural characteristics of professional football were used as frameworks to make sense of the data. Despite the introduction of the Elite Player Performance Plan in 2012, the traditional masculine culture of professional football dominated the studied club. Creative nonfiction vignettes revealed that youth players were encouraged to develop their self-stories focused on a single-minded dedication to professional football. The limited identity-related resources offered at both club and cultural level are detrimental for players in terms of their well-being and long-term psychological development. From the results of this study, we suggest that future sports psychology practice within professional football may best be delivered at an organizational level. However, for sport psychologists to be effective in this role, they must develop an understanding of the subcultural features and characteristics of the organization. In line with this, there would be great value in introducing a focus on organizational culture within sport psychology professional training and education routes. Lay Summary: This paper explores the impact of the professional football culture on the psychological development of elite youth footballers. From the findings we suggest that sport psychology should be delivered at an organisational level.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Applied Sport Psychology on 05/11/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/10413200.2018.1514429
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences, 1701 Psychology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 10:57
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 07:13
DOI or ID number: 10.1080/10413200.2018.1514429
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13039
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