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Influential Youth Athletes Can Help Motivate Others

Influential Youth Athletes Can Help Motivate Others

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Andrea Vest Ettekal is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development. She earned a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry from Kent State University (Kent, OH) and both her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ). Currently, she is Project Director of a project titled “Evaluating the Positive Coaching Alliance Model: Developing Competitors of Character” funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Andrea has special expertise in youth out-of-school time (OST) programs with a focus on adolescents' sport participation.

Andrea suggests that coaches who have some unmotivated players try to have some of the players effect change in the others. Rather than just the coach's voice urging motivation, the coach can tap into the major influencers within the team -- sometimes captain, sometimes not -- to persuade the others to boost their effort and enthusiasm. Coaches who use this technique must know their players well as people and must understand who influences whom within the team.