A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE CONCEPT OF "LIFE SKILLS" IN DENMARK, USA AND UK Larsen, C. H. & Christensen, M. K., Department of Sports Sciences and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark Introduction It is unclear which life skills are needed by adolescent athletes. Research that promote the need for certain life skills (e.g. balancing school and elite sport) is potentially limited because it is based on retrospective analysis of what was needed in adolescence of the past, is based on outdated conceptions of adolescence, and may not be applicable across cultures and settings (Jones & Lavallee, 2009). The purpose of this study is to examine and compare the concept of life skills needs of adolescent athletes in Danish, American and British literature. Furthermore, the aim of the study is to discuss the psychological concept of life skills in relation to a systems theory approach to studying adolescent athletes' way of balancing elite sport and school. Methods The study is a comparative literature study, which prepare the theoretical basis for a Ph.D. project (2010-2013). The Ph.D. project consists of two studies with different purposes and groups of target. The first study is creating an overview of which life skills are relevant in different sporting environments in Denmark - this study includes an examination of the concept of life skills. The second study is a group intervention with four groups of athletes in the age of 15-18 from different sports with the purpose of developing life-skills suitable for career transitions. Discussion Results from a British study suggest that adolescent athletes require interpersonal skills; social skills, respect, leadership, family interactions, and communication. Personal skills; self-organization, discipline, self-reliance, goal setting, managing performance outcomes, and motivation. Social skills were identified as the most important life skills (Jones & Lavallee, 2009) whereas Gould and Carson (2008), in a review of life skills, stated that American high school athletes require: time and stress management skills, character development and decision making skills, leadership skills, communication skills and general confidence and efficacy. Danish research shows that some of the most important skills are: balancing elite sport and school and that it is important to view life skills in relation to the specific culture and environment (Christensen & Soerensen, 2009). References Christensen M. K. and Soerensen J. K. (2009) Sport or school? Dreams and dilemmas for talented young Danish football players. European Physical Education Review Vol.15(1):1-18 Gould, D. & Carson, S. (2008) Life skills development through sport: current status and future Directions. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1, 58-78. Jones, M. I. & Lavallee, D. (2009) Exploring the life skills needs of British adolescent athletes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10, 159-167.
Main Research Area:
European College of Sport Science - Sport Science where the cultures meet, 2010