Harwood, C. (2008). Developmental consulting in a professional football academy: The 5Cs coaching efficacy program. Sport Psychologist, 22(1), 109.
by Rachel Webb
The purpose of this article was to explore the implementation of the 5Cs coaching efficacy program into a professional football (soccer) academy in Great Britain. This program was inclusive to coaches, parents, and the athletes as well. The 5Cs of football include commitment, communication, concentration, control, and confidence. This study was done over a four-month period and the objective of this program was to enhance coach’s efficacy in shaping the positive psychological and interpersonal skills in the young players (Harwood, 2008). Harwood identifies the unique and untapped potential of sport psychology and through this program wanted to increase the overall awareness and application throughout the academy he was working with. Many people can attest that the specialization of sports is starting at younger ages due to the competitiveness and commitment necessary to build to an appropriate skill level, and this particular culture is extremely present within English football. Development of these young players is crucial due to the unique scenario that many players are being scouted and then signing for professional clubs as young as 8 years old. Another objective of this multidimensional program was to gear their focus to shaping the psychosocial competencies and performance-enhancement skills that are appropriate for each player’s stage of development. In agreement with Harwood, the impact this program has on positive youth development is one of the strongest takeaways from this study, as he points out that this industry has a much deeper and more profound role to play in youth sport (and youth-coach education) compare to other stages of life.
Throughout the study Harwood assesses both the players and coaches on their behavior, responses, and perceptions of efficacy. This was done before, during, and after the intervention, which entailed workshops, working strategies, and training of the 5C’s. Ultimately presented were methods by which coaches, players, and parents can be empowered toward achieving gains in this stage of development and increase their ability to use positive internal and external assets during the early stages of development. Results of this four-month program were reflected in the coaches’ enhanced belief behind their ability to have intentionality behind the employment of sport psychology with the youth they are working with. There was also an achievement of integrating psychological education and development into training sessions. This design of the program was purposely self-exploratory for coaches in the sense that by taking one C at a time and incorporating that, they could then fully understand the impact of each component. For instance, results revealed that with coaches’ implementation of commitment and communication, coaches then associated this with perceived elevations in players’ concentration levels, self-control, and self-confidence during those training sessions (Hardwood, 2008). Despite several limitations of this work it has been made obvious that working within an organization to impact the psychological and performance-enhancement skills of sport psychology vastly benefits all of the individuals involved. The final hopes of this study are to encourage the use of the 5 C’s training amongst other youths and for future practitioner to optimize the opportunity to work with young athletes psychological skill sets and the confidence of coaches in helping shape that development.