Assessing the Irish Football Association’s “Ahead of the Game” coach education training programme on raising mental health literacy in youth football coaches

Rodney Topping, Kyle Paradis, Kyle Ferguson

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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to assess the influence of the Irish Football Association’s ‘Ahead of the Game’ coach education training programme on mental health literacy of youth football coaches in Northern Ireland, and to gain insights into coaches’ own role perceptions of providing Mental health support for athletes. A total of 105 coaches (90% male; 10% female, Mage = 37.84, SD = 8.81, Mexperience = 9.53, SD = 6.59) completed an online survey examining mental health literacy and role perceptions of providing mental health support for athletes. A total of 40% of the sample completed the ‘Ahead of the Game’ mental health literacy training programme while 60% of the sample served as the comparison group. Results showed that participants who had completed the training programme demonstrated significantly higher mental health literacy in comparison to those who had not yet undertaken the programme. Thus, the ‘Ahead of the Game’ programme may be useful for increasing mental health literacy. Youth sport coaches are an accessible and trusted outlet as a first point of contact to provide initial mental health support for athletes, thus advocating for the integration of mental health literacy training as a key part of coach education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Sport Coaching Journal
Volume11
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 13 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Mental health literacy
  • mental health awareness
  • coach education
  • athlete mental health
  • youth sport

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