Youth Sport Trust

Evaluating wellbeing support for young athletes

Fiveways was commissioned to conduct an evaluation of the Youth Sport Trust’s Talent Support programme which aims to help young people aged 13-19 maximise their sporting potential by supporting them to achieve a balanced lifestyle of training, competition, academic study, and social and family life. The programme consisted of an e-learning platform for athletes, an app for parents, the opportunity to discuss issues with YST Athlete Mentors, and workshops at events.

The evaluation, which aimed to both describe the impact of the programme and generate practical insight on the audiences’ needs and attitudes to athlete education, included over 800 young athletes, 520 parents and 100 coaches as well as YST Athlete Mentors and representatives of the National Governing Bodies of the sports involved.

To generate insight, we used a mixed method of baseline and follow-up surveys, online insight communities (see detailed case study on insight communities), face to face discussions at events, and in-depth telephone interviews.

Our findings demonstrated that those who participated in the programme were better able to see and appreciate the perspective of others and many reported feeling more reassured, encouraged, confident, resilient and focussed.

Our research also helped to ensure YST’s future work in this area was more focussed on the audiences’ identified needs – support to cope with disappointments or steps up in an athlete’s career, ways to deal with pressure and stress, and support to balance and negotiate competing demands on your time.

“I am really pleased that we chose to work with Fiveways. I would definitely recommend them to others – they took the time to really understand what we were trying to achieve and were flexible and able to adapt quickly to a fast-paced project that seemed to change constantly. We learnt a huge amount from their research which will help to shape the future of the Youth Sport Trust’s Talent Support programme.” – Lucy Ellis, Evaluation and Research Specialist, Youth Sport Trust