LifeMatters is a 10-session sport psychology intervention program, developed by Stephanie Hanrahan (Hanrahan, 2017), involving psychological skills and mental skills taught through physical activity. LifeMatters is largely based on cognitive behavioural theory, focused on enhancing self-regulatory skills and improving psychological well-being. Mental skills training is a systematic and consistent practice of psychological skills for enhancing performance and ability in a number or sport and every-day life situations. The program focuses on Positive Youth Development (PYD) which aims to shift the focus of research towards developing capabilities and enhancing health and well-being. PYD programs have the potential to extend beyond prevention to promote long-term improvement by increasing frequency of positive behaviours and reducing problem behaviours. Our objective is to run the LifeMatters program in the low-income, under-resourced, and culturally-diverse communities of the Western Cape, South Africa. To achieve this end, we recruit volunteers (trainers) into a train-the-trainer program which gives them the skills to facilitate the LifeMatters program. The trainers are then organised into groups to run the program with high school learners. Research data (quantitative, qualitative, and observational) will be collected from the trainers and the learners to assess the efficacy and appropriateness of the intervention.
The focus of this research is in understanding the utility and benefits of organised, instructional programs and, more specifically, life skills education programs (Holt, 2008). Life skills programs, unlike regular organised sport programs, have stated development goals and values consistent with positive youth development (PYD). PYD is an emerging field that broadly pertains to the engagement in constructive behaviours and the development of prosocial skills (Lerner et al., 2011). PYD is a developmental process, a philosophical approach and method by which to promote health and well-being.