Modified youth sport programs seek to adapt sport rules, equipment, and contingencies to the needs and abilities of child participants. Research shows that modified programs can broaden the base of youth sport participation, enhance children’s affective experience of sport, and elevate the level of skill they attain. Hotelling’s location game is applied to the analysis of a modified youth soccer program. It is shown that the program struggled to retain the modifications it had implemented and was gradually compelled to adopt elements of the traditional youth sport programs it had initially rejected. This finding is consistent with predictions derived from Hotelling. It is argued that modified programs will have difficulty maintaining their distinctiveness from traditional youth sport if they are implemented within established sport club structures. A framework for facilitating the establishment and maintenance of modified youth sport programs is suggested.
The authors are with the School of Marketing and Management at Griffith University, Queensland 9726 Australia.