Brennan Petersen, Mark Eys, Kody Watson and M. Blair Evans
Given the prevalence of group contexts in sport and the importance of the social environment for motivating youth participants, understanding and enhancing group dynamics are critical to facilitate youths’ participation in, and development through, sport. The current objective was to report on a scoping review that was employed to summarize research focused on the dynamics in youth sport groups. The review identified several themes that have been focused on with regularity (i.e., cohesion) and identified others with opportunities for greater incorporation in youth sport research (e.g., cooperation). Furthermore, encouragement is provided to move beyond survey-based, cross-sectional research and to give greater consideration to a developmental approach to understanding child and youth perceptions of the groups to which they belong. Overall, there are many opportunities for researchers to study the dynamics of youth sport groups with an aim to enhance the experiences of young athletes and facilitate group functioning.
Sport is viewed as a setting with potential to offer social benefits to youth participants and alleviate broader social problems. Such promise requires intentionality of sport program philosophy, design, and execution. When designed with intentionality, youth sport can bring about positive change for individual youth and societies. This paper overviews the broad literature base, exploring 2 approaches to the promotion of social development through youth sport. One explores social- and/or life-skill development through sport for individual participants, whereas the other examines the role of sport in addressing broader social problems. Evidence-based strategies for fostering social development through youth sport are synthesized, providing guidance to coaches, administrators, youth workers, and others engaged in youth sport design, and exemplar programs that use youth sport as a vehicle for social development are presented. Limitations in youth sport research are summarized, and a call is made for more intentionally designed youth sport to promote social development.
Maureen R. Weiss
The purpose of this review is to characterize major advancements in the past 40 years of research on youth sport motivation. The author focuses on this period, during which the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, affiliated researchers, and other scholars contributed to the current state of the field. First, she traces paradigm shifts that represent changes in the philosophy and practice of science in youth sport motivation research. Second, she discusses emergent theoretical perspectives that guided empirical research and produced robust findings on predictors, mediators, and outcomes of motivation. Third, she translates these theories and associated studies to inform evidence-based best practices for youth sport programs. Finally, the author recommends that future research highlight developmental approaches, examine sport as a means of promoting physical activity, and consider multidisciplinary perspectives on conducive topics. By reflecting on paradigm shifts and research trends over time, scholars can meaningfully contribute to an increased understanding of youth sport motivation in the decades to come.
Matthew Zimmerman and Lauren Burch
Travis R. Bell
Mark E. Moore
Jeffrey W. Kassing and Pratik Nyaupane
This work explores the phenomenon of soccer pilgrimage (i.e., international travel by U.S.-based supporters to matches and stadia in Europe). A purposive sample of 67 pilgrims who supported a variety of clubs participated. Respondents completed a survey questionnaire designed to inquire about their experience, including why they undertook pilgrimages, how they felt about them, their reaction to having completed pilgrimages, and how they described the experience to others when asked about it. A constant comparative analysis revealed that respondents socially constructed the social atmosphere, the sacred nature, and the authenticating capacity of soccer pilgrimages. Overall, soccer pilgrimage represents a form of secular pilgrimage defined by sociality, sacrality, and liminality.
Mathieu Winand, Matthew Belot, Sebastian Merten and Dimitrios Kolyperas
This study aimed to analyze the way Twitter is used by international sport federations (ISFs) to interact and engage with their followers. A content analysis of 5,389 online messages tweeted by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) using NVivo qualitative data-analysis software was conducted between August 2014 and January 2015. Results suggest that FIFA does not use Twitter to its full potential, mainly sharing 1-way information rather than engaging to a greater level with its followers. The research highlights the importance of effectively using Twitter as a potential powerful communication tool for ISFs, which are understood as meta-organizations whose members are organizations themselves. Communicating about social development and engaging followers, including their affiliated national sport associations, could potentially increase ISFs’ reputation and build trust among followers and stakeholders.