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Adam D.G. Baxter-Jones

In the early 1900s it was thought that exercise directly stimulated growth; however, by the end of the century it was suggested that young athletes were selected based on inherited physical attributes that enhanced performance success. In this paper, the physical attributes and normal patterns of growth of young athletes, both competitive and recreational, are discussed. Specifically, the paper addresses the question, Are young athletes born with physical attributes suited to a sport or does sport training produce these physical attributes? Variability in the tempo and timing of normal growth and development is addressed, and its relevance and influence on youth talent identification is discussed. This is pertinent in today’s context of sport specialization at relatively young ages. Regular physical training is only one of many factors that could affect child growth; however, distinguishing influences of training programs on growth from those associated with normal growth and development is problematic.

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Karin A. Pfeiffer and Michael J. Wierenga

Participation in a sport is widely considered a valuable form of physical activity, especially for children and adolescents. In addition, many think that sport participation translates to future physical activity. However, limited research has examined the ability of youth sport to significantly contribute to meeting daily physical activity guidelines (60 min/day of moderate to vigorous physical activity) and whether the physical activity behaviors of youth sport participants will translate into future, habitual activity in both the short and the long term. In this paper, available research on the role of youth sport in the promotion of physical activity is evaluated. Two major questions are used to frame the discussion: How much physical activity do youth sport participants attain during games and practices, and does sport participation during childhood and adolescence translate into habitual physical activity in adulthood? This is followed by ideas for future research and preliminary recommendations for best practices or policies.

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Camilla J. Knight

It is widely accepted that parents are a pivotal part of young people’s sporting journey, and over the last 4 decades there has been a substantial growth in research pertaining to youth sport parenting. The aim of this paper is to review the status of the literature pertaining to parenting in youth sport and suggest areas for future work. Specifically, the author provides a very brief history of sport parenting research before turning attention to the 3 areas of study that are currently attracting the majority of researchers’ attention: the influence of parental involvement in youth sport, factors affecting parental involvement in youth sport, and strategies to promote high-quality parental involvement. Future research directions pertaining to the sport parenting questions that are asked, the populations that are sampled, and the interventions that are developed and evaluated are subsequently provided. Finally, the paper concludes with some considerations for best practice in sport clubs and organizations that seek to foster more adaptive youth sport parenting.

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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.

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Dawn Anderson-Butcher

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.

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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.

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Liz Wanless and Jeffrey L. Stinson

While managing the intercollegiate athletic development office is critical to contributions generation, the nearly 40 years of research modeling intercollegiate athletic fundraising emphasized limited factors external to this department. Both theoretical and statistical justification warrants a broader scope in contemporary factor identification. With a resource-based view as the theoretical foundation, a list of 43 variables both internal and external to the intercollegiate athletic development office was generated through an extensive literature review and semistructured interviews with athletic and nonathletic fundraising professionals. Based on the factors identified, random and fixed effects regression models were developed via test statistic model reduction across a 5-year panel (FY2011–FY2015). Ninety-three schools were included, representing 73% of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) membership (85% of public FBS institutions). The results highlight the role of both internal and external factors in explaining intercollegiate athletic fundraising procurement.

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John Charles Bradbury

This study examines the determinants of Major League Soccer team attendance during the league’s recent era of growth. The estimates indicated that regular-season on-field performance is positively associated with attendance, but the returns to success are diminishing. The estimates identified positive novelty effects for newer teams and soccer-specific stadiums, but not for stadium age. Income and attendance were positively correlated, which indicates that Major League Soccer matches are a normal good. The population size, Hispanic share of the population, presence of other major-league franchises, and number of designated players on a team did not appear to be strong determinants of seasonal attendance.

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Kirstin Hallmann, Anita Zehrer, Sheranne Fairley and Lea Rossi

This research uses social role theory to investigate gender differences in volunteers at the Special Olympics and interrelationships among motivations, commitment, and social capital. Volunteers at the 2014 National Summer Special Olympics in Germany were surveyed (n = 891). Multigroup structural equation modeling has revealed gender differences among motivations, commitment, and social capital. Volunteers primarily volunteered for personal growth. Further, motivations had a significant association with commitment and social capital. The impact of motivation on social capital was significantly mediated by commitment. Event organizers should market opportunities to volunteer by emphasizing opportunities for personal growth and appealing to specific values.