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Craig A. Williams

dropout have become a greater concern ( 1 ), this still remains a topic that has not received enough attention from pediatric researchers. Although Murray ( 6 ) melodramatically compares modern youth sports training to that of the Spartan military training of agoge [ Editor’s note: note only applicable to

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Jeffery L. Huston

Youth sports teach lessons of teamwork, perseverance, and competition. The unique aspects of youth sports provide constraints that occur with the interaction between participants, coaches, parents, and medical professionals. Ethical dimensions arise out of the nature of the interaction between adults and youth that can build upon the inherent benefits of youth sports participation or reinforce the worst aspects of participation. Parents and coaches play a particular role in dealing with the development of youth athletes, while medical professionals must understand that the relationship between the patient and clinician and the expectation of the social contract is changed through the dynamics of the triadic nature of healthcare in youth sports.

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Michael Messner

By the mid-Twentieth Century in the U.S., a dominant ideology of natural, categorical differences between women and men was an organic part of the unequal distribution of women and men into domestic and public realms, especially in middle class families. Sport was a key site for the naturalization of this ideology, which I call “hard essentialism.” Since the 1970s, an explosion of female athletic participation mirrored the movement of women into the professions, leading scholars to examine sport as a terrain of contested gender relations. This paper extends that discussion by positing a four-part periodization of hegemonic and counter-hegemonic gender ideologies, stretching from the mid-Twentieth Century to the present. Touching down empirically on contemporary professional class youth sports coaches’ views of children and gender, I identify an ascendant gender ideology I call “soft essentialism.” I argue that youth sports has become a key site for the construction of soft essentialist narratives that appropriate the liberal feminist language of “choice” for girls, but not for boys, thus serving to recreate and naturalize class-based gender asymmetries and inequalities. I end by outlining emergent strategies that spring from the contradictions of soft essentialism.

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Leonard M. Wankel and Judy M. Sefton

Fifty-five girls and 67 boys (ages 7-15 yrs) from five ringette and six hockey teams completed pregame and postgame questionnaires at 12 games of their youth sport schedule. Multiple-regression analyses were performed to identify the best predictors of the reported fun level experienced in each of the 12 games. Variables entered into the regression equations included the following: age and sex; pre- and postgame measures of state anxiety and affect, activation, and motivation mood states; pregame measures of choice, how well one expected to play, and confidence that one's team would win; and post-game measures of game outcome, level of challenge in the game, how much was at stake, and how well one played. Postgame positive affect, how well one played, and challenge were consistently the best predictors of fun. When the postgame mood state measures were deleted, game outcome also became an important predictor. The results are interpreted as indicating that fun in youth sports is a positive mood state largely determined by one's perception of personal achievement and the matching of one's skills against a realistic challenge. The results are interpreted as being consistent with the theoretical perspectives of Csikszentmihalyi (1975) and Nicholls (1984a).

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Daniel Gould

Past youth sports research studies that have had significant practical and theoretical impact were identified. These investigations were characterized by several features: (a) asking questions of practical importance, (b) integrating previous research or theory into the designs, (c) employing adequate methodological procedures and sample sizes, and (d) answering questions through series of interrelated investigations. In contrast, youth sports studies that did not have as much impact did not reflect many of these characteristics. Based on these findings, future directions in youth sports research were identified. It was concluded that if the sport psychologist is to conduct socially significant research that will make contributions to those involved in youth sports, three issues must be addressed. First, critical questions of practical significance must be identified. In an effort to identify these issues the results of a survey on psychological topics of practical significance to youth sport personnel was presented. In addition, beneficial and detrimental aspects of theory testing are outlined as well as the role of strong inference in conducting youth sports research. The second issue addressed is the use of varied types of research in studying youth sports. It is argued that descriptive, evaluation, and systems approach research are all needed and examples of each type of research are presented. The third issue examined is the need for a shift in methodological approaches when conducting youth sports research. Sport psychologists must realize that no single method is always best, and varied as well as innovative methodological procedures must be employed. The need to shift from a linear causation and convenient ANOVA categories model to a multidisciplinary, multivariate, and longitudinal approach is suggested.

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José L. Arias and Francisco Javier Castejón

Investigators’ increased interest in teaching game tactics requires generalizable assessment instruments that are appropriate to whatever is needed by the tactic. This literature review aims to provide information about the instruments most frequently used to assess tactics in youth sports. We found that very few studies used instruments that fulfilled the criteria required by this review. The most frequently used tool was The Game Performance Assessment Instrument, followed by the Team Sport Assessment Procedure. Some other instruments, labeled Nonhabitual instruments, were only used sporadically. The instruments were mainly used in invasion and net/wall games. Each instrument defined a set of components and indexes to quantify the assessment, but only the Game Performance Assessment Instrument allows the assessment of the attack and the defense both of the player who possesses the ball and the player who does not. Suggestions were proposed for instruments to be used for assessing tactics.

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Daniel Gould

The mission of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports (ISYS) is to provide leadership, scholarship, and outreach that “transforms” the face of youth sports in ways that maximize the beneficial physical, psychological, and social effects of participation for children and youth while minimizing detrimental effects. Since its inception in 1978, ISYS has partnered with numerous organizations to promote healthy youth sports participation. In this article, the general steps ISYS takes to form and facilitate partnerships are addressed. Four long-term partnerships are also described. The services provided to these organizations are described and the advantages and challenges of working with partners, in general, are delineated. How these partnerships are used to facilitate the teaching, outreach-engagement, and scholarship components of the Michigan State University land grant mission are also described. The case of ISYS shows that conducting community outreach and engagement projects greatly enhance the scholarly mission of the university.

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Alysia Cohen, Samantha McDonald, Kerry McIver, Russell Pate and Stewart Trost

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the validity and interrater reliability of the Observational System for Recording Activity in Children: Youth Sports (OSRAC:YS). Children (N = 29) participating in a parks and recreation soccer program were observed during regularly scheduled practices. Physical activity (PA) intensity and contextual factors were recorded by momentary time-sampling procedures (10-second observe, 20-second record). Two observers simultaneously observed and recorded children’s PA intensity, practice context, social context, coach behavior, and coach proximity. Interrater reliability was based on agreement (Kappa) between the observer’s coding for each category, and the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) for percent of time spent in MVPA. Validity was assessed by calculating the correlation between OSRAC:YS estimated and objectively measured MVPA. Kappa statistics for each category demonstrated substantial to almost perfect interobserver agreement (Kappa = 0.67−0.93). The ICC for percent time in MVPA was 0.76 (95% C.I. = 0.49−0.90). A significant correlation (r = .73) was observed for MVPA recorded by observation and MVPA measured via accelerometry. The results indicate the OSRAC:YS is a reliable and valid tool for measuring children’s PA and contextual factors during a youth soccer practice.

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Craig A. Williams

Youth sport participation offers many benefits including the development of self-esteem, peer socialization, and general fitness. However, an emphasis on competitive success—often driven by goals of elite-level travel team selection, collegiate scholarships, Olympic and National team membership, and even professional contracts—has seemingly become widespread. This has resulted in increased pressure to begin high intensity training at young ages. Such an excessive focus on early intensive training and competition at young ages rather than skill development can lead to overuse injury and burnout.

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Craig A. Williams