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Examine the issues that are faced by clubs and policy makers in an attempt to encourage young people to continue to participate in an active lifestyle.

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Introduction

Examine the issues that are faced by clubs and policy makers in an attempt to encourage young people to continue to participate in an active lifestyle. In doing this you should pay particular attention to considering the roles of influential others during the various developmental stages (as outlined by cote and hay, 2002) of a young athletes career. "Whether children remain in sport and become involved in regular physical activity depends on personal experiences, which are heavily influenced by their social environment" (Cote & Hay (A), 2002: 486). This proclamation from Cote and Hay demonstrates that external influences are the dominant factor in children's continued partaking of sport. This essay will consider the multi facets of any given child's social environment, and analyse the extent to which each has a bearing on participation, whilst placing this in the context of Cote & Hays (2002) three stages of participation " the sampling years, specializing years, and investment years" (Cote & Hay (A), 2002: 487). The essay will then progress to scrutinize policies that have been implemented to increase participation and manage the identified issues. In a paper presented to Sport England Tess Kay referred to the family as "a critical agent for sports socialisation" (Kay, 2003: 39). ...read more.

Middle

An important contemporary issue in terms of family involvement that is raised by Kay (2003) is "most sport research assumes the traditional model of the family...treating it as a one dimensional construct rather than a complex and variable social institution" (Kay, 2003: 44). This is a relevant issue for sports participation as factors such as financial and time support which shape continued participation are affected. From Kay's (2003) research "two broad contemporary family scenarios need consideration from sport policy makers" (Kay, 2003: 56). First how single parent families resource constraints, typically limited parental time and limited income, pose obstacles to providing opportunities for children to participate in sport. And second, parental time shortage in dual work households again posing obstacles to regular participation. It is thus important that future mass participation policy ensures the "family" is not seen as operating in one crude form and that contemporary situations are recognised. This along with Kay's (2003) suggestion of more quantitative research into the links between family and sport participation should ensure continued involvement in active lifestyles. Away from the family physical education plays an important role in acquiring and sustaining children's interest in sport to encourage continued involvement outside of the school environment. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mcphail et al also found that specializer's "talked about the importance of friendship to their continuing participation" (Mcphail et al, 2003: 264). I have experienced this myself with wanting to go to football every week to see friends that were not at my school. The clubs emphasis on the educative goal and enjoyment appeared to have assisted in this process. Therefore advocating once more coach education and the importance of clubs encouraging strong peer relationships to foster continued participation. This paper has shown that participation in youth sport is a complex social phenomenon which is very much multi dimensional issue. However throughout a common theme has emerged. If "influential others" pursue a sport education agenda in the earlier stages of development it facilitates enjoyment which in turn leads to continued participation in the later stages of development. This has been shown in terms of parents, coaches, and schools. It has been shown that youth sport is a crowded policy space (Houlihan, 2000) with many parties often competing with conflicting interests, a prime example being National Governing bodies pursuing excellence and schools pursuing participation. It is important for policy makers to have an objective view of youth sport taking into consideration contemporary social issues and formulating balanced policies, which allow the quest for excellence to stand side by side with mass participation allowing as many children as possible to continue to participate in an active life style. ...read more.

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