Why do children take part in, and remain involved in sport? A literature review and discussion of implications for sports coaches

R. Bailey, E.J. Cope, Gemma Pearce

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Recent academic literature on sport coaching has acknowledged the importance of domain specificity, emphasising the significance of participant motives and the coaching environment in determining appropriate coaching practice. Although children's motivations for taking part in sport have been a popular research area, there has been no attempt, until now, to review the research literature that specifically addresses this issue. This review found that children's participation in sport is mediated by five primary factors: perception of competence; fun and enjoyment; parents; learning new skills; and friends and peers. These findings suggest that, in addition to the generally acknowledged psychological factors, the social-cultural context in which children play influences their motivations to participate. If children are to remain involved in sport, it is vital that coaches' behaviours and practices match the needs of the young participants. Coaches are responsible for creating a developmentally appropriate learning environment that ensures children maintain active sports participation. If this is to be achieved, coaches need to think carefully about the behaviours they use, and how they structure their coaching sessions. Coaches should use more positive than negative behaviours, and emphasise fun and enjoyment, teamwork and effort, over winning and competition.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)56-75
    JournalInternational Journal of Coaching Science
    Volume7
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Fingerprint

    coach
    coaching
    Sports
    participation
    psychological factors
    teamwork
    learning environment
    parents
    literature
    learning

    Bibliographical note

    The full text of this item is not available from the repository.

    Keywords

    • motivation
    • sport coaching
    • children

    Cite this

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    title = "Why do children take part in, and remain involved in sport? A literature review and discussion of implications for sports coaches",
    abstract = "Recent academic literature on sport coaching has acknowledged the importance of domain specificity, emphasising the significance of participant motives and the coaching environment in determining appropriate coaching practice. Although children's motivations for taking part in sport have been a popular research area, there has been no attempt, until now, to review the research literature that specifically addresses this issue. This review found that children's participation in sport is mediated by five primary factors: perception of competence; fun and enjoyment; parents; learning new skills; and friends and peers. These findings suggest that, in addition to the generally acknowledged psychological factors, the social-cultural context in which children play influences their motivations to participate. If children are to remain involved in sport, it is vital that coaches' behaviours and practices match the needs of the young participants. Coaches are responsible for creating a developmentally appropriate learning environment that ensures children maintain active sports participation. If this is to be achieved, coaches need to think carefully about the behaviours they use, and how they structure their coaching sessions. Coaches should use more positive than negative behaviours, and emphasise fun and enjoyment, teamwork and effort, over winning and competition.",
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    AU - Pearce, Gemma

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    N2 - Recent academic literature on sport coaching has acknowledged the importance of domain specificity, emphasising the significance of participant motives and the coaching environment in determining appropriate coaching practice. Although children's motivations for taking part in sport have been a popular research area, there has been no attempt, until now, to review the research literature that specifically addresses this issue. This review found that children's participation in sport is mediated by five primary factors: perception of competence; fun and enjoyment; parents; learning new skills; and friends and peers. These findings suggest that, in addition to the generally acknowledged psychological factors, the social-cultural context in which children play influences their motivations to participate. If children are to remain involved in sport, it is vital that coaches' behaviours and practices match the needs of the young participants. Coaches are responsible for creating a developmentally appropriate learning environment that ensures children maintain active sports participation. If this is to be achieved, coaches need to think carefully about the behaviours they use, and how they structure their coaching sessions. Coaches should use more positive than negative behaviours, and emphasise fun and enjoyment, teamwork and effort, over winning and competition.

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