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Youth sport.


Part 1 - With reference to the theory undertaken in this module, evaluate the key factors that restrict success within youth sport.

Theory that has already been undertaken in this module includes details of the factors that restrict success in Youth Sport. Factors that have been researched prior to this piece of work are Participation Rates, Support Structures, Maturation Rates, Talent Identification and School Sport Competition. Follows, will be a detailed report underpinning three of these factors and it will stress why they each restrict success in Youth Sport. Youth is another common title for a young person or young people (Konopka, G., 1973). People have different views on how they would define sport, people suggest that sport is an activity governed by rules or customs and often engaged competitively whilst others suggest differently. Sporting people have different attitudes when it comes to playing sport. Sportsmanship is an attitude that strives for fair play, courtesy toward teammates and opponents, ethical behaviour and integrity, and grace in victory or defeat (Fish and Magee 2003). Sports are most often played just for fun or for the simple fact that people need exercise to stay in good physical condition. Although they do not always succeed, sports participants are expected to display good sportsmanship, standards of conduct such as being respectful of opponents and officials. The three factors that will be that will be detailed are Relative Age Effects, Talent Identification and Significant Others. These seem to be the most contrasting factors that restrict success therefore there will be outcome of an understanding from different views and aspects of the sporting world for youths.

Depending on the dates of a child's birth, they will be in either one season or the other to determine what school year they will be entering. For sports players, physical appearance is an agenda when it comes to selecting players off an appearance basis and measuring biological maturity is a way of finding best players; (Vaegans et al 2005). Youths that are involved in sport must be adequately prepared for a life in sport Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) provides a model that they can work from.

Phase 1 - FUNdamentals (FUN)


Content - Overall development, focusing on the ABC's (Agility, Balance, Coordination, Speed) to underpin the generic skills used in many sports: Running, jumping and throwing.

Frequency - Perform physical activity 5-6 times per week.

Phase2 - Learning to Train (L2T)


Content -

Concentration on the range of FUNdamental sports skills, such as throwing, catching, jumping and running.

Introduction to readiness: being mentally and physically prepared.

Basic FUNdamental tactics, e.g. if fielding, net/wall, invasion games can be introduced.

Cognitive and emotional developments are central

Skills are practised in challenging formats

Frequency - As above. If there is a favoured sport, it is suggested that at least 50% of the time is allocated to other sports/activities that develop a range of skills.

Phase3 - Training to Train (T2T)


Content -

This phase ideally occurs post-puberty and attention switches to:

Fitness Training

Detailed mental preparation

A focus on sport-specific skill development, including perceptual skills (reading the game/tactical understanding).

Decision making

Detailed and extensive evaluation

Frequency - For the aspiring performer, sport specific practice will now be 6-9 times per week.

Phase 4 - Training to Compete (T2C)


Content -

Event and position specific training

Physical conditioning

Technical and tactical preparation

Advanced mental practice

All of the above come together and are developed under competition conditions.

Frequency - Training could be up to 12 timesper week.

Phase5 - Training to Win (T2W)


Content - Development and refinement of the aspects above, but with more use in competition modelling and more attention to rest periods and prevention of injury due to heavier load.

Frequency - Training could be up to 15 times per week

Phase6 - Retainment

For athletes/players retiring from competitive sport, many sports are developing Masters Programmes. An additional phase retainment- keeps the players/athletes involved in physical activity. Experiences gained as competitors can be invaluable, should they move into administration, coaching or officiating.

A move to another sport, perhaps at a more recreational level, may better suit some.

There are consequences that the sports person could be faced with as well as the advantages and disadvantages. According to research it has been found that approximately 70% of successful hockey and football players had a relative age advantage because they were born in the first-half of the defined age-group for their respective sports. By comparison, only 30% of these top-level players were born in the last 6 months of the respective “sport year”. One consequence that has been found is an increased drop-out rate for those youthful hockey players that had been disadvantaged by age in the past (Barnsley & Thompson 1988), suggesting that given the choice, younger children will seek to leave or avoid an activity in which their competitive position is hampered by their relative age. Interestingly and predictably, the relative age effect has also been found in other competitive sports such as baseball (Thompson et al 1991).

Steven Gerrard was affected as a youth when it came to playing football and furthering his career. Follows is a prime example of how he overcome his relative age effect.

Steven Gerrard, one of England's most talented footballers, was born in May 1980 and was also a late developer. He describes in his autobiography his huge disappointment at not getting into the FA school at Lilleshall and subsequently not playing for England under-16s. Michael Owen, born some six months earlier in December and more physically developed made both squads easily. Steve Gerrard wrote in his autobiography: “The one nagging doubt in the back of my mind was that my rivals were bigger: I was really small and facing some tall, strong units in my position. “ Steven resented his rejection but had coaches and mentors at Liverpool who knew he needed more time.

Significant others can be described as the people who are around the sports performer. There are 4 sectors; Technical, Peers, Family and Supporters. These are also the key interpersonal support factors that affect a young person's participation and progress in sport. The technical others are the people who see the person as a sports performer. They could be their coach, teacher, club official, sport sciencetist or medical health sciencetist. Peers are made up of people such as friends, classmates and team mates. Family is made up of parents, grandparents and siblings. Finally, supporters are people such as fans and neighbours. All 4 sectors have some form of impact on the sports player whether it is a big one or a small one. Parents are major part for the youth's life. It is the parent that has brought the child up and it is their duty, by nature, to mould the child into a young promising adolescent. Parents have empathy for their children, perceived sharing their children's on court emotions. They are perceived to possess knowledge and expertise of the sport so they feel entitled to comment. They also have a continuum of reactions throughout their child's sport, good and bad. In-game negative comments are usually about 10%. (Holt et al 2008). Significant others can have a negative impact on the sports performer. These effects could include dropping out of sport all together. This could be caused by pressuring parents, lack of peers during adolescence and sibling rivalries. The parents could be either really demanding of the child and either expect too much of them in their sport or could be too strict towards them. Eccles and Harold (1991) proposed the parents expectations influence the child decision to engage in sport and activities including the intensity of effort expended and their child's actual performance level. Next is an extract which is a study examining parental influence on children's participation in sport, giving an idea why the parents could restrict success in Youth Sport.

X. Yang et al (1997) states ‘The purpose of this study was to examine parental influences on children's participation in sport and their later physical activity. The population for the study consisted of a random sample of 1881 9- to 15-year-old boys and girls who were exposed to the extensive research program called "Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns" in 1980. They and their parents have been followed up for twelve years at three-year intervals by means of a short questionnaire concerning physical activity and other factors. The results indicated that the fathers' physical activity in 1980 was related to their children's habitual physical activity in the same year, and gave in boys and girls a significant prediction of PAI values twelve years later when the starting point was the age of 9, and also among boys from 15 years of age to 27. During the three years follow-up period, the extent of participation in sport was higher in families with active parents than in families with passive parents and single parents. The relationship of physical activity and sports participation with fathers' socioeconomic status and education was not strong as with fathers' physical activity.'

Talent Identification is a where a talent is found in a person. In this case it is when a talent is found in a Youth. There are different processes in which talent identification can be used in order to find potential sports persons. Scouts are trained talent evaluators who travel extensively for the purposes of watching athletes play their chosen sports and determining whether their set of skills and talents represent what is needed by the scout's organization. Many scouts are former coaches or retired players, while others have made a career just of being scouts. Skilled scouts who help to determine which players will fit in well with an organization can be the major difference between success and failure for the team with regard to wins and losses. Talent can not only be identified by an official spectator, it can be identified by standard spectators e.g. team mates, coach, teachers. It can also be identified by parents and grandparents. If the non-official spectators were to recognise a talent within a Youth playing Sport then they could hold the boost that the player needs in order to further themselves in their chosen sport. If the non-official spectator fails to let on to the sports person then it could restrict them from being successful in sport. UK Sport holds a number of talent identification programmes for youths and generally people aged 17-25. These are ‘Pitch 2 Podium', ‘Sporting Giants' and ‘Girls4Gold'. UK Sport (2008) and the English Institute of Sport (EIS)began asearch for highly competitive sportswomen with the potential to become Olympic champions in cycling and other targeted Olympic sports (bob skeleton, canoeing, modern pentathlon, rowing and sailing). Girls4Gold is the single most extensive female sporting talent recruitment drive ever undertaken in Great Britain.

Girls4Gold can only take a number of people onto their programme, same with any other programme. Following the tremendous success of Team GB at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Girls4Gold team received over 1300 applications and can't take on anymore applicants until the next opening. This could be a restriction in itself because this programme could be missing out on extreme sports people including male participants. This is only available for females and therefore could hold a feature which a sporting male might need for success but doesn't have on offer anywhere else on their sporting grounds.

After summarising the three factors discussed in this essay, it is clear that they all hold possible restrictions for success in Youth Sport. Relative age effects take a greater approach to the physical side of the sports people body, as the older the sports person is, the more mature and developed their body is and the younger the person is the less developed they are. This could be a restriction when it comes to team games more than it could be a restriction to playing sport individually. This means that the player could have more chances of becoming successful in an individual sport rather than a team sport. The restriction depends on what the player's sport is and which ‘school year' the player is born into. Significant others can be a restriction in itself depending on who the ‘significant others' are around the sports player. Provided that there are the right people, technically as well as emotional and mentally, the then player could be stable and could be successful. However, if those people aren't in place to give the young sports person the interpersonal support they need then they could be self reluctant to take up opportunities in order to be successful. Talent identification is the main key to success in sport. If the payer is not recognised then the player is not faced with the opportunity to make their sport official or even turn it into a career for themselves. With this it could be argued that the sports person should not take chances and wait to be noticed and that they should help themselves be acknowledged by talent identifier. This is when they could apply for programmes such as ‘Girls4Gold'. This is when it could be ‘make or break' for the sports player, as sometimes they are not always faced with people on the search for talent.

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