Comparing Practices of US Swimming against a Global Model for ...

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Abstract

South Australia’s Strategic Plan acknowledges that supporting and strengthening children’s ability to achieve their best should be given urgent precedence. As sport has widely been recognised as a key setting in which children can learn important life skills, understanding involvement, motivations, and barriers to participation in sport is a key component for ensuring today’s children have the opportunity to develop key psychosocial skills of sportspersonship, teamwork, resilience, and initiative. This research investigated the perceptions of parents, and the voices and pictures of five year old boys in South Australia. Parents in this study recognised that there is an almost inherent need for boys in particular to participate in sport and/or physical activity and highlighted the positive effects on sleeping patterns and behaviour management when their child is active during the day. However, it was also noted that children can become more tired on those days too, something also acknowledged by the children. Conflicting views emerged when discussing new recommendations to remove competitive elements in junior sport such as scores or winners in matches. The most significant barrier to engagement in organised sports was the associated financial costs, with many parents admitting to not being able to afford increasing sport fees. This has led to a shift away from formal participation in organised sports towards informal, unstructured play which has significant implications for the nature of sport participation in Australia.