by James H.
Youth in today’s society don’t play outside and aren’t nearly as active compared to older generations, although many children do participate in organized sports. Unfortunately, children from different ethnic backgrounds do not participate nearly as much. There are numerous benefits to being active in general from prevention of many diseases and ailments to reversing effects of other issues. Specifically youth involvement in sports can instill confidence, promote positive values, and improve academic, social, and physical skills (Mahoney, Larson, & Eccles, 2005; Mahoney, Lord, & Carryl, 2005; Olushola, Jones, Dixon, & Green, 2013). There are also many benefits related to physical health and mental health from reducing stress, allowing proper development through stimulation and play, and using energy by increasing their heart rates during the activities. Participation in sports improves physical and psychological health and decreases obesity levels among youth (American College of Sport Medicine, 2002; Kilpatrick, Hebert, & Jacobsen, 2002). Clearly there are many benefits but why don’t youth minority participate.
There are many after school programs with sports and a handful of organized sport associations in each town. Youth can go to not-for-profit organizations, churches, recreation facilities, outdoor playgrounds and fields to engage in organized sports. Studies have analyzed participation and results show socioecological factors – from exploring the psychological needs among youth participating in the program, looking at motivations of minority youth for participation, and exploring facilitators in youth program involvement. Youth need three basic psychological needs relatedness, autonomy, and competence. Relatedness means feeling a sense of belonging and connectedness. Autonomy means how the individual expresses himself through behavior. Competence means being useful, and being able to work within their social environment (Deci & Ryan, 2002). Motivation is what moves people. It allows us to conquer, and to overcome problems. According to Ryan and Deci (2000), individuals’ actions can be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, or can lack motivation altogether – being amotivated. Intrinsic motivation means doing something for your own sake, extrinsic motivation is when you have a certain outcome in mind. Facilitators in youth participation are things which promote the formation of leisure and enhance participation. Sport participation facilitators that were identified in studies included personal agency; personality traits such as neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, adventurousness, and risk-taking; and “virtually any personal attribute that influences the way an individual views the world and the opportunities it offers’ other personal attributes, which could be considered intrapersonal facilitators, include personal characteristics and abilities, self-perceptions, self-esteem, self-competence, interests, preferences, skill level, and goal orientation (e.g., Çaglar, Asçi & Deliceoglu, 2009; Sit & Linder, 2005; Stuntz & Weiss, 2009).
The goal of the study was to increase the authors’ understanding of factors that affect minority adolescents’ participation in organized sport programs. The study focused both on many needs and motivations that cause youth to participate in sport as well as facilitators which made their sport involvement possible. By focusing on both as well as those related to the social and physical environment, we were able to identify a range of unique factors that affect involvement in sport among minority youth.
- Stodolska, M., Sharaievska, I., Tainsky, S., & Ryan, A. (2014). Minority Youth Participation in an Organized Sport Program. Journal Of Leisure Research, 46(5), 612-634.