High Society

I have just read the following article and it got me thinking.

Using the skating/boarding/BMXing example it is clear that with the correct environment skills can develop through self-led practice and peer support. Competition in terms of formal rankings etc is not present, but clearly the desire to improve is.  This seems to give rise to a supportive culture or community. Everyone is on the same team, no one is worrying about others getting better and taking their place so there is a genuine desire to mentor and support one another.

These are all things that many of us hark on about as being elements of good practice in youth sports – supportive environment, culture of improvement, room to be creative and expressive, no pressure on results and winning, enjoyment. If we do all these things kids will keep coming and enjoying and participating.

There is a lot of work in Sports Development in the UK looking at addressing participation drop off from 14 years upwards. The change from the junior to adult sporting domain is often cited as a factor (as well as the obvious pressures of education and so on) in “traditional” sports

As someone who knows nothing of the world of street sports I wonder if there is an “adult domain” for these sports. It strikes me that if there is not – or if it is simply the same as for the lads described in the blog post above – then there should be no drop off in participation! OK, so I realise that the societal factors outside of sport (education, employment, family etc) will give rise to natural drop off, but if the sport is led by the participants so that it can be what they want then this should be less than in more formal structured environments.

Lots of hypotheticals here I know. Here is the point (finally)!

Is there a difference in drop off between less formal (ie skating) and more formal (ie rugby) sports. If there is a difference, then we need to change the sports where it is greatest (hard enough in some cases). If not, then the drop off may be purely due to societal factors and we have to change society (a reasonably big challenge!). This may be a piece of research that could interest someone unless it exists already?

Thanks for sticking with my ramblings this far!

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