19 Jan 2018 | Digital editions, magazines, websites, e-zines, handbooks and contract publishing for the leisure industry

Sports Management issue 134, 2017 is now out!


Sports Management bloggers:

Liz Terry
Leisure Media

Kate Cracknell
Health Club Management

Eva McDiarmid
Chief Executive,

Kurt Janson
Policy Director,
Tourism Alliance

Philippe Rossiter
Chief Executive,
Institute of Hospitality

Aleatha Ezra
Director of park member development,
World Waterpark Association

Ian Taylor

Gareth Edwards
Director of Education,

John Goodbody
Sports Journalist

Suki Kalirai
Interim CEO,

Sam Coulstock
Customer Relationship Director,

Stephen Studd

Edwina Hart
Minister for Business,
Welsh Assembly Government

Leah De Silva
Business development director,

David Grevemberg
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

Simon Johnson
Business in Sport and Leisure

David Kerr
David Kerr Associates

Nick King
Sports Think Tank

Fredrik Lindahl
Treasurer & Administrator,
Finnish Cricket Association

Chris Marriott
Capita Symonds

Rhona Mennie
Business relations manager,
Springboard UK

Matt Partridge
Executive board member,

Tom Pinnington
Associate director,
Capita Symonds

Hugh Robertson
Minister for Sport

David Stalker

Chris Trickey
Chief Executive,

Phillip Villars
Managing Director,
Indigo Planning

Tom Walker
Leisure Media

Duncan Wood-Allum
Sport, Leisure and Culture Consultancy

School sport - could try harder

16 Dec 2014
by Liz Terry, CEO, Leisure Media
Selling sport as 'fun' to young people doesn't resonate – it's more effective to tap in to adult motivations

In my mid-teens I went to a new school which turned out to have a tradition of playing tricks on new students. Within a couple of days of starting, someone dropped into a conversation that there were mixed showers after PE.

Everyone was in on the 'joke' – even some of the teachers. I still look back with incredulity that this could have happened, most especially with the knowledge of teaching staff – and bearing in mind this was an unremarkable English state school, not a public school with a history of punishing initiation ceremonies.

I'm not alone in having bad memories of PE at school. For all the wonderful work done by those PE teachers who get it right, school sport is increasingly being identified by researchers as the thing which puts many people off exercise for life.

A new survey from the University of Birmingham, The Big PE Conversation, polled 1,800 people and discovered a quarter of males and a third of females "never or rarely" enjoyed PE while at school. The reasons were numerous and included things like being sent outside in all weathers in short sleeves and embarrassment about body issues. More than half said school PE didn't help them become more physically active in adulthood.

"We thought it would be fascinating to ask people about their school PE experiences, with a view to shaping the PE lessons of the future to encourage sustainable, healthy lifestyles," said University of Birmingham's Kathleen Armour, who led the study.

"When you think about the money invested in our PE curriculum, we haven't done enough to understand how this affects our level of activity as adults. Although there's a great body of work on how investment translates into the performance of elite athletes and Olympic medal tables, this is an opportunity to help us to create more positive, effective PE experiences for every child."

The wider sports industry is waking up to the huge impact which bad school experiences have on sports participation. Our feature in this issue (see Sports Management 2014 issue 4, page 38), delves into a new insight study from Sport England, called The challenge of growing youth participation in sport. This in-depth research examined the reasons young people don't play sport and found a significant shift is needed if we're to successfully engage young people.

There's often a gulf between attitudes and behaviours – kids may say they love sport, but not take part, while others claim not to be interested, but take part on a more regular basis because of motivation from friends and family.

The negative references to school sports in the research stand out. One of the most challenging findings is that for many "sport was last viewed as fun in primary school."

The report says that at secondary school, "sport starts to be perceived as a more serious pursuit for those who are 'good' at it and this drives a shift towards functional rather than sporting motivation." Basically, selling sport as fun doesn't resonate with many young people.

It recommends tapping in to more adult motivations such as demonstrating that taking part in sport delivers something they care about, such as "looking good, achieving personal goals, supporting a charity or providing a social setting to be with friends".

So there's much to change if 'PE' is to become the bedrock of adult health we know it could be. We need more awareness of the needs of young people, greater skill in engaging with them and in the delivery of experiences which are habit forming and leave them with the motivation to make it part of their adult lives.

Tags: Sports Management  sport & recreation  public sector 

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