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«Developing the Potential of Young People in Sport A report for sportscotland by The University of Edinburgh Developing the Potential of Young People ...»

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Once you work in the system and make sure you've got it, sorted it out and I suppose, like most things if this programme was to roll out and money was poured into it, then it would be flashy and it would come out in a form that would be easy to go from one section to the next and whatever. But as it was, the general idea of it was quite straightforward.

I found the cards OK but I got myself organised and put them into my folder here so I've got them there. I struggled a bit with the numbering, B1A and then, you know, I just wondered if you had a page number would that help?

I've been involved in the TOPS and it's fantastic. And it's user-friendly.

And there's equipment and everybody just mucks in. And the skill... and the little practices are simple, not too complex, and the teacher in the primary can have a look at these cards that have been made up and she can gauge what cards to give to a class. And I think that's very userfriendly. I really do.

More Integration Between the Physical and Mental The integration of the psychomotor and psycho-behavioural aspects of the programme was seen as a very important concept by the deliverers. The more this could be made explicit and practical the better.

I think the rationale behind it all is really very sound. When you're reading the manual it almost reads as being logical, common sense if you like. I like the way that the movement and the behavioural bit are tied together.

I don't think there's anything else really that has that kind of level of very specific looking at this person do a forward roll and comment on it or whatever. You would maybe do that in a gym hall, you know, and they will look at their peers and comment on it or whatever but not so much in an actual discussion in the classroom. It's a good thing in one sense because they probably then would focus more upon it and you might actually get more of a discussion and a better response. But in the classroom, the difficulty is that if it's something they have to do, they don't then get the chance to try it out and see if they can make it better there and then.


Once again, a great deal of support is apparent for the DPYPS approach. As indicated throughout the planning and implementation of the programme, its complexity limits clear distinction between elements. In short, it is the entire recipe that needs consideration rather than the individual ingredients.

Some points are clear however. The resources need improvement, both in ‘smartening up’ and in simplifying the presentation – not a particular surprise given the pilot nature and resource limitations of the programme. There are also implications for further development of the in-service training, a factor which is addressed specifically in the next section. For us, the potential role of DPYPS as a ‘unifying’ force between myriad initiatives is a positive highlight from participants. Their support for the content and methodology is also welcome; support for the role of pedagogy in effective teaching is particularly worthy of note.

Section 4 Resources and Professional Development/Training within the Intervention Package

4.1 Development of the DPYPS Resources 4.1.1 The Rationale Underpinning Development of the Psychomotor Resources The psychomotor resources within DPYPS are founded upon the belief that generic skills are insufficiently developed in most children and that specific teaching is necessary to remedy this important lack. There are also issues with the way in which more able youngsters are developed through participation in sport. From a young age, children are encouraged to specialise in one or two sports, often both in and out of school, with little consideration of their developmental needs outside their sport specific prowess. Even those enlightened sports which specifically address a broader educational agenda, often fail to cater fully for the individual child’s needs in a comprehensive fashion. In short, although there are many benefits to early participation in one sport, there is also a number of disadvantages.

For example, case studies of elite sports performers have indicated that many started in a different sport to the one at which they finally excelled. By limiting the education that individuals get at a young age, we are potentially closing the doors to alternative sports at a later stage. In fact, we may even be acting to limit the individual’s performance in that particular sport. There is a great deal of evidence which supports the benefits of transfer of skills from one environment to another. The risks of producing ‘twodimensional’ players is really not worth the benefits which (supposedly) accrue from specific training and coaching.

A similar picture emerges from the participation perspective. For example, research has shown that teenage girls are more likely to drop out of, or avoid, sports clubs/physical activity sessions. The conventional argument is that these activities are not popular with these students. However, merely changing the curriculum and offering less competitive team games and more dance (for example) often fails to achieve the expected magical transformation! In contrast, we believe that this lack of participation is often due to the students’ poor perceived movement competence, or to put it more simply, they think they look stupid doing the activities! This embarrassment would obviously be reduced if, at a young age, co-ordination and generic sports abilities had been developed, and confidence in these abilities engendered.

4.1.2 The Content of the Psychomotor Resources

The psychomotor resources introduce a range of developmental motor activities that provide children with the opportunity to develop competence (perceived and actual) in a range of physical skills. The physical skills promoted underpin successful involvement in physical activities. The curriculum follows a developmental line in three stages, moving from the development of basic components (the ‘words’), to a transition stage which develops the ability to combine these moves in meaningful ways (the ‘sentences and paragraphs’), to a final stage in which skills are deployed in game or activity-specific environments (the ‘stories’). Additionally, the conditioning (and knowledge of how to condition) the body is promoted throughout the curriculum by also emphasising the main components of fitness (agility, flexibility, strength, speed, stamina and power) (see Figure 4.1).

–  –  –

Figure 4.1: The three stage psychomotor developmental curriculum employed within the DPYPS programme.

Therefore, the DPYPS psychomotor resources provide activities that aim to equip individuals with a broad developmental base in order to aid sports participation for a healthier lifestyle, and/or involvement in high performance sport. The three-stage system

offers a comprehensive package targeting:

• The development of co-ordination.

• The development of the basic movements which underpin sport specific activities (e.g. running, catching, throwing).

• The ability to combine these basic skills to achieve game/performance-related objectives (i.e. invasion games, central net sports, striking and fielding games, and sequencing skills).

• The development of game-related cognitive skills, such as decision making and scanning.

• The development (and knowledge of how to develop) the main components of fitness (agility, flexibility, strength, speed, stamina and power).

Level One: ‘Words’: The Basic Moves Programme

The Level One psychomotor programme targets co-ordination and performance at basic skills such as throwing, kicking, catching and travelling. Co-ordination is a complex motor skill necessary both for skill acquisition (learning) and skill perfection. Coordinated individuals have been shown to acquire new skills quickly, and perform them with greater efficiency.

The best time to train co-ordination is during the early years when individuals learn everything quickly; a multi-skill programme creates a solid foundation for subsequent elaboration, unlike the specific skills training that many individuals currently experience.

Pre-puberty is often referred to as the ‘rapid gain phase’, at this time children who are involved in a wide range of activities make greater gains in co-ordination than those who participate in one sport. Research has also shown that many elite performers began their sporting life in entirely different sports from the ones at which they later excel. By pushing generic training at a young age, we are broadening the sporting directions that individuals can take, whilst also promoting the potential ability to generate and execute new and original solutions to movement challenges. The resources provided suggest activities to promote each of the basic skills, working along a continuum that starts simply and progressively becomes more difficult. Each work card contains instructions to give the children and teaching points (in italics) so that teaching can be focused on the factors pertinent for the specific activity. Additionally, there are also pointers as to how to vary the activities to accommodate a range of abilities.

Level Two: “Sentences and Paragraphs’: The Transitions Programme

Once the basic skills are firmly ingrained in an individual, more complex movement patterns can be introduced. Therefore, the Level Two psychomotor programme is a transition level, which consists of tasks that encourage individuals to combine the basic skills to achieve some game/performance-related objective, such as blocking an attacker. Consequently, the Transitions programme aims to take well-learned basic skills, then gradually combine and refine these to produce more complex, sports-like patterns of movement. Note that moving onto this stage too early can result in a breakdown of the fundamental movement patterns. For example, a child may be able to throw a ball against a wall with an appropriate technique, but move them into a game situation too early and their throwing ability is likely to degenerate. Continuing to place the individual in a game situation will eventually lead to a well-learned and consistent BUT faulty movement pattern.

The Transitions programme, like the DPYPS programme as a whole, is designed to be progressive. Simple movements are combined with other simple movements; and developed to generate increasingly complex movement sequences. In this level, the tasks also aim to develop cognitive abilities (such as scanning and decision making) in tandem with the movement skills. It is important in this level that teaching points are used as a last resort to allow individuals to use their knowledge from Basic Moves as a foundation to enable them to explore and learn more complex sequences in their own time and way. At this level, activities are set up to encourage participants to generate appropriate movement solutions and general guidance tips replace teaching points.

This level also includes a specific emphasis on games, pertinent because of the popularity and centrality apparent in these activities for younger students within our societal context. Crucially, and perhaps a reason why this activity seems to lose this popularity as students enter puberty, performance in games depends on more than just executing a series of skills. The games environment is constantly changing and the games player must know which skill to select and execute at any given time, under extremely tight time pressures, even at a fairly low level of play. Often this means that the player must be able to adapt the skill depending on the dynamics of the situation.

These skills are not acquired simply by mastering a series of techniques, but rather when the player understands the changes that are taking place within the environment, the actions they should perform in accordance with those changes, the effect their actions will have on the environment, and how their actions relate to their objectives and the team objectives. Decision making, and scanning and skill execution all play a vital role in team game performance. Therefore, knowledge development should take place alongside movement development when games are the focus (Grehaigne et al., 2001).

Curriculum guidelines are given to clarify the age at which certain skills should be reasonably well developed, however, the most important factor is that sessions are geared around ability rather than chronological age. Some individuals will progress decidedly slower than their counterparts, but it is essential that they are not rushed, but rather allowed to develop through the levels at their own pace. Tasks are split into categories (invasion, central net, striking and fielding, and sequencing activities), skill groups (object control, travel and balance), and sets. Within each set there are four tasks which gradually build in complexity.

Level Three: ‘Stories: The Link to Specific Sports’

The Level Three psychomotor programme is aimed at teachers and coaches providing sport specific practices to children. We have continued to develop resources based around a generic approach to the development of decision making in invasion games.

The limited deployment of some of these methods, achieved in partnership with Stirling County Rugby Football Club, seemed to have a positive impact with coaches and metacoaches.

A specific issue for the further development of this level relates to the generally poor coaching skills apparent in many of those who attended training. These individuals are obviously highly committed and enthusiastic. However, their limitations in coaching skill, particularly pedagogy, were apparent at an early stage, and severely limited the training and development we achieved with them. We would welcome further discussion on the development of this aspect, which could, we suggest, benefit substantially from this approach.

4.1.3 The Rationale Underpinning the Development of the Psycho-behaviouralResources

The psycho-behavioural strategies promoted within the DPYPS programme are based on recent and current research from around the world that has investigated the processes adopted by those who successfully develop in sport, as well as those who become consistent world-class performers in a range of achievement environments.

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