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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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The chronic tracking across year groups (i.e. tracking children from one year group to the next; P7-S1, S1-S2, S2-S3) showed some interesting results. Unfortunately, it was not possible to have a P7 to S1 control group and interpretation therefore is difficult. The S1 to S2 group showed no differences in trends between the control and DPYPS groups. However, for perceived physical competence, the DPYPS group showed a significantly larger decrease than the control group. No certain interpretation can be made for this change, however it must be recognised that it has been shown that DPYPS tends to have a more positive effect on those with low perceptions and a ‘negative’ effect on those with high self-perceptions. Given that this group had a particularly high initial level of perceived physical competence, and that the volunteer children had joined a club where all pupils are probably better (or at least they perceive they are and are more active) than in an average class, it may be of no surprise that their relative perception of themselves decreased more than a control group with no different environment in which to judge themselves. The S2 to S3 group showed no significant changes, however the volunteer DPYPS group perceptions remained higher than the control group.

5.1.3 Qualitative Data Qualitative data were collected from children through a combination of one-to-one interviews and small focus groups. Analysis was completed in a similar fashion to other qualitative data, with units of meaningful data being derived by consensus validation. Perceptions of the Psychomotor Impact Pupils’ perceptions of the programme appeared universally positive. Certainly, the content of the DPYPS programme was positively received, and compared favourably

with the usual PE content:

I think, this year, doing this programme [DPYPS] we’ve learnt a lot... a wider range of different skills. Like, last year we never had any good PE lessons and it was always games that we did and it got awful boring. It was quite rubbish but I think we've improved a lot this year since this programme came. (Stirling Primary pupil) I got better with my hand/eye co-ordination as I wasn’t any good at catching or receiving or throwing a ball. I was absolutely terrible, no one would want to throw or pass me the ball because, seriously, if I threw the ball it would end up through the window! But I prefer playing throwing games more than I used to. (Stirling Primary pupil) I found football very difficult and I couldn’t kick a ball without it going all over the place and we were shown different ways of kicking the ball and that helped me. (Stirling Primary pupil) I think it [DPYPS] should carry on because you learn more and you can play more games so it helps your confidence when you’re going up to High School because you’re better at sport. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) Certainly, many of these changes seemed related to increased confidence in improved abilities. As planned, the programme had impacted on both actual and perceived competence.

I don’t know why but I feel a lot more confident now. It’s because a lot of things that I wasn’t very good at like shooting in basketball or netball I think I’ve probably got a lot more control over that now. (Stirling Primary pupil) We learnt about strategy in DPYPS … like in a game such as badminton where you have to play strategy as well as do certain shots so you can win. (North Ayrshire Secondary pupil) When we get a football game at school, it’s better because we can do football better now [since doing the programme]. I’m confident, more confident because I’m better at things now that I didn’t used to be, things I couldn’t do. I used to be scared of doing tackling in football but I don’t know what happened to me but I’m not now. (Stirling Primary pupil) I think DPYPS has helped me play more games and do more things and I’m more confident about doing more things. (Stirling Primary pupil) [I’ve changed since doing the programme] because I just feel that I should take part in everything now. Because I feel that I’ve got better at some things, so I’m better at them, so I feel like taking part in them more.

It’s made me like feel more determined because before if I couldn’t do it I just didn’t go. Now, I try it out and if I can’t really do it, then I keep going and try and get better at it. (Stirling Primary pupil) As a consequence, children were actively seeking sports experiences rather than feeling inhibited by their lack of ability, either actual or perceived.

When we did football I wasn’t that good at it but we had a few DPYPS lessons and I like it now and I've joined a club now. (Stirling Primary pupil) In gymnastics and running I'm better now because I’m not that good at gymnastics, I’m not that good at running, but I like other sports. And now I have this goal at the end of it. I quite like running now. I go cross country running. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) Perceptions of Psycho-behavioural Impact As planned, the psycho-behavioural programme appeared to empower pupils to improve. Use of goal setting was particularly apparent.

It [the psycho-behavioural tasks] made me think about … like rather than just playing sport, it made me think about how to get better and things like that. (North Ayrshire Secondary pupil) In PE we do things with a goal ladder and my goal is to get up to 5 and I think I got up to 8 so I got further than I expected. I use goals in my badminton now... I probably wouldn’t have used goals in badminton before, it didn’t really occur to me. (North Ayrshire Secondary pupil) In golf now I make an effort to keep my mind on what I'm doing and not think of other things. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) Goal setting probably helped me [in dance] because like some times some of the dancing moves were quite hard and like I could break it down into loads of different stages and could work towards a higher stage. (North Ayrshire Secondary pupil) Participants also appeared to be more secure in themselves, confident to make mistakes but keep trying. These characteristics, typical of a self-determining approach, were used to facilitate activity.

I got taught by my skiing teacher that it’s okay to make mistakes but this programme assured me of it. (Stirling Primary pupil) It [DPYPS] helped me with the confidence thing because I do dancing in like a theatre company thing and I’m not like all that good at dancing – I’m alright! I can basically do them but sometimes like I just can’t remember what order they go in but I’m sure like before I did DPYPS I would get all worked up maybe if I’d got behind and everyone else was way ahead of me but now I just laugh at myself and try and pick up where everyone else is. (North Ayrshire Secondary pupil) If I didn’t do well in a race, I’d just think, ‘Mhmm, I’ll just not race them again’, but now I’ll try harder and try again and again and again. (Stirling Primary pupil) The role of self-determination as an ‘inoculation’ against peer pressures is also well demonstrated by participant responses.

It’s changed me just a little bit because I like sport but none of my friends go to the ones that I want to go to, so I never used to go. And then, it made me think I should go anyway because it doesn’t matter if you don’t go with your friends. Because I went to play football but none of my friends go. (Stirling Primary pupil) I’ve become more sort of more fit and more interested in fitness because... I don’t know why but I just I enjoy sports better after doing DPYPS because I wasn’t really into sports that much before. (Stirling Primary pupil) I like sports better now and instead of what I usually do after school, like just sitting on the sofa watching TV, sometimes I like to play tennis and run about in the garden. (Stirling Primary pupil) Me, my brother and my sister used to set up obstacle courses and my brother’s a big athlete kind of person and he used to always get a really good time doing it. So we time each other and he kept saying that I was really rubbish at it. And, after all I learnt [in the psycho-behavioural sessions of DPYPS], I just thought it doesn’t matter what he thinks, and I ended beating my personal best and coming quite close to it and it really helped. (Stirling Primary pupil) Before, I used to come home from school and on the weekends I would just do my homework and watch TV or play with my computer game, but now, if I’ve got spare time, I go out and play with my friends. (Stirling Primary pupil) I used to let other people get me really down if they said that my time was pretty bad but I don’t really care what they think now, just as long as I try my hardest. (Stirling Primary pupil) There was good evidence for pupils transferring the skills gained from the programme to other challenges, even though staff had expressed some concerns about their own ability to facilitate this transfer.

I found the goal setting useful because in climbing we had to abseil and we did abseil off the top of the church where the church bells were and I was scared and I broke the abseil into stages so I could get used to it before. (North Ayrshire Secondary pupil) I used imagery in rock climbing because it helped me to plan my route in advance so I knew exactly what I had to do before I started. (North Ayrshire Secondary pupil) We just kind of sat there and kind of closed our eyes and thought about us actually doing the assault course and the route we would take and it actually helped us and we got quite a good score. We decided to give it a go just before we did the assault course, we just sat there and we just did it ourselves because they [the teachers] didn’t really know about it because they were just parents taking it [the netball session]. It was just a couple of us from our class [who had been doing the psychobehavioural sessions]. (Stirling Primary pupil) I go horse-riding and when I go to show-jumping competitions, before I go into the arena, I now think about the strides going into the jumps and things and the strides between all the jumps and then I know when to go over them and things. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) The mental stuff we did, I liked. I play chess with my Mum most nights and it makes me a bit better at chess because you’ve learnt to think things through more. Before I’d just make any old move. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) Well, when I was at a dancing competition in Blackpool, what I had to do was like a solo dance, and I pictured what I was doing, my solo on the floor first before I went on stage. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) I think that [the psycho-behavioural part] was one of the best parts because in lots of sports I do I imagine what I’m going to do before I do it and it helps me. I know I can get better at sport now. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) When I'm on my way to swimming, when I'm in the car I imagine what I'm going to do. (Stirling Primary pupil) Finally, the programme had positively influenced tolerance in pupils, making them more considerate of challenge and its effects on themselves and others. As such, the programme had achieved its broader aims, influencing moral cognitions as well as

performance specific ones:

When I’m doing sport, I try and beat my personal best and it doesn’t matter what other people get, just try and beat your own personal best.

You shouldn’t get upset because everybody’s got a strength and everybody’s got a weakness. (Stirling Primary pupil) Everyone has different stages and you know you’ve worked really hard.

There still might be someone who beats you but you should be proud of how hard you’ve tried and how well you did. You shouldn’t laugh at people if they can’t do something that you can do because everybody has different levels. (Stirling Primary pupil) I'm a lot more confident because we did a sheet looking at things that you're good at and things you're not good at. And there are lots of different things that other people couldn't do that you could. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) I think it [DPYPS] will help a lot more schools because it helped us so it could help a lot more schools. It would help a lot of the other young ones coming up to 7 [Primary 7] to be more confident because I think that they would really enjoy it and then when they got older they would just do more and more and more of it as they got older, like into secondary [school] and that. And they could teach others as well as they got older.

We were nervous and everything before the programme started but it encouraged a lot of us to start other things and I think it’ll be quite nice to start clubs for all the wee ones to join in with the big children. (Stirling Primary pupil) I think it’s changed how I look at other people because you know that you were once not very good at sport, so you’ve got to help them get better at it, you’re not putting them down by saying that was rubbish or something like that. (Stirling Primary pupil) Comparisons with ‘Conventional’ PE In considering pupil comments, it must be remembered that ‘anything new seems better’! This caveat notwithstanding, however, pupils’ perceptions are important, since they represent the main consumers of any programme. If pupils did not feel positive about the new programme, or even if comments were marginal, then wider implementation may not be supportable, even if it had generated positive results in other dimensions.

Certainly, this did not appear to be the case. Pupils were positive about the

programme, seeing it as a significant improvement over their previous diet:

In the old PE lessons it was like one sport for a number of weeks and in the DPYPS it was different sports which taught you more and it wasn’t boring as PE sometimes can be. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) I think it [DPYPS] was better [than our old PE] because we did more balancing and games and you had to work with your partners more.

(Stirling Primary pupil) I think the DPYPS class was better because it helped you get more skills and how to play stuff. (Stirling Primary pupil) We enjoyed it [DPYPS]. And if we enjoyed it, other kids would enjoy it as well. (North Ayrshire Primary pupil) Pupils reported the structured approach of DPYPS as a positive feature, feeling that

it had offered them new but achievable challenges:

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