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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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Consequently, the changes seen, whether statistically significant or as a trend, were a positive bonus, and indicative of the claims underpinning the approach. However, the qualitative data, offered a clear and unequivocal support for the programme and its impact. Quotes from children involved in the programme make fascinating reading. However, data from the consumers’ perspective, what the children think, would seem to be the most important to consider. The children certainly seemed to enjoy the programme; but then variety always seems to be attractive to children.

Notably, however, their support went far beyond the explicit ‘we are doing something different’, and the data showed that they had internalised and used the lessons they had learnt from DPYPS elsewhere in their sport and everyday lives.

From our perspective, these data were important as they provided clear support that the philosophy – content – method reasoning chain we had used was effective. It is worth noting that this decision making chain represents a major concern for researchers in PE curricular design (Thorburn & Collins 2003) the effectiveness of this approach was therefore all the more satisfying.

Potential Impacts of the Total Programme

The holistic impact of DPYPS has significant potential. The data strongly support the broad ranging contributions which have accrued within the limited scope, timeframe and deployment of the approach. As the benchmark against which this potential impact may be measured, we turned to sportscotland’s key report “Sport 21 2003The National Strategy for Sport: Shaping Scotland’s Future” (Scottish Sports Council, 1998). In this section, we briefly review the key challenge and targets set by this report, against the contribution which DPYPS could make. In making this comparison, we draw on both the data presented within the report and the theoretical underpinnings used to develop the initiative.

The key challenge outlined in Sport 21 fits well with the visions set for DPYPS.

The key challenge in this revised strategy proposes that, by 2020, 60% of adult Scots should be taking part in sport at least once a week. To make that change is an aspiration for the Scottish nation to broaden its involvement in sport. To achieve it, we will have to work harder to help people to be active when they’re young. If more of our children are more active, we will create a virtuous cycle of behaviour that will reap rewards in the future. (p 42) This fit is emphasised by explicit consideration of the targets set within the report, especially when the detail on operationalisation and realisation of the targets is considered. Based on the data presented in this report, we would claim a significant

capability to contribute towards the following targets:

Target 1: 80% of primary schoolchildren to be physically active Target 2: To make progress towards all schoolchildren taking part in at least two hours of high quality physical education classes a week Target 3: 85% of those aged 13-17 to be taking part in sport, in addition to the school curriculum, more than once a week DPYPS offers components of a curriculum and methodology specifically targeted at the achievement of these physical activity goals. Both quantitative and qualitative data suggest a long term impact which would make genuine progress towards the ambitious but crucial targets set by Sport 21. The theoretical underpinnings used in the design of the programme benefit from previous and ongoing research which further support these claims.

In similar fashion, the methods used in DPYPS enable a specific contribution to

these targets:

Target 7: To have had over 250 Scots being medalists on the world stage Target 9: To have over one million of the Scottish population playing sport in membership of clubs The psycho-behavioural strategies employed in DPYPS are supported by a substantial research base as causative factors in high level performance. As such, their introduction to younger athletes and structured incorporation within the working style of youth sport coaches can only benefit achievement. Once again, our ongoing research in other areas and with other partners (e.g., UKSI) supports this claim.

The use of these strategies towards the promotion of a physically active lifestyle has also been proposed earlier in this report. Certainly the initiative has led to some promising changes in precursor or indicative variables associated with the uptake and adherence to physical activity, namely self motivation, self-determination and perceived motor competence. This claim certainly needs more detailed scrutiny, with full realisation requiring a deployment of the approach with exercise professionals in the same ways as this pilot attempted it with sports coaches.

Finally, whilst no specific contribution can be claimed, the philosophy and approach

used by DPYPS has direct relevance to these targets:

Target 4: 49% of those aged 14 plus in Social Inclusion Partnership areas to be taking part in sport at least once a week Target 5: 55% of those aged 17-24 to be taking part in sport more than twice a week Target 11: Every local authority’s community planning process to have contributed to the targets of Sport 21 2003-2007 Targets 4 and 5 will only be achieved by significant changes in behaviour, preceded by changes in attitude towards physical activity. The twin-track curriculum espoused by DPYPS is specifically targeted at such change, and whilst behaviour may not be affected, the capacity to choose to be physically active and the competence to execute this choice are shown to be facilitated, evidence of this change is particularly apparent in the qualitative data in Section 5.

Finally, the role of DPYPS as an overarching structure to achieving targets such as target 11 is hopefully well supported by both the comments and actions of Local Authorities in this report. Specifically, we would propose a clear role for DPYPS as the underpinning structure (or ‘glue’) that can cement and coherently structure the variety of initiatives that are currently in operation.

6.2 Recommendations The claims made in this section of the report are certainly far reaching, and at this early stage we are happy to acknowledge that data are indicative rather than conclusive. However, DPYPS offers a theoretically justified and pilot-proven way forward in an absolutely crucial area. The testing, peer review and theoretical justification presented in this report compare very favourably with those necessary for other well-funded and enthusiastically pursued initiatives. Further to this strong base, the approach has worked well and been favourably received in a variety of areas. Accordingly, we would offer the following two-tier recommendations.

6.2.1 Extension and Deployment of the DPYPS Approach

Through sportscotland and other partners, we should negotiate the integration of other initiatives in Scotland with the DPYPS approach. The resulting comprehensive package would include elements of TOPS, together with other educational initiatives, and a clear professional development programme for youth sport coaches, perhaps designed in association with national organisations (e.g., Sports Coach UK) or NGBs (e.g., Scottish Rugby Union). We would wish to tie this into the work and stated intentions of the PE Review Group, exploiting its stated aim of “two hours of quality PE” through a curriculum base around the Active Schools and DPYPS methodologies. This package could then be deployed in one or more areas as a further (ideally two year) pilot before (and subject to satisfactory support) extension across the country.

6.2.1 Refinement and Extension of the DPYPS Approach to Strengthen Impacts on Physical Activity As we stated at the start of this report, the emphasis of DPYPS was driven by its genesis as a TID initiative. This placement notwithstanding, the project has generated a demonstrable impact on physical activity and its associated pre-cursors.

Accordingly, and in partnership with Scottish agencies and health professionals, we would like to expand the exercise-specific aspects of the programme through a focused but shorter (approximately 18 month) pilot. Once again, subject to satisfactory pilot performance, these ideas could then be incorporated into a comprehensive physical activity promotion programme for further and more widespread use.

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