Adult and child perceptions of children s motivations to participate in youth sports
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“Adult and Child Perceptions of Children’s Motivations to Participate in Youth Sports” Daniel Frankl, Ph.D. Department of Kinesiology and Nutritional science California State University, Los Angeles INTRODUCTION Describing the Problem

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Adult and child perceptions of children s motivations to participate in youth sports l.jpg

“Adult and Child Perceptionsof Children’s Motivations to Participate in Youth Sports”

Daniel Frankl, Ph.D.

Department of Kinesiology and Nutritional science

California State University, Los Angeles


Introduction l.jpg
INTRODUCTION

  • Describing the Problem

  • What has already been done and what have we learned from it?

  • Why was there a need for another study on attitudes about youth sports programs?


The problem l.jpg
The Problem

  • Adult supervised non-school youth sports programs are rapidly growing and cater to some 25 million kids.

  • Almost 50% of the children ages 5-16 participate in youth sports.

  • 90% of parents encourage their children to engage in sports.


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The Problem (continued)

  • 60% of parents are involved in youth sports programs.

  • 85% of parents have concerns about youth sports programs

  • Physical education professionals have voiced serious concerns about non-school adult supervised youth sport leagues .


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HYPOTHESES

  • Over all children, regardless of income or ethnicity, will rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • Overall parents, regardless of income or ethnicity, will closely predict their child’s motivations.

  • Children will differ in their motivations to participate in youth sports based on age, gender, length of involvement, and type of activity.


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What has already been done and what have we learned from it?

A common sense approach to studying the value of youth sports has been to examine children’s motivations to join, participate enthusiastically, and/or drop out.

A number of studies probed children’s motivation to participate in youth sports programs:

Ewing & Seefeldt (1990)

Gill, Gross, & Huddlestone (1981)

Gould, Feltz, Weiss, & Petlichkoff (1982)

Griffin (1978)

McElroy & Kirkendal (1980)

Sapp & Haubenstricker (1978)

Swell (1992)

Wankel & Kreisel (1985)


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McElroy and Kirkendal (1980)

2,000+ children, average age 11.9 selected one of the following as their most important reason for playing a sport:

  • to defeat your opponent or the other team (winning orientation)

  • to play as well as you can (personal performance)

  • to play fairly, by the rules at all times (fair play)

  • everyone on the team should get to play (total participation)


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McElroy and Kirkendal (1980)

Most Important Reason for Playing Sports

MalesFemales

Winning13.5%04.6%

Personal Perform.51.0%48.3%

Fair Play24.4%37.6%

Total Participation11.0% 09.4%


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American Youth and Sport Participation StudyEwing & Seefeldt (1990)

The Athletic Footwear Association commissioned Drs. Martha Ewing and Vern Seefeldt of the Youth Sport Institute at Michigan State University to investigate children’s reasons for participation and/or dropping out from nonschool youth programs.

Boys’ and girls’ (N=10,000) were asked:

  • Why they participate?

  • Why they quit?

  • How they feel about winning?


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American Youth and Sport Participation StudyEwing & Seefeldt (1990)

Highlights of the Study:

  • Sport participation, and the desire to participate in sports, decline sharply and steadily between ages 10 and 18.

  • “Fun” is a pivotal reason for being in a sport, and lack of fun is a leading reason for dropping out.

  • Young participants do not consider winning as a major benefit of sport competition.

  • Motivations to participate differ greatly within and in between athletes.


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REASON FOR PLAYINGREASON FOR DROPPING OUT

01TO HAVE FUN01I LOST INTEREST

02TO IMPROVE MY SKILLS02I WAS NOT HAVING FUN

03TO STAY IN SHAPE03IT TOOK TOO MUCH TIME

04TO DO SOMETHING04COACH WAS A POOR

I’M GOOD ATTEACHER

05FOR THE EXCITEMENT OF05TOO MUCH PRESSURE (WORRY)

COMPETITION

06TO GET EXERCISE06WANTED NON-SPORT ACTIVITY

07TO PLAY AS PART OF A07I WAS TIRED OF IT

TEAM

08FOR THE CHALLENGE OF08NEEDED MORE STUDY TIME

COMPETITION

09TO LEARN NEW SKILLS09COACH PLAYED FAVORITES

10TO WIN10SPORT WAS BORING

11OVER-EMPHASIS ON WINNING

Reproduced from Ewing, M. E., & Seefeldt, V. (1990). American youth sports participation: A study of 10,000 students and their feelings about sport. North Palm Beach, FL: Athletic Footwear Association.

CHILDREN’S RANK ORDER OF THE MOST IMPORTANT REASONS FOR PLAYING THEIR BEST SCHOOL SPORT OR DROPPING OUT FROM YOUTH SPORTS


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BOYSGIRLS

01 TO HAVE FUN01 TO HAVE FUN

02 TO IMPROVE SKILLS02 TO STAY IN SHAPE

03FOR THE EXCITEMENT03TO GET EXERCISE

OF COMPETITION

04TO DO SOMETHING04TO IMPROVE SKILLS

I’M GOOD AT

05TO STAY IN SHAPE05TO DO SOMETHING I'M

GOOD AT

06FOR THE CHALLENGE06TO BE PART OF A TEAM

OF COMPETITION

07TO BE PART OF A TEAM07FOR THE EXCITEMENT OF

COMPETITION

08TO WIN08TO LEARN NEW SKILLS

09TO GO TO A HIGHER09FOR THE TEAM SPIRIT

LEVEL OF COMPETITION

10TO GET EXERCISE10FOR THE CHALLENGE OF

COMPETITION

11 TO LEARN NEW SKILLS11TO GO TO A HIGHER LEVEL

OF COMPETITION

12FOR THE TEAM SPIRIT12TO WIN

Reproduced from Ewing, M. E., & Seefeldt, V. (1990)

THE 12 MOST IMPORTANT REASONS I PLAY MY BEST SCHOOL SPORT


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“I would play again if…”

BOYSGIRLS

01 PRACTICES WERE01PRACTICES WERE

MORE FUNMORE FUN

02 I COULD PLAY MORE02 NO CONFLICT WITH STUDIES

03COACHES UNDERSTOOD03 COACHES UNDERSTOOD

PLAYERS BETTER PLAYERS BETTER

04NO CONFLICT WITH 04NO CONFLICT WITH SOCIAL

STUDIES LIFE

05COACHES WERE BETTER05I COULD PLAY MORETEACHERS

06NO CONFLICT WITH06COACHES WERE BETTER

SOCIAL LIFETEACHERS

Reproduced from Ewing, M. E., & Seefeldt, V. (1990)

THE 6 MOST IMPORTANT CHANGES I WOULD MAKE TO GET INVOLVED AGAIN IN A SPORT I DROPPED


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METHOD

Mothers (N=108), fathers (N=105), boys (N=170), and girls (N=171) from the Los Angeles area were surveyed during the 1996-97 youth leagues season (Total = 554 or 97.88%).

Subjects (N=566)

Ethnic Distribution

African American (N=16; 2.87%)

Asian (N=105; 18.85%)

Latino/Latina (N=313; 56.19%)

Caucasian (N=90; 16.16%)

Pacific Islander (N=5; 0.90%)

Native American (N=7; 1.25%)

Filipino (N=21; 3.77%)

TOTAL = 557 (99.99% / 98.4%)


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Youth Sports (N=509; 89.93%)

Fem. Male %

Baseball/Softball 32 53 16.7

Basketball 48 48 18.8

Football 07 31 07.5

Soccer 25 73 19.2

Volleyball 31 07 07.5

Drill team 39 00 07.6

Swimming 30 11 08.0

Track 07 07 02.7

Tennis 33 08 08.0

Other 07 12 03.7


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Parent Income (N=213; 84.04%)

N%

Under $10,000 1106.14

$10,000-$14,999 0502.79

$15,000-$19,999 0603.35

$20,000-$24,999 0703.91

$25,000-$29,999 1508.38

$30,000-$34,999 1307.26

$35,000-$39,999 2212.29

$40,000-$44,999 1810.06

$45,000-$49,999 2413.41

Over $50,000 5832.40

Total 179 99.99%

15


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Instrument

Child and parent forms each including 18 statements about “participation in one’s best sport outside school” were used (adapted from the AFA 1990, landmark study). Participants checked each item on a 1-7 (not at all important /.../ of utmost importance) Likert scale.

Participants were also asked to select the “one MOST important reason…” from the 18 original statements (see handout).

16


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Procedures

  • A uniform format explaining what needs to be done was used

  • Data was collected from children and their parents whenever possible

  • Yellow forms were handed out to children 5-18 (investigator read statements to non-readers; a Spanish translation was available when needed). Children were instructed to establish a “quick gut feeling about each item” and then proceed and carefully mark their choice.

17


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Procedures

  • Parents completed a “Blue” form and were instructed to, without consulting with their child, indicate what “...to their best knowledge their child’s choice would have been for all items.”

  • Participants were instructed to simply “copy the ONE statement they felt was MOST important, or add a new reason.

  • Data was collected “court-side” on practice days and forms were coded for parent/child match pairing (no names).


Results l.jpg
RESULTS

DAD BOY MOM GIRL

01Q14 (6.30) Q14 (6.14) Q14 (6.22) Q14 (6.19)

02 Q07 (5.84) Q01 (5.81) Q07 (5.99) Q04 (6.00)

03Q01 (5.65) Q07 (5.68) Q05 (5.87) Q01 (5.88)

04 Q05 (5.65) Q09 (5.66) Q11 (5.86) Q07 (5.87)

05 Q18 (5.52) Q06 (5.64) Q08 (5.62) Q18 (5.83)

Q14 -- To have fun

Q7 -- To learn new skills

Q1 -- To improve her/his skills

Q4 -- To stay in shape

Q5 -- To play as part of a team

Q11 -- To get exercise

Q6 -- For the excitement of competition

Q8 -- To meet new friends

Q9 -- To do something he/she is good at

Q18 -- For the team spirit


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RESULTS

DAD BOY MOM GIRL

10 Q03 (5.52)

11

12

13 Q02 (4.88) Q03 (4.78)

14 Q16 (4.70)Q16 (4.71)

15 Q16 (4.60) Q10 (4.76) Q13 (4.56) Q12 (4.56)

16 Q03 (4.38)Q16 (4.56) Q10 (3.91) Q02 (4.40)

17 Q10 (3.92) Q12 (4.49) Q03 (3.87) Q10 (4.27)

18Q17 (3.83) Q17 (4.44) Q17 (3.58) Q17 (3.64)

Q2 -- To be with her/his friends

Q3 -- To win

Q10 -- For trophies and recognition

Q12 -- To feel important

Q13 -- For the challenge of competition

Q16 -- He/she likes the coaches

Q17 --To be popular by being a good athlete


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Discussion

  • “To have fun” was the clear first choice for Moms, Dads, Girls and Boys.

  • “To learn new skills” was the second choice for Dads & Moms, and 3rd & 4th for Boys and Girls respectively. The findings by earlier studies (e.g., Ewing & Seefeldt, 1990; McElroy & Kirkendal, 1980) were replicated in this study.

  • “Winning came in 10th place for Boys, 13th for Girls, 16th for Dads and 17th for Moms. This finding is very consistent with the existing literature.


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Discussion

  • “To stay in shape” and “To get exercise” were top choices for Girls and Moms. When asked to indicate what they liked least about their best sport, many Girls indicated their dislike of exercising, sweating, and getting tired. It appears that Girls in this study felt pressured to choose “To stay in shape” but did not like to engage in activities that lead to improved physical fitness. Societal pressures on girls to look a certain way are apparent.


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  • Over all children, regardless of income or ethnicity, will rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).


Conclusions l.jpg
Conclusions rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • If it ain’t fun children won’t play.

  • For kids to have fun they must improve their skills.

  • Parents seem to want what we the “experts” consider appropriate. So let’s work together.

  • “Fun,” “improving skills,” “playing as a team,” getting in shape…,” are all universally endorsed by all levels of analysis. So let’s concentrate on the content of the programs and not the ethnic, social, and or economic factors.

  • Coaches seem to try too hard. Let’s get involved and show them the way!


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Questions rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

&

Comments


List of reasons for participation l.jpg
List of Reasons for Participation rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • To improve her/his skills

  • To be with her/his friends

  • To win

  • To stay in shape

  • To play as part of a team

  • For the excitement of competition

  • To learn new skills

  • To meet new friends

  • To do something he/she is good at


List of reasons for participation28 l.jpg
List of Reasons for Participation rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • For trophies and recognition

  • To get exercise

  • To feel important

  • For the challenge of competition

  • To have fun

  • To get to a higher level of competition

  • He/she likes the coaches

  • To be popular by being a good athlete

  • For the team spirit


Overall reason for participation in youth sports l.jpg
Overall Reason for Participation in Youth Sports rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • Of all the reasons listed above, what is the MOST important reason for your child playing in her/his best sport outside of school? Please write the reason on the lines below:

    ____________________________

    ____________________________


Strongest reason for not participating in youth sports l.jpg
Strongest Reason for not Participating in Youth Sports rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • What do you like least about playing in your best sport outside of school? Please write the reason on the lines below:

    ____________________________

    ____________________________


References l.jpg
References rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • Ewing, M. E. & Seefeldt, V. (1990). American youth and sports participation: A study of 10,000 students and their feelings about sport. North Palm Beach, FL: Athletic Footwear Association. (Sponsored by: Athletic Footwear Association __ AFA, 200 Castlewood Drive, North Palm Beach, Florida 33408; Gregg Hartley, Executive Director, phone # 407 840_1161).

  • Gill, D., Gross, J. B., & Huddlestone, S. (1981). Participation motivation in youth sport. International Journal in Sport Psychology, 14, 1-14.


References32 l.jpg
References rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • Gould, D., Feltz, D. L., Weiss, M., & Petlichkoff, L. M. (1982). Participating motives in competitive youth swimmers. In T. Orlick, J. T. Partington, & J. H. Salmela (Eds.) Mental training for coaches and athletes (pp. 57-58). Ottawa: Coaching Association of Canada.

  • Griffin (1978). Why children participate in youth sports. Paper presented at American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (AAHPER) Convention, Kansas City, Missouri.


References33 l.jpg
References rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • Orlick, T. (1974). The athletic dropout–A high price of inefficiency. CAHPER Journal, Nov.-Dec., 21-27.

  • Pooley, J. (1981). Dropouts from sports: A case study of boys’ age-group soccer. Paper presented at American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) Convention, Boston, Massachusetts.


References34 l.jpg
References rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • Sapp, M., & Haubenstricker, J. (1978). Motivation for joining and reasons for not continuing in youth sports programs in Michigan. Paper presented at American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (AAHPER) Convention, Kansas City, Missouri.

  • Teenagers’ motivations for sports participation help predict lifelong habits. (1990). North Palm Beach, FL: Athletic Footware Association.


References35 l.jpg
References rank self-regulated items (e.g., “fun,” “learning new skills,” “improving,” and “team work”) ahead of other- controlled items (e.g., “winning,” “trophies,” “be popular,” and “get to a higher level of competition”).

  • Wankel, L. M., & Kreisel, P. (1985). Factors underlying enjoyment of youth sports: Sport and age group comparisons. Journal of Sport Psychology, 7, 51-64.


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