Engaging children through sport: Examining the disconnect between program vision and implementation

Brianna Newland, Marlene A. Dixon, B. Christine Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to provide recommendations to an organization trying to effectively implement nontraditional sport programming to reach a broader range of children and engage them in physical activity. Methods: This consultation-based qualitative study used data collected from 7 after-school sport program sites. Data were collected through participant observation and semistructured interviews with program instructors. The data were analyzed in 2 steps. First, descriptive coding was used to group observations and responses from each question, then pattern coding was used to find emerging themes. Researchers then compared both within and across program sites. Results: Researchers found that enjoyment, ability, and language influenced interactions; age-appropriateness, engagement, and curriculum design impacted curriculum; and instructor roles and ongoing mentoring impacted effectiveness of training/support. A fundamental disconnect was evident between the program vision and the instructors' interpretation (and therefore, implementation) of the vision. Conclusions: Recommendations offered for practice include continued focus on curriculum design that can engage children at each level of development (grades K-5) and increased training and field support for instructors to ensure intended implementation of the programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-812
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Health interventions
  • Physical activity
  • School-based programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Engaging children through sport: Examining the disconnect between program vision and implementation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this