Reinventing youth sport: formative findings from a state-level action research project

Laurence Chalip, Raquel Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


American rates of participation in youth sport have been an increasing policy concern because they remain low, drop out accelerates as children age, and the most salient American sports are experiencing declines in participation. These problems have been attributed to youth sport programming that is unattractive to children and their families, often because it is inappropriately designed and delivered. In order to foster changes in youth sport, a state-level action research project was launched as a complement to national efforts to build an agenda for youth sport change. At its formative phase, the project began with a series of working sessions for 64 practitioners whose responsibilities include youth sport programming. The sessions combined nominal group and dialectical decision-making techniques to enable them to identify youth sport problems, explore their causes, and suggest possible directions for solving those problems. Their work rendered six thematic directions for improving youth sport: design and implement child-centred programming; build status for participatory youth sport programmes; creatively develop and manage resources; train coaches to be sport and life skill mentors; improve programming for traditionally underserved populations; and manage parents. Findings suggest significant new directions for youth sport research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-46
Number of pages17
JournalSport in Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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