ERIC Number: EJ791734
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 0
Improving Health through Youth Sports: Is Participation Enough?
Bergeron, Michael F.
New Directions for Youth Development, n115 p27-41 Fall 2007
The health benefits of engaging in regular physical activity are widely known: enhanced cardiorespiratory fitness, increased muscular strength and endurance, and favorable cholesterol and other profiles. Nevertheless, particularly in youth sports programs run by volunteer, and perhaps inadequately trained, coaches, many youth may not realize the health benefits of sports participation due to a number of factors, among them, inappropriate coach-child ratios, limited space, or mismatched expectations between coaches and those of children and their parents. There are specific strategies that can be implemented to ensure that youth receive the maximize benefits from participation in sports. These strategies are presented in the following areas: frequency, intensity, and duration; cross-training or complementary exercise; access points; utilization of space and time; nutrition; and rest. For instance, with regard to the frequency of physical activity, some sports, including soccer, basketball, and singles tennis, require extensive physical effort over an extended period of time, while others, such as baseball and football, have a lot of downtime. Thus, in order for children and youth to meet the recommendation of participating in moderate or vigorous physical activity at least four times per week, sports programs need to have opportunities for all athletes to practice hard. Finally, the author discusses the point at which participation in sports might be too much, leading to significant injuries, frustration, and resentment. (Contains 29 notes.)
Descriptors: Athletics, Health Promotion, Physical Activity Level, Athletic Coaches, Participation, Muscular Strength, Racquet Sports, Physical Activities, Physical Fitness, Team Sports, Drills (Practice), Life Style, Nutrition, Injuries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A