What makes teenagers continue?: A salutogenic approach to understanding youth participation in Swedish club sports.
2014 (English)In: Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, ISSN 1740-8989, E-ISSN 1742-5786, Vol. 19, no 3, 239-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Background: International studies have revealed that young people engage in sports because of friends, the enjoyment of participation, and the ability to feel healthy. Furthermore, it is often argued that sports should be characterized as joyful and provide both recreational and elite investment. In Sweden, many children participate in club sports during their childhood or youth, but many drop out in their late teens. Furthermore, few children take up a sport after 12 years of age. Rather than concentrating on those who drop out of club sports, the focus of this article is on those who continue during their teenage years despite being non-elite participants. Purpose: By illuminating the experiences of non-elite participants, the overall aim is to study what makes teenagers continue to participate in club sports with a specific focus on what teenagers find meaningful and important when they participate in club sports. This is done with the help of Antonovsky's salutogenic theory and his sense of coherence (SOC) model. The discussion will focus on how club sports can be organized to encourage more teenagers to participate longer. Research design and data collection: In this study, a total of 18 semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted. The teenagers were between 15 and 19 years old, and they participated in eight different club sports (athletics, basketball, equestrian sports, floorball, football, handball, swimming, and ultimate frisbee). The selection of sports and clubs was done using the Swedish Sports Confederation's (RF) database. A targeted sample selection was carried out by contacting club trainers, who provided the names of teenagers suitable with respect to the research aim and questions. The interviews were systematically coded and analysed using the SOC components as analytical tools. Key findings: When analysing the results, three themes emerged. The teenagers found sports fun in terms of meaningfulness because they experienced learning and development; they found competition challenging; and they enjoyed the involvement and engagement with others. Furthermore, the young people who remained in club sports were participating in more than one competitive elite sport even if they themselves did not have elite ambitions. Conclusions: If the goal of society in general and sports clubs in particular is to get as many people as possible to be physically active and develop a lifelong interest in sports, it is conceivable that club sports should offer activities that attract people with different levels of ambition and abilities. If the findings correspond with young people's willingness to learn and develop together with others, it is conceivable that club sports as well as physical education should be organized to give all young people opportunities to learn physical activities with numerous opportunities for motor and social learning in focus.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 19, no 3, 239-252 p.
sports participation, teenagers, research, Clinical health psychology, Meaninglessness (Philosophy), Sense of coherence, Sweden, club sports, meaningfulness, participation, salutogenic, teenagers
Research subject Social Sciences/Humanities
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-3438DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2012.754003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-3438DiVA: diva2:747812