Sport participation during childhood and adolescence
Introduction The last two decades have been characterised by rapid technological advances that have dramatically altered the landscape of young people’s leisure time activities. Children and adolescents in contemporary society have unprecedented access to televisions, computers, games consoles, mobile phones and a world of opportunities through the Internet (Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2003). Given the availability of so many activities, along with declining rates of physical activity participation, researchers and practitioners have become increasingly concerned with keeping young people physically active and socially engaged. One way to achieve this is through participation in sport. In this chapter, we explore the current trends in youth sport participation, specifically identifying the types of sporting opportunities that are available and the rates of young people engaging in sport across a number of countries. We examine motives for participating in sport and suggest means to enhance sporting experiences. Our ultimate aim is to provide a developmental overview of youth sport participation from a broadly international perspective.