What’s in it for me?
Why you should encourage your children, team, or sport organization to participate in research.
Currently, 75% of Canadian youth participate in organized sport (ParticipACTION, 2018). Thanks to the efforts of researchers, we have access to an abundance of information about how children think, feel, and behave in sport, as well as the conditions that lead to positive sport experiences. However, in research there are always more questions than answers. Researchers look to their local sport communities for participants to help answer these new questions. In this post, Taylor’s goal is to explain the importance of youth sport research and why you should get involved!
There are many people involved in research. Students, university professors, etc. are all attempting to answer specific research questions. The answers to these questions help us to build theories to understand important outcomes in youth sport (e.g., team performance, satisfaction, etc.) that can be used by practitioners. Registered sport psychologists, for example, use theory and research findings to create tools, strategies, and interventions for those in the sport community. These tools and strategies are then used by youth sport organizations to help fulfill their missions and meet their institutional goals (e.g., enhance programming). Initiatives run by sport organizations then educate coaches to give them important information they need to better understand their athletes (for local example see McLaren, Eys, & Murray, 2015).
All of this knowledge sharing may seem a little overwhelming but, in the end, it is all to benefit youth athletes. With all of the tools and information becoming more readily available to the sport community, we can work together to create the most positive experiences possible for all athletes. However, none of this would be possible without the help of youth sport teams because without participants there would be no research!
Researchers are always in need of sport teams willing to help with their studies. Should your team or organization be contacted by a researcher, we hope you will dare to ask questions, learn more about the study, and maybe even agree to get involved.
Let’s work together to make youth sport enjoyable for all!
McLaren, C. D., Eys, M. A., & Murray, R. A. (2015). A coach-initiated motivational climate intervention and athletes’ perceptions of group cohesion in youth sport. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 4(2), 113.
ParticipACTION. (2018). The brain + body equation: Canadian kids need active bodies to build their best brains. The 2018 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Toronto: ParticipACTION.