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Posted in: General

Barriers to sport participation.

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  • Hi everyone, 

    After finally settling on my dissertation idea (parental perceptions of barriers to participation in figure skating) I was wondering if any coaches invloved here, had any thoughts on this topic? 

    Do you know of barriers that parents face in your sport?

    Has there been any good research surrounding this in regards to your sport - skating there is none (that I can find!)

    Have you done anything to help overcome these?

    Thanks :)

  • wmpattison


    I'm in archery, and the parental barrier we face (apart from cost) is one of time.

    Archery is the use, for sporting purposes, of what used to be classed as a weapon. The potential for injury is therefore significant. (I must add at this point that, because of the rules we operate under, and the strict enforment of them, archery has the LOWEST rate of injury to participants of any sport in the UK).

    Our risk assessment includes "juniors must, at all times, be accompanied by their parent/guardian". This puts off families who see sport as a low-cost creche (which is probably a good thing).

    However, it also causes difficulties for parents who have to mesh the needs of several offspring, and cannot be in two places at once.

    I hope this helps,


  • shootcoach


    This is something we touched on during a sportscotland workshop "Understanding Developing Minds" and we were told that teachers and school freinds may also influence both the parent and the children. Teachers can certainly have an influence with both in my sport of clay target shooting by deciding without any justification that the sport is both dangerous and politically not correct.

  • EllyNetball

    Here are a few of the challenges I've experienced with parents:

    • Travel time / distance / cost are all "skills" that parents can offer their budding athletes; encouraging / facilitating lift-sharing works.
    • Some parents limit the number of sessions / matches in order to keep a perceived balance between family life & sports.
    • Ditto with balancing sport & academic work: parental pressure & athlete self-applied pressure - especially around exam times (including mocks) means that sessions may be skipped.  I build-in these phases into my plans and avoid loading the technical input at these times ... it's not so critical that some sessions are skipped.
    • Some parents also want to put their own sporting activities over their child's (children's) (but often don't openly admit it ... blaming family occasions, etc ... it's often the child that unwittingly reveals the truth!
    • Some are reluctant to deal with school coaches or other coaches who pull the child in different directions ... I have on occasion been the intermediary looking for a compromise.

    I hold a general meeting for parents & athletes at the start of the season - parents agree to, and sign, a code of conduct and athletes agree to, and sign, an athlete agreement. Parents are also provided with an information booklet which includes details on how they can best support their child.

    If parents are aware of the commitment and expectations at the start, then it helps.

    We have individual interventions, as an when necessary, with athletes, parents, schools, club coaches, etc ... always looking for a compromise.

    Hope this has been of some use.  Good luck with your dissertation.

  • TonyGray

    Hi Mark, probably worth mentioning the the requirement for u18s to be accompanied by a parent or guardian is a self imposed by various clubs and organisations and it does not necessarily make a properly regulated archery activity safer.

  • wmpattison

    Yes, you are correct - I should have said it's the club's risk assessment. Also the one for the County Archery Association, and all the other clubs in the county (as far as i am aware). And, given the reaction to a similar discussion at the recent National Development Conference, the policy of the overwhelming proportion of English clubs.

    As to safety, you're only correct is saying it doesn't affect it, if you can recruit adults to manage the juniors behind the line, effectively 'in loco parentis'. Otherwise it represents a significant hazard

  • LizBurkinshaw

    check out Women in Sport Sway to Play research - it references influencers and give a case study of mum influencer (not skating soz) 

  • Thank you so much for your responses - it seems that there are generic barriers  that cross sports - which is a shame when children are missing out, particularly with the spotlight on obesity and sedentary lifestyles!

    I will check out the "what sways women to play" article as it may help me with constructing my questionnaire!

  • WarwickerS

    Think most are common across many sports. Families can be much more complex these days with divorce and separation issues. Also pressures of other family members doing different sports. In my view sports themselves need to recognise that long series of events all over the country can be a serious cost issue both in money and time conmitments.

  • Ionamarketing

    Apologies that this feed is a little old now, but I felt it was useful to add the ArcheryGB rules regarding juniors below. As Mark states, many local clubs also impose other restrictions/barriers like 'an adult guardian or parent must be present' rather than sticking rigidly to the AGB rule about just a second adult. There seems to be a few reasons for this. One is to help ensure control and good conduct of the junior when on the range with a potentially lethal weapon. Another is risk mitigation of the junior and other adult members/coaches from 'harm' or 'potentially false accusations' as archery fields can be remote and lonely places. A third reason is to sometimes encourage family participation as the sport has many 'families' participating after one or more have been hooked on it. This helps to encourage ongoing membership in juniors (who can often be distracted by other 'things') as they get older. The need for an adult member to be present too is down to the need for a responsible person to be in control of the safety of the shooting line/range in accordance with AGB Rules of Shooting so that risks are mitigated/addressed and AGB insurance cover is not invalidated.

    Rule 103. Numbers Present (a) When any shooting is in progress there must be a minimum of two people present each being a minimum of 18 years of age, one of whom may be a non-archer to act as a lookout. The archer is responsible to inform the lookout of all safety aspects applicable. Where two adult archers are present and shooting together they will alternate on the shooting line so that the nonshooting archer can act as the lookout. (b) Juniors. When junior archers (ie archers under 18) are shooting individually or in groups they must be supervised by an adult member (excluding honorary members) of Archery GB and a second adult must be present. (c) On private land which is fenced all round, where the public has no legal right of access and with a warning notice displayed at all entrances and points of access, the following concessions may apply notwithstanding the provisions of 103(a) and (b) above: (i) Solo shooting by senior archers (ie archers 18 and over) is permitted. Any member shooting on their own is doing so at their own risk in respect of personal injuries. (ii) Provided that they are an adult member (excluding honorary members) of Archery GB, one parent/guardian alone may supervise his/her own child(ren)

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