Research into Action: Providing a Balance in Sports Programming

Article excerpt

Research Into Action is published monthly by the Society of Park and Recreation Educators, National Recreation and Park Association. As an accompaniment to "Research Update," its goal is to turn research findings into field action by highlighting management strategies. Founding editors are Dr. Ruth Russell and Dr. Daniel D. McLean, Department of Recreation and Park Administration, Indiana University.


The aggressive nature of youth sports is becoming a potential detriment to the positive social development of youth in America. The carryover of aggressive behavior attributed to participation in youth sports programs is causing some to question the value of youth sports. This month's Research Update suggested that cooperative games were a viable alternative to the highly competitive youth sports programs that have become predominant in so many communities. This report does not propose the dissolution of youth sports programs, nor does it suggest how the programs can be better organized - rather, it suggests alternatives to a steady diet of competitive youth sports programming.

Impact of the Research

Relatively little new was presented in the Research Update. Its value is in reminding park and recreation professionals of the need to provide a balanced opportunity for growth and development of young people and that a part of that responsibility lies with professionals and their agencies. Cooperative games focus on process versus outcome and strive for a common interest among the participants. Research on the use of cooperative games has shown increased personal selfesteem, decreased aggressive behaviors, increased cooperation, and enhanced positive socialization. …


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