This chapter begins with a definition of sports development, then cites the basic principles and values expounded by various organizations and individuals. It analyses the meaning of the concept and examines some of the practical delivery situations in which sports development is implemented.
Thereafter, the consideration of sports development identifies all its constituent parts and also looks at the role of the sports development officer. It examines the various skills and job role required of such workers.
The chapter closes by remarking that sports development, as it is seen now, is a relatively new concept and still has little history or background research to base its performance on.
Sometimes colleagues in the leisure department will not understand the true role of the sports development officer, but for the purposes of this text the following definition of sports development is seen as appropriate:
Sports development is a process whereby effective opportunities, process, systems and structures are set up to enable and encourage people in all or particular groups and areas to take part in sport and recreation or to improve their performance to whatever level they desire.
Dr Ian Thomson, University of Stirling, FIPRE/ILAM
Scotland seminar, Glenrothes, October 1992
To define sports development is inevitably difficult, and it means different things to different people. Basically, sports development is about providing and improving opportunities for people to participate in sport at whatever level to the best of their ability and in fulfilment of their interest.
The basic principle is that sports development should give opportunities for people to participate in sport as well as supporting the development of new facilities and activity sessions.
The sports development process requires some underpinning values. These have been agreed by the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management (ILAM) Specialist Panel to include, for example, the following.