Correlates of Engagement in School-Based Extracurricular Sports Activities among Registrants of Sports Leader Banks

By Aoyagi, Kenryu; Ishii, Kaori et al. | Journal of Physical Education and Sport, June 2013 | Go to article overview

Correlates of Engagement in School-Based Extracurricular Sports Activities among Registrants of Sports Leader Banks


Aoyagi, Kenryu, Ishii, Kaori, Shibata, Ai, Arai, Hirokazu, Hibi, Chisato, Oka, Koichiro, Journal of Physical Education and Sport


Introduction

The Japanese government lias recommended that adolescents should engage in exercises and sports to prevent a decrease in physical fitness and enhance healthy development (Ministry of Education. Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan [MEXT], 2011). In Japan, school-based extracurricular sports activities (SBECSA) have developed as one of the main opportunities for adolescents to play sports. Nisliino and Larson (2003) included SBECSA among Japanese adolescents' free-time activities. MEXT reported that 64.9% of junior high school students and 40.7% of high school students engaged in SBECSA in 2009 (MEXT, 2009b). SBECSA are performed after school and on weekends, and teachers generally coach team members (i.e., their students) and manage the SBECSA.

A Japanese nationwide survey on physical fitness in 2011 conducted by MEXT (2012) revealed that those who participated in sports activities such as SBECSA in their childhood and adolescence had higher physical fitness scores than those who had not participated. Furthermore, past participation in SBECSA was positively related to high physical fitness scores at all ages for people aged 20-79 years (MEXT, 2012). Therefore, MEXT indicated that SBECSA have a cross-sectional and a longitudinal effect on physical fitness. SBECSA could contribute to not only increases in physical fitness but also to school performance. Farb and Matjasko (2012) reviewed literature on the association between participation in school-based extracurricular activities and adolescent development. In the review, they found some positive effects of extracurricular sports activities on academic performance, educational attainment, and psychological adjustment. MEXT (2008, 2009a) had clearly mentioned that SBECSA should be strongly integrated with school education in the "Course of Study", which established curricula for education at the last revision in 2008 for junior high school and in 2009 for high school. Thus, SBECSA are important activities in school settings.

However, there are some issues in maintaining SBECSA. First, the lack of SBECSA teachers who are able to expertly coach a given sport is notable, despite the importance of expert coaching for positive youth development (e.g., performance skills, confidence, positive social relationships, and morality) (Cote & Gilbert, 2009; Stewart, Lindsay, & Trevor, 2011). The Wakayama Prefecture Board of Education (2003) reported only 38.7% of SBECSA teachers in junior high schools and 42.2% of those in high schools were able to expertly coach a sport in Wakayama prefecture in Japan. Thus, opportunities for children and adolescents to receive expert coaching in SBECSA are limited. Second, the transfer of SBECSA teachers to other schools sometimes causes the inactivity or elimination of the SBECSA (School-based Extracurricular Sport Activity in Junior High School "Nagano Model" Exploratory Committee, 2004; Nakazawa, 2011). Generally, Japanese public school teachers are required to transfer to another school once every several years. When SBECSA teachers transfer, whether children can continue with sports and receive expert coaching in SBECSA highly depends on the existence of new teachers who can adequately and expertly coach sports.

To resolve the lack of SBECSA teachers, the Japanese government has been promoting engagement of "external coaches" in SBECSA (MEXT, 2010). An external coach has been defined as a person who coaches school-based extracurricular activities and is not a teacher or supporting teacher (Sasakawa Sports Foundation [SSF], 2011). For example, human resources of external coaches could include a part-time teacher, sports club coach, leader of a social physical education program, graduate of the school in question, or parent of a student (All Japan High School Athletic Federation, 2012). In many cases, sports activities have been outsourced in some countries, especially extracurricular activities are in Australia (Macdonald, 2011; Williams, Hay, & Macdonald, 2011). …

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