Sport experts gather to address flagging youth participation

A youth sport summit to be held in Adelaide this Thursday will gather leaders across South Australia’s schools, sporting organisations and government to learn from internationally acclaimed experts on how to reverse dismal teenage sport participation rates.

Hosted by Flinders University’s Sport, Health, Activity, Performance and Exercise (SHAPE) Research Centre, the full day Youth Sport Summit will feature latest findings and cutting-edge recommendations to address the pervasive challenges in youth sport and redefine priorities for SA’s sport sector.

A report released by the World Health Organisation this month found that global trends of adolescent physical activity were far below recommendations, with Australian teen participation among the worst in the world.

Director of the SHAPE Research Centre Professor Murray Drummond is an internationally acclaimed leader on qualitative sport and health research.

“The aim of this event is to inspire stronger partnerships between researchers and the sport industry, including clubs and schools, from strategy through to grassroots collaboration,” he says.

Professor Drummond will present on the value of university / industry collaboration to improve the outcomes of youth participation in sport.

He says maintaining physical activity in the teenage years is essential to support a life of health and fitness. “Physical activity is so important for young people. It not only provides obvious physical health advantages but also social, emotional and mental health benefits.

“Being around like-minded people is a key to ongoing positive health across all domains”.

Summit convener Dr Sam Elliott, who has published widely on parental involvement in youth sport, will contribute his innovative recommendations for parental partnerships which he says must be prioritised as part of the solution.

“Sport dropout can be reduced by optimising parental involvement and I’ll be sharing the key strategies, what to encourage and what to reject – which includes things we now know don’t work like punitive, restrictive or contractual methods.”

Together with establishing a life-long relationship with fitness, talks throughout the day will reveal latest insights into teen sport engagement and the many benefits of applying the latest research – including increased international competitiveness.

A range of experts in specific areas have been enlisted from around the country to ensure the discussion delivers a comprehensive approach to current issues in youth sport. Topics include:

  • Pros and cons of social media in youth sport
  • Optimising approaches for improving parental Involvement in youth sport
  • Strategies and solutions for maximising coach effectiveness
  • Optimising the positive effects of sport on young people’s wellbeing
  • Enhancing the youth sport motivational climate
  • Do we overestimate physical activity levels during organised sport training?
  • Latest trends in sport participation and retention
  • Adolescent talent identification practices: the unnatural selection of athletic potential
  • The MASTER Framework for youth sport coaches
  • The value of university and industry partnerships for the youth sport sector
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