I have worked in the sports sector for almost 20 years (can’t believe it has been that long, but how time flies!)
As a young person growing up in rural Scotland in the 1980s, as you can imagine, opportunities to take part in sport were very limited – playing hockey all winter in all weather and athletics all summer. Along with the lack of choice, the facilities weren’t anything to write home about either. Moving to the South Coast changed all that with more choices and I played volleyball at national league level. Here I had the chance to be part of a team in a sport that was different, make new friends and eventually progress into coaching. This route isn’t for everyone and just coming along to a session or club is more than enough. Choices now are phenomenal, so why don’t more young people take part? We ask ourselves frequently how can we make it more attractive for young people to take part? Are we offering what they need?
Sport England has undertaken some research which has uncovered a range of new insights into the behaviours and motivations of young people today. The research delves into the personalities, behaviours, attitudes and aspirations of young people and this can be help us get them more active. Here is a link to the pack that has been produced which includes the six key personas called Under the Skin.
By understanding the key personas and talking to young people we can design the best possible programmes to get more young people active. As we all know our sporting habit declines as we age, but by being active earlier in life leads to being more active later in adulthood. Here we are targeting health and wellbeing, but sport is so unique in that is can be used as a tool to combat a whole host of challenges faced by young people.
Sported members in the South East are already using some of the information to update their programmes and provide more opportunities for young people to take part in sport. We have everything from equestrian, free running, mixed martial arts and moto cross to more traditional sports such as boxing and football.
With the summer of sport we have just had and the Rio Olympics on the horizon this will go a long way to keeping the legacy of sport going.
Keep up the good work!