Programming for Youth in Sport

Some children’s interests in sport are piqued by what they see on television while others are a result of the sporting disciplines to which they are exposed at school. The problem in St Vincent and the Grenadines is that in the absence of physical education being compulsory in our school system ‘Games Teachers’ often confine themselves to working with those students who appear proficient in a particular sport in order to meet the requirements of participating in the annual school competitions. Little attention is paid to the introduction of the children to coordination exercises and an understanding and appreciation of movement in their lives. The result is that many children never get the chance to play a sport because they were not deemed proficient enough to begin with.

The time has come for national sports organisations to adopt a more professional approach to the development of their respective sport in the country. This inevitably involves a scientific approach as well.

National sports associations have to establish their structures in a manner that allows the organisation to be diverse. Recruitment is an important aspect of any sport organisation just as it is in any business or social organisation. It is a specialised area and requires persons with the appropriate training, qualifications and competencies. Associations must therefore ensure that appropriate persons are placed in this area with concomitant responsibilities.

Just as important to the recruitment process is that of retaining those children who have been recruited. Evidence shows that in almost all sports there is a significant drop-off in membership during the period 14 – 17 years, the very period when adolescence strikes and the appeal of the opposite sex combines with the multitudinous distractions in the environment.