Positive experiences and outcomes in youth sport: Towards a global framework


This talk will present a global vision for sport that incorporates the necessary elements for a developmentally sound approach to youth sport involvement. The literature around three basic elements of youth sport that change throughout development will be discussed: 1) personal engagement in activities, 2) quality relationships, and 3) appropriate settings. When these three elements are adapted for specific sport contexts they create an engaging and positive environment that, when repeated on a regular basis, leads to changes in the personal assets of the participants involved. Changes in participants' personal assets, such as Competence, Confidence, Connection, and Character (i.e., the 4 Cs; Little, 1993), have long been associated with positive sport experiences leading to long-term outcomes, including continued participation and higher levels of performance and personal development through sport (i.e., the 3 Ps). The enhancement of personal assets (e.g. the 4 Cs) through sport does not, however, occur automatically and needs to be explicitly integrated in the activities, relationships, and settings in which sport takes place. Research that has examined the three basic elements of youth sport (activities, relationships, and settings) and its association to personal assets and long-term outcomes will be discussed as a way to conceptualize development in sport through time. This global framework will also be used to introduce the different topics of the symposium.