"little people, little area": A RE-AIM evaluation of ringette Canada's small-area games guidelines for children's ringette


In 2019, Ringette Canada introduced the guidelines for its new grassroots program with the aim of improving long-term player development. These guidelines recommend that players under 10 years of age (U10) participate in small-area games (e.g., half-ice, cross-ice). We partnered with Ringette Canada to evaluate the reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance of the guidelines using a three-phase, multi-method approach. In Phase 1, we interviewed one administrator from each provincial ringette association (n = 9). In Phase 2, local ringette administrators completed online surveys (n = 121). In Phase 3 (scheduled for the 2021-2022 season), video observation will be used to compare participants' developmental outcomes in small-area and full-ice game formats. Results from Phases 1 and 2 demonstrate that provincial ringette administrators were aware of the guidelines and believed in the benefits of small-area games. However, only one association planned to fully implement the guidelines up to the U10 level. In contrast, local ringette administrators reported mixed levels of awareness and beliefs about small-area games. Although 83% of local associations had adopted small-area games some or all of the time, implementation varied widely. Less than one-third planned to implement the guidelines at the U9 (30%) and U10 (16%) levels. Although plans to implement the guidelines at the U8 and U9 levels in future seasons appeared secure, plans for implementation for U10 players were broadly uncertain and pointed to a need for data to drive decision-making, promote buy-in from local ringette associations, and allot time to develop a strong implementation plan.

Acknowledgments: This research was funded by a 2019-2020 SIRC Researcher-Practitioner Match Grant and a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant (892-2019-3064).