Dropping Out From Clubs, Dropping In To Sport Light?

Organizational settings for youth sports participation

Authored by: Julie Borgers , Jan Seghers , Jeroen Scheerder

Routledge Handbook of Youth Sport

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415840033
eBook ISBN: 9780203795002
Adobe ISBN: 9781134469932


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This chapter addresses patterns of sports participation over the life-course from an organizational perspective. In the frame of this handbook on youth sport, the transition stage from youth to adulthood will be addressed in more detail. Studies on sports participation among youngsters are often restricted to traditionally organized sport, defined alike structured and competitive, ludic forms of physical activity that typically take place in a club (Coakley, 2008; McPherson et al., 1989). However, sociological research on sports participation shows an increasing share of informal modalities for organizing sporting practice, which do not fit with such a traditional approach (e.g. Eime et al., 2013; Pilgaard, 2012; Scheerder and van Bottenburg, 2010). In particular, the transition from adolescence to adulthood comes along with changes in daily life patterns of young people, such as entering university, creating new social networks, leaving the parental environment or starting to work, where youngsters have to make decisions regarding conflicting time-occupations. Therefore, it is likely that this new stage relates to changes in values and logics in the experience of leisure-time activities like sport and physical exercise, and may lead to a decreasing interest in club-organized activities (Balish et al., 2014; Jakobsson et al., 2012; Pilgaard, 2013). This chapter investigates which organizational settings 15–25-year-old youngsters engage with in practising sport. Youth will be divided into two groups:

adolescents (aged 15–18 years); and

young adults (aged 19–25 years).

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