Why Sports? Part 2
Scientific research is in and of itself a relatively new concept in the areas of human development. Academic investigative work on the benefit of sports (including the new Olympic sport of trampoline) on the human body has only become prominent in the last two decades, with a large movement towards it in the late 1980s and through the 1990s. This research has, according to sportsanddev.org produced an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence on the positive effects of sport and physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. They maintain that the positive, direct effects of engaging in regular physical activity are particularly apparent in the prevention of several chronic diseases, including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis. 1 As well as playing an important role in the treatment and therapy of mental illness.
Despite of all the positive data we have resulting from responsible scientific research we still see declining registration numbers in athletic programs. A phenomena that begs several questions: 1) if the information we currently have points to the immense benefit of sport, how can we ensure that the general public is more receptive to it? 2) Is there a different, more complex dimension to the issue of lack of physical activity in our societies? These questions are better answered from the perspective of the social sciences – psychology and socio-economic factors have been shown to be responsible for much of the inactivity we currently experience. They also show the inherent need to provide better and more current public scientific education. I will attempt to answer these questions and address the issues to which they point in a later write-up.
For now let us look at the idea that the environment in which we carry out any function is conducive to more positive outcomes. This environment is often reduced to the physical location; its state of cleanliness and its integrity; and the integrity of the equipment used to play the given sport. However, environmental components often include other factors the practitioner may not have full control over like the people with whom an activity is performed. Observers, teammates, and most importantly our instructors or coaches will determine the way in which we play and enjoy the sport of our choosing.
This is great indication that the social consequences of sport can also be far-reaching. In their investigation of antisocial and prosocial behaviour in adolescent athletes, Rutten et al found that “coaches who maintain good relationships with their athletes reduce antisocial behaviour and, that exposure to relatively high levels of sociomoral reasoning within the immediate context of sporting activities promotes prosocial behaviour.” (p. 263) 2
Of course, inquiries into what makes a good coach have also been the topic of study in the last decade, and have carried over to other areas of human development, communication, and business.
Stay tuned next week for part 3 of this article.
Follow Peyton Dracco on Twitter at @pdracco
For more information on Airborne’s Trampoline and Gymnastics Trampoline Programs, contact any Airborne location by jumping over to www.airbornetrampoline.ca
Check Out ALL of Airborne Trampoline’s Amazing Locations.
Airborne Trampoline North: Newmarket
Airborne Trampoline Club: Woodbridge
Airborne Trampoline Centre: Mississauga
Airborne Trampoline KW: Cambridge.
Airborne is a proud member of Gymnastics Ontario/Canada.