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The Changing Landscape of Youth Sports: An Exploration of Youth Athlete's Perceptions and Experiences of Club Sport

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Youth club sport has become a dominant part of society and the forefront of many childhoods. Youth sport participation holds various physical, psychological, and social benefits for children but as this industry continues to expand, when poorly managed, sport participation

Youth club sport has become a dominant part of society and the forefront of many childhoods. Youth sport participation holds various physical, psychological, and social benefits for children but as this industry continues to expand, when poorly managed, sport participation can become detrimental (Meân, 2013, p. 339). In this study the experiences and perceptions of female youth club volleyball players (ages 15-17) were explored through semi-structured interviews with a particular focus on key areas of concern identified in the research literature: early specialization, overuse injury, and burnout (Hedstrom & Gould, 2004, p. 4, 15-37). A thematic analysis was used to explore these a priori themes alongside emergent themes that were identified: early motivation and perception, current motivation and perception, pressure and athletic scholarships, perception of high school volleyball, and schedules. The positive perceptions arising from the themes were addressed as a foundation to improve on the negative perceptions. Recommendations to reduce the pressure and stress associated with winning are made, in addition to proposals regarding the schedule of club volleyball in an effort to provide athletes with adequate rest period in order to reduce risks of burnout and overuse injury.
Keywords: youth sport, specialization, overuse injury, burnout, club volleyball.

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2018-05

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TRAIL RUNNERS AND SAFETY: EXPLORING PERCEPTIONS OF RISK IN AN URBAN PARK SYSTEM OF THE DESERT SOUTHWEST

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Issues of visitor safety are a concern among park and recreation managers. As urban parks receive a variety of user groups, understanding perceptions of safety among specific groups becomes pertinent when managing for optimal experiences. This study examines trails runners

Issues of visitor safety are a concern among park and recreation managers. As urban parks receive a variety of user groups, understanding perceptions of safety among specific groups becomes pertinent when managing for optimal experiences. This study examines trails runners at two mountain parks in a large southwestern city. Data was collected in the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014 using a five page, onsite, self-administered, exit survey in English. Questions addressed trail runner demographics, level of trail running experience, perceptions of safety, and support for safety related management actions. Of specific interest was how perceptions of safety varied by trail runner demographics and level of experience. 102 trail runners participated in the study. Data analysis was completed using an independent samples t-test to compare sample characteristics with perceptions of safety and safety related management actions. The results include mixed opposition and support for specific preventive management actions. Few significant differences in responses were found between gender, age and specialization. The findings also suggest trail runners primarily learned about these recreation areas through local knowledge and "word of mouth" and not through managers. Further implications of these finding is discussed. Contributions of the study are twofold. First, results provide managers with information regarding trail runners at the parks. Second, findings serve to extend the literature on visitor safety at park and recreation settings in urban areas.

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2014-05