Physical Activity: Time for action Why governments should invest in sport
Why – and how – Governments should Invest in Sport By Dr. Colin Higgs, Prof. Emeritus, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, and Canadian Sport for Life Leadership Team
There are really only two questions that governments around the world need to consider – Why should they invest in sport? And, how can they get maximum return on their investment? Why governments should invest in sport The “why” question has both simple and complex answers. Governments invest in high-performance sport to increase their country’s profile on the international scene, and in mass participation sport to improve population health – usually targeting obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease and strokes. They may also invest in sport as a costeffective approach to positive youth development. From a business perspective, however, governments should invest in sport because it provides a better return on investment than just about ANY other government program. Area of Sport Investment * Health (physical) Health (mental) Personal development Community economic development Community regeneration Community safety Social Inclusion
Strength of Evidence Strong Strong Strong
Savings per $ 1.00 invested in sport $ 1.75 to $ 3.75 $ 1.75 to $ 3.75 $ 2.90 to $ 6.20
Not well quantified
$ 3.00 plus
Moderate Moderate to good
$ 3.00 to $ 41.00 ** Not well quantified
* Taken from, “A Sport Plan for New Brunswick, 2008”. ** If incarceration costs are included
Maximizing return on investment The investment that governments make are frequently squandered because different components of the system (ministries of education, sport, recreation and health) fail to work together; with each teaching different variations of the same activities, and making conflicting demands on participants. For example coaches from schools, clubs and national teams may all make demands on players, often without considering the cumulative impact.
WFSGI MAGAZINE 2014
Different systems pull participants in different directions Education System Physical Education
Recreation System Formal
Sport System Sport Clubs
Health System Preventative
What is needed is a “game plan” for the whole system. Canada has been developing such a game plan over the past 6 years, and the process is called Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD). Long-Term Athlete Development Long-Term Athlete Development is the answer to the question, “What do you need to do at each stage of human development to give individuals the best chance of success in sport or physical activity as an adult?” Success in sport is defined as reaching the highest sport potential of which the athlete is capable, and success in physical activity as engaging in health promoting physical activity throughout life. All too often coaches want immediate results – they put the tall kid under the hoop in basketball, and all she ever learns is how to catch, turn and put the ball in the net. Now while this might help an under-12 team win an impressive number of games, it does nothing for the long-term development of the tall player, who might not be the tallest 18-year-old when she reaches that age. Because of the restrictive way she was coached earlier, she might not have been taught or learned the whole range of skills necessary to play successfully as an adult. In building Long-Term Athlete Development coaches, scientists and educators identified 7 stages of athlete development. These stages, their names, and the approximate ages at which children and youth pass through them, are shown in the figure on the right.
Published on Feb 4, 2014
Published on Feb 4, 2014
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