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Better citizens

How sport can help young people become better citizens

March 21, 2022

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Researchers at The University of Tasmania have found possible connections between sport and civics. When they explored physical education with student teachers, they looked at how sport could teach fair play, community involvement, identity, and inclusivity amongst young people.

Generally, sport has a foundational impact on adolescents. Sport and physical education play a huge part in their lives at home, school, and in-between. They found that sport can provide greater opportunities for participation. It can help break down cultural barriers, inspire community identity and help them make friends.

Other research in this area has regarded sport as a “school of life”, with the capacity to teach the value of hard work and better socialisation skills. In a review of 13 international studies in 2021, participants on criminal prevention programmes using sports to curb behaviour found aggressiveness and antisocial behaviour had been reduced as a result.

It is, however, an imperfect science. Competition at the elite levels of professional sport can have decidedly negative outputs. As Brian Suskiewicz offered as a guest on The Drive Phase podcast, sport can have good outcomes, but it isn’t inherently good. Respondents in the study noted that sports news reports often covered instances of racism, violence, cheating, and doping connected with professional sport. The key, as Brian Suskiewicz added, is to focus its energies on positive outputs.

To find out more about the study, see here.

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