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Being a good sport ranks as the top 'fun' factor in study of youth sports
Date:7/9/2014

WASHINGTON, DC (July 10, 2014) If you think winning is one of the key determinants that makes organized sports fun for kids think again: Winning along with other mental bonuses ranked near the bottom of 81 determinants of fun, each of which falls into one of 11 big fun factors, according to a new study. Despite the common belief that winning is all important when it comes to the "fun" factor, very little research had been done to actually identify and quantify what goes into this elusive conceptuntil now.

The results of this study might help researchers develop proven ways to keep kids involved in organized sports, which can help maintain a healthy body weight. Right now, more than one out of three U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or obese and many drop out of organized sports early in lifeoften saying the activity just isn't fun anymore.

In this first of a kind study, Amanda J. Visek, PhD, associate professor of exercise science at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University and her research team used a method called concept mapping in order to map "fun" in youth sport.

First, they asked 142 soccer players, 37 coaches and 57 parents to identify all of the things that make playing sports fun for kids. When all of their ideas were pooled and synthesized, 81 specific determinants of fun were identified. Next, the study participants were asked to sort the 81 fun-determinants in a way that made sense to them and then finally to rate the determinants on their importance, frequency and feasibility.

The study showed that:

  • There are four fundamental tenets to creating fun that is, there are internal, external, social and contextual factors that make up the complete fun experience for kids.

  • The 11 fun factors lie within the fundamental tenets and include Being a good sport, Trying hard, Positive coaching, Learning and improving
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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert  

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