To Sample or to Specialise? Sport Participation Patterns of Youth Team Sport Male Players

COUTINHO, Patrícia, RAMOS, Ana, AFONSO, José, BESSA, Cristiana, RIBEIRO, João, DAVIDS, Keith, FONSECA, António M. and MESQUITA, Isabel (2023). To Sample or to Specialise? Sport Participation Patterns of Youth Team Sport Male Players. Children, 10 (4).

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This study characterised the sport participation patterns of 546 male youth team sport players. A retrospective questionnaire was used to identify the sport starting age (general sports and main sport) and the quantity and type of sports undertaken during the early years of development. A mixed-ANOVA and Chi-square tests were implemented. All participants started involvement in sports at the same age (~5 years) and participated in the same number of sports during their early years (1 to 2 sports). However, football players started participating mainly in team games (football, futsal) and water polo players in CGS sports (swimming). Participants reported different ages for initial participation in: (i) main sport (football players started participating earlier, around 5–6 years), (ii) onset of specialisation (football players specialised earlier, around 7 or 8 years), (iii) types of sports engaged in (football players were involved in more team games and water polo in more CGS sports), and (iv) variations in weekly training hours (water polo reported more hours of training). This study provided empirical evidence for understanding the effects of different sporting pathways on long-term athlete development. Some key incongruities between contemporary knowledge and practice are acknowledged. Further investigations should be developed by examining the trajectories in different sports, countries, genders, and cultural contexts.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** Article version: VoR ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for VoR version of this article: ** Peer reviewed: TRUE **Journal IDs: eissn 2227-9067 **Article IDs: publisher-id: children-10-00729 **History: published_online 14-04-2023; accepted 13-04-2023; collection 04-2023; rev-recd 31-03-2023; submitted 19-02-2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: Article, athlete development, pathways, early diversification, early specialisation, practice, play, youth sports
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Colin Knott
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 05 May 2023 16:04
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 15:01

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