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An even playing field

Queen’s University professor Jean Côté (School of Kinesiology) is pushing policy makers to use guidelines developed by his research group when creating youth sports programs as a way of engaging more youth in amateur sport.

Queen's Professor Jean Cote.

Dr. Côté researched and developed the 3Ps - performance, participation and personal development – three areas that should be included in all policy decisions regarding youth sports.

“When structured properly, youth sport has the capacity to build important personal assets such as competence, confidence, connection with others, and character that are important for future sport involvement,” says Dr. Côté. “Using the 3Ps together is critical for success of these programs.”

The challenge for countries and national governing bodies is structuring sport to simultaneously facilitate the achievement of excellence as well as participation.

 “Youth sport programs that focus on diversification and deliberate play, or what we describe as the ‘sampling years,’ during childhood build a solid foundation for long-term physical activity participation, future elite performance in one sport, and personal development,” says Dr. Côté.

The research was published in the most recent issue of the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics.