An exploratory investigation with club coaches to assess the social backgrounds of participants and the issues associated with progressing beyond club participation : a case study of Hillingdon School of Gymnastics
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The principal question driving the research was to discover whether social background has an affect on the sports participant and whether it restricts them from progressing to elite level gymnastics within Hillingdon. The study used qualitative means of data collection through semi-structured interviews. Four interviewees, who were senior club coaches or above at Hillingdon School of Gymnastics were asked questions on the study area. The key findings of the study revealed that the main reason for social exclusion within Hillingdon stems from the lack of income of certain individuals. This in turn excludes them from progressing to elite level as there is a dramatic increase in training and competition fees. The study suggests apart from recognising the issue a positive approach is being adopted to overcome the training barriers to reaching elite level. This was shown through subsidising the costs to families that have genuine financial difficulties. The researcher has learnt that sports development is key to increasing sports participation. Within Hillingdon the sports development team were not very pro-active towards the club and did not help with initiating and sustaining people’s interest in gymnastics. Overall the Local Authority needs make this sport more of a priority as it is said to help other agencies with social exclusion, health problems community well being and citizenship.
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