THE IMPACT OF ROLE MODELS IN COMMUNITY SPORT DEVELOPMENT – A CASE STUDY OF EXISTING LITERATURE
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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There is a belief that successful sportsmen and women can act as powerful motivational role models for young people (Armour and Duncombe, 2012). In line with this theory there is much research to suggest the importance of sport when tackling physical inactivity and health-related issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease (Foster, 2000; Pate et al., 1995; Tremblay & Williams, 2000; World Health Assembly, 2002). With this extensive research in mind, it is reasonable to explore the importance and impact of role models within a community setting. Furthermore, there is reason to suggest that a role model can take both the form of an elite sportsperson or otherwise (Bandura, 1965; MacCallum and Beltman, 2002; Payne et al. 2003 and more) as long as they have the ability to influence an audience (Lines, 2010). This study looks at the importance of role models within community sport development and begins to understand the difference between an elite sports role model or otherwise. As a desk-based study this research looks at existing literature surrounding this field of study to find that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that role models within the community are key to motivate and influence an audience (Biskup and Pfister, 1999; Martin and Bush, 2000 and Brown et al. 2003). Furthermore, it was found that constant provision of a sustainable role model is more important than finding someone elite or subsequently with celebrity status (Payne et al, 2003 and MacCallum and Beltman, 2008). This research would suggest that elite role models are important sport promotional tools (Green and Houlihan, 2005), although community development is largely reliant on influential, relatable and reliable (Bandura, 1965) characters elite or otherwise to combat the earlier stated physical inactivity and health-related issues.
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