IDENTIFICATION AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF FACTORS AFFECTING PROGRESSION IN SPORT: A FOCUS ON RURAL COMMUNITIES
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The primary objective of this study is to identify and critically analyse the factors that are affecting progression in sport in rural areas, focusing on the rural county of Ceredigion situated in Mid Wales. Existing research by Sport England (2007) and Eime et al. (2008) suggested that rural geographical locations have lower participation rates in sport and physical activity than their urban counterparts, suggesting that participation could potentially be affected by further barriers. The literature review discovered that the environment that people live in can determine whether they participate, as suggested by Kavangha et al. (2005). It highlighted that the key barriers to participation could be location, transport, access to service and the lack of and standard of facilities. It was also found that the vast majority of talented athletes discontinued competing (Abbott et al. (2002), which suggested that performers with potential were in need of greater support from NGB (National Governing Bodies), Sport Councils and Sport Clubs. A qualitative approach was used to gather information, using semi structured interviews with four athletes/swimmers who had represented Wales between the ages of 16-18, but who had failed to progress any further. The aim of the interviews was to discover what barriers the performers faced and if these obstacles ultimately affected their progression in sport. The findings of the research discovered that the performers experienced a range of barriers secondary to their rural location. Lack of access and scarcity of facilities, along with poor public transport, the distance performers were having to travel combined with the cost of fuel were the key findings of the research, as was previously suggested by Appropriate Facilities (2012), Sporting Equals (2013) and Active Places Cymru (2012). Furthermore it emerged that performers felt at a disadvantage to their urban counterparts with the performers suggesting they did not have access to highly qualified coaches, only volunteer coaches. These findings suggest that the locality of a performer, in this case a rural setting, can ultimately affect their progression in sport.
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