A critical investigation into the relevance of sports development models in relation to the English Lacrosse Association
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Sport development continuums are used across many different National Governing Bodies (NGBs) in order to display player pathways and highlight the different standards of participation at which the participant could potentially perform. The chosen development continuum differs depending on the sport and on the player’s amateur or professional status. There has been little or no research into lacrosse development pathways. This investigation aimed to fill this gap by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the English Lacrosse Association (ELA), by comparing the development continuums developed by Cooke, cited in Hylton (2001) and Houlihan and White (2002) to the ones that the ELA have developed and use in order to develop lacrosse in England. This investigation aimed to highlight the issues that are related to sports development, in particular what sports development means to the ELA and its employees, what strategies and pathways are put in place to facilitate players’ development, the work carried out by the ELA in order to increase participation and the barriers and issues that hinder participation. This was a qualitative study which used semi structured interviews with representatives of the ELA at various levels within the organisation in England. Results indicated that the factors which hinder players’ pathways within the development continuum and which impact on the number of people participating in lacrosse in England were: accessibility to lacrosse clubs, stereotyping of the sport in relation to white middle class participants, funding to promote the sport, lack of an infrastructure within the ELA. It was concluded that there was a need for a sports development continuum to be applied consistently across England by the ELA. Secondly, it was concluded that a better understanding of the concept of sports development was needed to include education and skill as well as growth.
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