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Youth Development Through Sports: International Perspectives

Deb, S., & Deb, S (2023). Handbook of Youth Development: Policies and Perspectives from India and Beyond Sibnath Deb & Shayana Deb

Chapter 6

Pill, S., & Slee, P.T. (2023) Youth Development Through Sports: International Perspectives . IN Deb, S., & Deb, S (2023). Handbook of Youth Development: Policies and Perspectives from India and Beyond . Springer Nature, Singapore.



Well-designed sport programs provide the environment for leadership development, personal  development, and community development. Research suggests these well-designed programs can positively affect self-esteem and self-worth (Hillyer, 2010).

Participation in youth sports programs with a development focus beyond technical and tactical game skill development, such as programs provided by a youth development focus, can address various social and emotional needs of adolescents: including having a sense of belonging, a sense of mastery, a sense of ‘mattering’, and reframing self and adult perceptions from the deficit ‘being a  problem’ to agents that can make a difference in their social worlds (Agnew & Pill, 2016;  LeMenestrel & Perkins, 2007). Historically and ideologically, there would appear to be strong support for the role of team games in promoting socio-moral development  (Theodoulides & Armour, 2001). Youth development through sport is a mechanism through which to promote peace and harmony (Mandigo, Corlett & Anderson, 2008).

While youth sport programs as avenues for positive youth development have been well considered (see Fraser-Thomas, Cote & Deakin, 2005), the deliberate use of sport in Physical Education for  bullying, harassment and violence prevention is an area where little theorising or program trialling has occurred. This lack of research exists despite physical activity opportunities  generally, and sport in physical education as an area of physical activity provision, long being  identified as an effective medium for the development of social harmony, inclusion and  resilience (Bailey, 2005; Martinek & Hellison, 1997).

In this chapter, the main objective is to highlight a strengths-based perspective on the role sport can play in promoting young  people’s wellbeing particularly in terms of reducing bullying and promoting positive social relationships.


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