Participation in modified sports programs: a longitudinal study of children’s transition to club sport competition

Eime, Rochelle ORCID: 0000-0002-8614-2813, Casey, Meghan ORCID: 0000-0003-0230-6022, Harvey, John ORCID: 0000-0001-6927-6580, Charity, Melanie ORCID: 0000-0003-3270-3563, Young, Janet ORCID: 0000-0002-0040-0691 and Payne, Warren ORCID: 0000-0001-5046-3992 (2015) Participation in modified sports programs: a longitudinal study of children’s transition to club sport competition. BMC Public Health, 15 (1). ISSN 1471-2458


Background Many children are not physically active enough for a health benefit. One avenue of physical activity is modified sport programs, designed as an introduction to sport for young children. This longitudinal study identified trends in participation among children aged 4–12 years. Outcomes included continuation in the modified sports program, withdrawal from the program or transition to club sport competition. Methods De-identified data on participant membership registrations in three popular sports in the Australian state of Victoria were obtained from each sport’s state governing body over a 4-year period (2009–2012 for Sport A and 2010–2013 for Sports B and C). From the membership registrations, those who were enrolled in a modified sports program in the first year were tracked over the subsequent three years and classified as one of: transition (member transitioned from a modified sport program to a club competition); continue (member continued participation in a modified sport program; or withdraw (member discontinued a modified program and did not transition to club competition). Results Many modified sports participants were very young, especially males aged 4–6 years. More children withdrew from their modified sport program rather than transitioning. There were age differences between when boys and girls started, withdrew and transitioned from the modified sports programs. Conclusions If we can retain children in sport it is likely to be beneficial for their health. This study highlights considerations for the development and implementation of sport policies and programming to ensure lifelong participation is encouraged for both males and females.

Dimensions Badge

Altmetric Badge

Item type Article
DOI 10.1186/s12889-015-2012-y
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Keywords physical activity; sport participation; sport policies; sports programs
Citations in Scopus 27 - View on Scopus
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login