Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity


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Recreation and Sport Management: Case study questions on future of a competitive pool in NB’s capital

Outdoor competition swimming pool background

Friday’s Recreation and Sport Studies Management Class analyzed a case study involving UNB’s decision to build a new Kinesiology building, with no plans to replace the aged Aitken Pool

The issue has raised some media attention. 

Questions raised in the class included:

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  • Should the VReds expanding their relationship with CFB-Gagetown’s facility?
  • What is the role of Secondary Stakeholders?
    • Swimming NB
    • UNB Rec
    • AUS

swimming-nb unknownaus-swimming


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How Specialization is Hurting the Future of Sport

We have seen the recent trend in many nations to increase funding in elite level sports in which they have a competitive advantage while cutting back in sports in which don’t see much success.  The idea of “inspiring a nation through world-class success” (British Ministry of Sport) is very far-fetched and seems like a way governments can justify the ways they invest in sport.

This potential for glory seems to be the main catalyst for parents to invest in their children’s athletic careers as well and usually results in focusing on one sport at an early age and putting all available resources into that sport.  The way countries and individuals are investing limited resources into sport, there has to be a growing concern that many sports in certain regions will essentially “die” at the expense of achieving success in other sports.

For example, if you aspiring to be an elite level pentathlete in Canada, there is no question that you have a much tougher hill to climb than someone who has the desire to become an elite-level hockey player.  The impact that the allotment of funding has on society may be very detrimental.  As Havaris and Danychuk (2007) point out, it seems as though there needs to be more clarity of the priorities and goals of national sporting bodies, such as Sport Canada.  Are their goals to win more Olympic medals? Or are they to increase development and participation across the country and across all sports?

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The gap between sports seems to be widening, which in my opinion is decreasing the overall participation of youth across all sports.   When I was growing up, my friends and I all played numerous sports, and it wasn’t until I graduated high school that I was forced to ‘specialize’—and that wasn’t that long ago.   Now, kids are having to choose one sport at an increasingly younger age if they want to be able to compete amongst their peers.  When faced with this decision, someone is much more likely to choose a sport in which there are resources and programs nearby to support them.  This increase in specialization is seen across all regions and you can look at the distribution of medals across different sports in the Olympic Games to see this trend.  As Houlihan & Zheng (2013) indicate, countries like Canada are not going to invest money into a sport, such as table tennis, only to be embarrassed at the Olympics by a perennial powerhouse like China.  If we are dedicating all of our resources into a very limited number of sports, what happens to the individuals who are interested in the sports that do not receive any funding or resources?  Either they are forced to choose another sport or they don’t participate at all.

sport specialization

Effects of sport specialization

This focus and strive for elite level success is having a trickle-down effect and pushing kids and parents to choose one sport at a young and younger age and to train year around for that one sport.  There is a growing belief that the more money a family invests in their child, the more successful they will become.  We are seeing an increasing investment in sport specific training as parents and athletes are trying to find an edge in an ultra-competitive youth sporting scene.  The cost of youth sport is spiraling out of control and unless you come from a family that has the ability to invest thousands of dollars into your training, it is becoming increasingly difficult to compete.  It is too expensive to play multiple sports now, which is another reason participation rates are falling.  This early specialization can lead to burnout, social isolation, and injury among other things (Malina, 2010) and in the end there is no evidence that early specialization increases the chances for youth to make it to an elite level (Baker, Cobey & Fraser-Thomas, 2009).

This trend toward sport specialization at a national level and at an individual level may have a great impact on the industry of sport.  The increase in funding in certain sports and decrease in others will in the long term impact the growth of these sports.  The sports receiving the majority of the resources will continue to be successful at the elite level and attract coaches and players to grow those sports.  The sports that do not receive the resources will continue to decline as less and less youth are participating and coaches become harder and harder to find.  If the trend to invest in the most successful sports continues, over time we will see many sports continue to decline and eventually die out in particular regions because of the lack of resources and facilities.  This will only foster the belief that early sport specialisation is necessary and may discourage a large number of youth from participating in sport altogether.  As Green and Houlihan (2009) indicate, national sport policies are structured so that “excellence” is the only outcome.  National sport funding policies across the world must be reassessed if we want all sports to be developed rather than only a select few.

Specializing in sport is occurring at an increasingly younger age

Specializing in sport is occurring at an increasingly younger age


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Technology’s influence on childhood obesity

Jamie Buote and Desiray Wells

Technology is more advanced than it ever has been before as we have witnessed growing up. Technology can have a very positive influence on our society as a whole but also can have a very negative impact on society if not used in moderation.

Technology can indeed affect one’s lifestyle and health. It seems like the facts are all there but parents are negligent when it comes to reducing the amount of screen time their children watch per day. From the ages five to seventeen one third of Canadians are obese. If we look at the statistics globally there is an estimated 43 million children under the age of 5 who were diagnosed with obesity in 2010. This large number is a 60 percent increase since 1990.

So what are children doing different these days than in the past? Well according the American Academy of Pediatrics children and adolescents can spend up to 7 hours of TV, internet usage and video games per day. But the recommended time for this is only 1-2 hours of screen time a day! This is a huge difference. All these extra hours of screen time is taking away from quality family time, reading, homework and exercise.

baby-technology

With obesity comes serious consequences, obesity can harm nearly every system in a person’s body including heart, lungs, muscles and bones, kidneys and digestive tract as well as the hormones that control blood sugar and puberty. These are just a few of the health risks that one is exposed to when they are obese. The main cause of obesity is sedentary living and poor nutrition and these causes are all increased by the use of technology. It has been proven that when an individual is watching television or playing video games they are more likely to be sedentary for longer periods of time along with increased snacking habits of high fat, high sugar, and high sodium foods. This can put someone on a fast track to obesity where they will be exposed to these health risks.

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Does stretching prevent injuries?

As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is:

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/48/11/871.full?sid=21c3f9e5-31bc- 441e-81d2-251f74cf78ad

The importance of stretching has been stressed throughout my years as a high level athlete, experiences with strength and conditioning specialists as well as my time during my undergraduate degree. It is commonly understood that stretching can increase flexibility, that different forms of stretching may increase performance and stretching decreases injuries. Management of sports injuries is difficult, time-consuming and expensive, both for the society and individuals. A recent article may shed some light on what form of exercise should be done to prevent sports injuries.

Lauersen et al. (2014) did a systematic review and meta-analysis looking at exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries. They compared the effect of stretching, strength, proprioception and multiple exposure training. After statistical analysis the authors concluded that stretching had no effect on prevention of sports injuries where proprioception, strength and multiple exposure training all increased the prevention of sports injuries. Strength training reduced sports injuries to less than one-third and overuse injuries were halved. The main take away from this article is to be stronger and you will ultimately decrease the likelihood of sustaining an injury.

Berni Williams

References

De Loes, M., (1990). Medical treatment and costs of sports-related injuries in a total population. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 11, 66–72.

Khan K.M., Thompson A.M., Blair, S.N., et al. (2012). Sport and exercise as contributors to the health of nations. Lancet, 380, 59–64.

Lauersen, J., Bertelsen, D., & Andersen, L. (2014). The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(7), 871–877.   Retrieved April 4, 2015, from: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/48/11/871.full?sid=21c3f9e5-31bc- 441e-81d2-      251f74cf78ad

Smidt, N., De Vet, H.C., Bouter, L.M., et al. (2005). Effectiveness of exercise therapy: A best-evidence summary of systematic reviews. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 51, 71–85.


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Physical Literacy – Urban vs. Rural Areas

Physical literacy in urban and rural areas should be significantly different, but it mostly depends on your family and your neighborhood. As we all know, physical literacy is the mastering of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to read their environment and make appropriate decisions, allowing them to move confidently and with control in a wide range of physical activity situations (Mandigo, Francis, Lodewyk & Lopez, 2009). Many people suggest that physical literacy “just happens” in child development. This is only true in certain children who are raised in environments where physical activity is encouraged but is also a way of life. On the other hand, some children are raised in more dangerous environments where free physical activity is not encouraged, in order to stay safe. Physical literacy can be developed through a sport or activity, or acquired through the movements that you are comfortable with naturally.

Screen time is becoming the first choice for many, so this means there are less physically literate youth today in both rural and urban areas. For all children, it seems that their parents want what is “safest” for them, so they could end up just putting them in front of a screen to keep them occupied instead of sending them outside to play with friends. Recesses are becoming shorter and physical education classes are no longer mandatory in every school.

Initially, we assumed that there was a cut and dry difference between rural and urban physical literacy, but we found out they were pretty similar. When looking at rural communities, they could have smaller opportunities for recreation and sport activities, or longer commutes to participate in activities (especially if they live in really small areas). On the other hand, some rural communities have loads of recreational activities and yard space so the kids can start working on fundamental movements at a young age. Most of the time, rural town residents are able to walk most places they need to go. When looking at urban communities, there could be an outstanding number of recreational and sporting activities, but more competition. Individuals in this area may have to drive to most of the places they go, which means they will not spend as much time outside.

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Ready, Set, Grow!: ‘Greenhousing’ in Education

Within New Brunswick, twenty-six percent of youth are overweight and are at increased risk of respiratory problems, fractures, insulin resistance, hypertension and early markers of cardiovascular disease, along with many other mental and social ailments. Contributing factors include socioeconomic status, ethnicity, community characteristics and most important, inadequate diet and physical inactivity (Obesity in New Brunswick, 2012). There have been many programs designed and implemented to improve youth obesity yet youth still lack the knowledge to improve their situations and sustain a healthy lifestyle. The “Ready, Set, Grow” initiative aims to implement innovative autonomic greenhouses within schools that will stem a whole new way of learning through horticulture.

School greenhouse initiatives have the potential to educate youth on self-sustainability, awareness about the environment, climatic changes and agriculture all while emphasizing the importance of healthy dietary behaviors. Incorporating an interactive hands on learning experience such as Ready, Set, Grow coincides with the 2011 Canadian Governments initiative “framework for action to promote healthy weights” which made childhood obesity a priority (Obesity in New Brunswick, 2012). Blending horticulture and the school curriculum has already proven to have many benefits in subjects such as health, science and biology. A pilot greenhouse based at St.Francis School in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland highlighted the enrichment of school culture, community inclusion and provided exposure to healthy foods (Doyle, 2014). In addition, the program promoted new academic achievements and experimental learning.

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