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YOUTH SOCCER ATHLETES’ INVOLVEMENT IN DIFFERENT SPORT PRACTICE CONTEXTS
  1. AJ Santos,
  2. HM Carvalho,
  3. CE Gonçalves
  1. Faculty of Sport Sciences and Physical Education, University of Coimbra, Universitary Stadium, 3040-156 Coimbra, Portugal

Abstract

The sport can serve as an informal educational context, helping the youth development positive values and healthy habits. The ecological theories give importance to the contexts where the individual are inserted and to the involvement time on those, through the Process-Person-Context-Time model. The orientation to performance or to socialization and healthy habits can promote different values and behaviors in the youth athletes. We aim to: a) examine the contextual effects in youth soccer players; b) observe the effects of a season involvement in the developmental assets, attitudes and enjoyment; c) examine the sport involvement effects according to age in the developmental assets, attitudes and enjoyment in sport. The participants (n=135) were male soccer players aged 12–18 years (M=15, SD=2) from three different contexts: Professional Club (n=45), Amateur Urban Club (n=46), Amateur Rural Club (n=44). They fulfilled the Sources of enjoyment in youth sport questionnaire, Developmental Assets Profile and to Sport Attitudes Questionnaire. A multilevel analysis was performed. The Professional Club athletes reveal lower levels of assets, enjoyment and sport attitudes than the other contexts athletes, suggesting a disadvantage context for positive development. The sport involvement during a soccer season has negative effects in the athletes’ enjoyment and attitudes, revealing that a season exposure leads to athletes perceive less interest in being involved in those sport contexts. This findings reinforces the solicitudes of sport contexts influences in athletes development, as well the need to promote enjoyable and pro-social practice environment to augment the interest in being involved in sport.

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