Other Factors

Other Factors

Age

The sport and leisure pursuits that people take part are closely related to their age and local tradition.

As people get older the time spent taking part in sport becomes less and the nature of the sport changes.

Activities with high-energy requirements and output such as rugby are generally associated with younger players while activities that rely on skill rather than physical fitness such as lawn bowls are associated with older people.

As the body ages it becomes less flexible, strength is lost as are speed and stamina.

Sprains and other minor injuries become more frequent and recovery time becomes longer.

There are activities where age does not affect participation such as swimming, walking and playing golf.

There is therefore no reason why sport and related activities should not be participated in at any age.

Age only limits the type of activity.

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Ability will limit the level at which an activity is pursued.

Having a high ability in any sport means that there could be increased participation, which in itself can lead to improvement in performance.

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Sport for people with disabilities has changed considerably, with governing bodies devising rules and activities suitable for all disabilities.

The then Sports Council now Sport England, published an action plan in 1993 to help the disabled take part in sport.

The seven main objectives were:

  1. To raise the profile of disability in sport.

  2. To ensure that plans for sport included people with disabilities

  3. To provide sporting opportunities for people with disabilities.

  4. To improve access to sport.

  5. To encourage people with disabilities in international sports.

  6. To ensure the best use of resources and increase finance.

  7. To make sure that the sporting needs of people with disabilities are met.

Over time more and more sport is being made available to people with disabilities.

The profile of sport for the disabled is rising with the televised wheelchair basketball and the media coverage of the Paralympics.

More sports centres now make provision for people with disabilities.

Fewer females pro rata take part in sport than males.

At the ancient Olympic Games, women were not allowed to watch the activities let alone participate in them.

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By the end of the nineteenth century, English women, from the middle classes, were taking part in sport. Victorian attitudes meant that women often played in cumbersome dresses making movement difficult.

In the early twentieth century, the national governing bodies of some sports were formed and there were organised competitions for women, usually separate from men.

Women competed in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1904 but only in archery.

Even in the 1996, Atlanta games there were 163 men's events and only 97 women's events.

The First World War was the turning point for women's sport, where the myth that women were weak, had little energy and were unable to cope with men's work was broken.

If they could cope with the work of the munitions factory then they could cope with men's sport.

Heavy industry called women to work again during the Second World War but after the war more women continued to work.

They had more money to spend and more freedom to participate in sport and leisure activities.

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Reasons for Low Participation:

All the profile of women's sport has continued to grow over the past two or three decades, there are still obvious reasons why sport participation by women still falls short of that of men.

Physique:

Women are still viewed as the fairer, weaker sex and some sports are deemed too dangerous for them.

The 1928 Olympics cast doubt over women's ability to run the 800 metre race when several of them collapsed during that race.

This race was not re-instated as a women's race until the 1960 Olympics in Rome.

Four athletic events have remained closed to women until quite recently. They are the 3,000 metres, pole-vault, the hammer and the triple-jump.

Only triple-jump appeared at the Atlanta Games in 1996.

Social Attitudes:

Victorian attitudes that a woman's place is in the home continue to be prevalent even in today's society.

To be a top sportsperson you need to train for long hours, be psychologically tough, muscular and competitive. These characteristics are often seen as acceptable for men but not for women.

Role Models:

For boys there are many role models in a wide range of sports.

There are fewer role models for women.

Finance:

Sportswomen receive only a fraction of the sponsorship that sportsmen receive.

Prize money is very often less for women's events than men's.

Media Coverage:

There is less media coverage of women's sport than there is of men's sport and so the profile of women in sport continues to remain low.

There are fewer women involved in the media itself although there has been a more recent shift in this with presenters such as Sue Barker, covering more sporting events on TV.

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