Barriers to participation in sport

There are many barriers for people in their participation in sport. A barrier in sport is something that for some reason or another prevents a person from taking part, in this case, in sport. There are many types of barriers in sport, which can under, physical factors, psychological factors, financial factors, environmental factors and local opportunities. An obvious barrier to sports participation is a physical factor, were disabled and unable to use facilities. For example a person in a wheel chair. The local facilities may not be well equipped to cater for them. An example of this would be having a ramp to enter the building and specially qualified staff if they wanted to swim. In my local leisure centre the gym is situated on the second floor and the only means of access to it is the stairs. Therefore it is hard to access for the disabled and will deter such individuals from using the gym and even other facilities that they could use. Opportunities for disabled may be at a bear minimum and not advertised well if at all. Advertisement for these may only be inside the facilities. Where not many disabled people go meaning that not many see it and therefore a team cannot be formed.

A lack of opportunities does not appear as a barrier to participation for the disabled but as well for everyone. A main one is for women. Women rarely get the opportunity to play Sunday League football at a grass roots level. There are not as many teams as male teams in many areas. This is also true about rugby and other male dominated sports. Extra circular activities also give a disadvantage to girls as well as boys as there are usually only so many sports and not as many specialised teachers. The Youth Trust Sport aims to train more teachers and coaches to be more specified in a range of sports to give the students a better chance for development and opportunity to take up different sports. In schools there are often either rugby teams or football teams for the boys, hockey and netball for the girls and athletics for everyone.

It is not often that a pupil will get the opportunity to go rock climbing, absailing canoeing, wind surfing skiing and ice skating through schools. Sport is often considered less important than other subjects, and students encouraged to concentrate on the main subjects such as Maths, Science and English. Therefore the student may opt to choose work rather than sport. If a person does not get given the opportunity to take part at a level such as in the school the chance is that he or she is unlikely to take part in it when they are at an older age. There is also image concern associated with many girls of ages around 15 when involved in sport, for example in a swim suite; do I look fat in this? This puts them of getting involved as well as social issues such as pier pressure. Friends may not think it is cool to be in a swimming club and therefore tease and skit, stopping them from doing what they enjoy.

Other barriers of sport are the facilities with you choose to use if there are any available to you. If you live near only one local authority gym and the quality of equipment is poor, the building is run down and the quality of staff is poor then you may not want to visit the gym. The next nearest gym could then be 4 busses away, making it unable for you to get there if you do not have a car or any other form of transport. Sports in leisure centres can also be too organised, too structured and too competitive for people who just want to take part for fitness levels.

Other barriers can be financial barriers. A good example of this would be that a membership is required to join particular clubs. A membership is required for golf clubs which can be very expensive and often requires a certain level of performance creating an elite group in society. There are therefore two barriers in this. One is that it may be hard to afford to join and gain a membership even if your performance level is very good because you have insufficient funds to pay for a proper membership. This there fore limits you to what you can and cant do. Two is that you may have a lot of money and not be the best of golfers however can easily afford the membership fees. This is then excluding you from playing the sport in your local area and therefore could mean that you don’t play at all. Being unable to afford to do leisure activities in your spare time such as going to the gym or the swimming baths can also prevent you taking part and having opportunities.

With a membership, clubs tend to be looking for a particular type of person, for example David Lloyd gym looks for the kind of member to which can continue to afford the years membership, such as managers and people in high jobs, and who is likely to attend regularly. Often to gain membership an interview is set up to find out about the person to see if they are who they are looking for. In America there is a golf club known as Augusta golf club. This is a very strict club. It is so strict that it does not allow women to join the club. This is an example of gender discrimination in sport. They also don’t allow coloured people to become members of the club. This is an example of racial discrimination as a barrier to sports participation. They therefore believe that there club should have a elite group of white male golfers.

Other barriers to the participation in sport can be the fitness and fact that they may be carrying long-term injuries. Being injured will stop the performer from being able to play for the short-term. However carrying a long-term injury such as a hamstring problem or a knee ligament problem can cause the performer to withdraw himself from the game or even if he or she decides to play but have a constant fear of creating the problem again. Major injuries could cause the player to completely withdraw from the sport and physical activity altogether never believing that he or she could play again without injuring themselves badly again. They may have also been told by a doctor that because of the particular injury it may not be possible to perform again because of the danger to his or herself.

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