Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Andrew Taggart

Abstract

This study describes the influences on continued sporting participation in netball for a group of adolescent girls as they make the transition from primary to secondary school and between sub-junior and junior sporting structures. A qualitative research design using one to one and semi structured focus group interviews was applied. The research describes how these meanings and identities both influence decisions about ongoing sporting participation and are influenced by situations, events and people as the participants move from primary to secondary school. Individual and focus group interview and survey data, indicate that for this group of young adolescent girls a variety of influences and factors impacted on their decisions to continue or not in the sport of netball. While evidence in this study supports the literature findings that competence, friends, team aspects, competition and fun are all strong motivations for continued participation, it has also highlighted the sensitive nature of these factors to external or structural changes in the girls lives. In particular, the transition to high school intensified the influence of many of the above mentioned factors. For participants who did not have a high level of perceived competence or the security of friends with which to seek new avenues for playing, continued participation in this particular sport was less likely. Allocating discretionary time to the sport of netball for those who continued in the sport, related to the sport meeting their needs, of which, challenge, skill development, achievement and most importantly social dimensions were paramount. Feedback obtained from the participants can help sport providers gain a better understanding of what influences young female adolescent's decisions about continuance or discontinuance in the specific sport of netball. If we want less drop-out in sport by young adolescent girls during these transition periods the challenge to schools, junior coaches, community sport providers and parents will be to develop strategies to minimise the effects of these transition factors. Perspective's gained will help direct the efforts of sport providers in establishing sporting experiences and intervention programs that retain young girls in sport particularly netball, as they make the transition from primary to secondary school and through to adulthood.

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