Does Youth Cricket provide an environment for children to develop? A perspective from children, parents and coaches

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Authors: David Nichol & David Littlefair – Northumbria University

Background to the topic
In relation to the promotion of sport and health, children, in particular, are encouraged to participate in sporting activities (Allender et al, 2006), usually through the school curriculum and often through specific dedicated clubs. Governing bodies have helped fund such provision and ensure governance at grass roots level. This paper aims to examine the experiences of the children, parents and coaches actively involved in one particular sports cricket club in the North East of England.

Research questions/focus of the enquiry
This study investigates the experiences that children, coaches and parents have had through their involvement and engagement with a youth cricket club. It gains a valuable insight into the workings of those environments where children, of varying ability, are expected to develop their confidence, enthusiasm and skills. (Stafford 2011). The paper analyses and assesses the reality rather than the rhetoric from each of their perspectives.

Research Methods and/or mapping of the literature
A qualitative approach was deployed, with three separate focus groups for parents, children and coaches. These enabled us to draw out the experiences of each group in their involvement in youth cricket and the wider field of youth sport.
Initial themes drawn from literature and governing bodies’ policies were used to stimulate discussion within the focus groups. The participants were encouraged to share stories, emotions or feelings about their involvement with sport. (Daiute et al 2004). Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was applied to the subsequent data produced.

Analytical and/or theoretical framework
Although themes drawn from the literature were used as the basic theoretical framework, new themes also emerged from the data, representing a partial grounded approach to the study.

Research Findings and/ or contribution to knowledge
The study highlighted a disparity between rhetoric and reality within youth cricket and the wider field of youth sport. Although the children were positive about their experiences of youth cricket, in other sports they participated in were less favourable and felt a greater degree of pressure during this crucial development phase.

It was also apparent to some coaches and parents regarding the negative effect that adults can have upon youth sport. (Partridge & Wann 2015). Enjoyment is the key to participation (Allender et , 2006). Thus, the creation of such a positive enjoyable environment or conversely a negative subversive environment has the biggest effect upon pupils wanting to take part in sporting activities. Our findings were indicative of a disparity between sports, with football seemingly exhibiting more negative aspects for children than cricket.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018
EventAssociation for Physical Education - St George's Park, Burton Upon Trent, Burton, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20185 Jul 2018


ConferenceAssociation for Physical Education
Abbreviated titleAFPE
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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