Examining the Experiences of Athletes in Adult-led and Peer-led Youth Sport
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Participation in a combination of adult-led and peer-led activities appears to lead to favourable outcomes in sport (Côté, Erickson, & Abernethy, 2013). However, very little is known regarding the potential differences in how youth experience these distinct activities. Thus, the purpose of this project was to investigate the subjective and objective experiences of the same individuals across adult-led and peer-led sport activities. Recreational male soccer players (n = 27; Mean Age = 10.11) were examined using direct observation and experience rating scales in an effort to shed light on the impact that adult-led and peer-led sport activities have on the same athletes. The results clearly illustrated that the experiences of youth across these two activities are very different. In the adult-led activities, youth experienced high levels of effort and concentration, and spent more time being physically or mentally engaged. However, antisocial behaviours were also more frequent in the adult-led activities. Meanwhile, youth experienced high rates of prosocial behaviours, sport-related communication, as well as general communication during the peer-led activities. These findings suggest that rather than one approach being comparatively superior to the other, both adult-led and peer-led sport activities have the potential to yield unique benefits towards children’s experiences in sport. The results from the present study may have important practical implications if sport programs can utilize the benefits of both adult-led and peer-led activities to offer youth a sport experience which combines the best of both worlds.