Learning through the adventure of youth sport


Background: Participation in youth sport is often associated with a variety of positive development outcomes. In order to effectively utilize sport as a context of learning and development, the sport must be intentionally designed and programed. One often-used approach is known as sport-based positive youth development (PYD). Recently, to further enhance the intentionality of a sport-based PYD approach, several researchers have posited the potential benefits of applying experiential learning theory to youth sport programing. Through utilizing experiential learning within a sport-based PYD approach, it is believed youth sport can be designed to intentionally promote desired PYD outcomes.Purpose: Experiential learning theory offers a deep understanding and history of effective youth programing. However, within the field of experiential learning, many different pedagogical approaches exist. To date, sport-based PYD has yet to identify a specific pedagogical approach within experiential learning. In order to be accessible and applicable for youth sport leaders, a more definitive pedagogical approach is needed. One specific application of experiential learning which offers specific programing techniques that are compatible with a sport-based PYD approach is adventure pedagogy.Conclusions: Adventure pedagogy draws from adventure-based learning and adventure-based groupwork. Thus, adventure pedagogy is defined as a participant-centered approach consisting of intentionally designed and sequenced challenging group activities, which, when processed and debriefed, can lead to a shared opportunity for growth and development related to the intrapersonal development and interpersonal skills. Specifically, to enhance the programing and practices of the youth sport leader, this paper identifies key tenets of adventure pedagogy and highlights their applicability within a sport-based PYD approach. These tenets include the promotion of PYD outcomes, physical and emotional safety, intentionally designed activities, sequencing of prescribed activities, a novel learning experiences, intentional facilitation, challenging group activities, real and immediate consequences, and debriefing to transfer learning. Through the integration of adventure and sport-based PYD, youth sport leaders can effectively program and facilitate youth sport to promote desired PYD outcomes.


Social Work

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Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy


Taylor & Francis

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