The communicative complexity of youth sport: Maintaining benefits, managing discourses, and challenging identities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Sport is widely viewed as a beneficial site for youth development, education, and leisure, and as a healthy family pastime. Sport does offer significant physical, psychological, social, and emotional benefits to young people that extend far beyond sport-specific contexts, but it can also incur severe damage, especially when the values, pressures, and actions of sport communicated to young athletes deploy the overly competitive discourses of professional adult sport. Sport is a significant discourse for families and individuals because it comprises a valued site within and through which parents and children actively communicate and participate as players, supporters, fans, and consumers of sport and sport media.As such,youth sport provides significant relational opportunities for children and parents which can be enhancing or detrimental depending on how these are managed and what discursive values are communicated. Adults comprise especially powerful role models in sport (Jambor, 1999) because it is such a significant site for identity development, particularly for males (Messner, 1988, 2002), given its long association with men and traditional forms of hegemonic heterosexual masculinity.The advantages of sport have led to a substantive and continued growth in youth sports and its increasing pervasiveness as a central aspect of family life.But adults are becoming over-engaged in youth sport problematically shifting its landscape and culture as other identities, interests and values are enacted (put into action and practice). This is of great concern given the values, lessons and identities developed through youth sport and its detrimental consequences and damaging potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Sport Communication
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781136339493
ISBN (Print)9780415518192
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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