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Personal development of disadvantaged youth through community sports

a theory-driven analysis of relational strategies

Debogniesa, P., Schailléea, H., Haudenhuyse, R., & Theeboom, M. (2019). Personal development of disadvantaged youth through community sports: a theory-driven analysis of relational strategies. Sport in society

Participant-practitioner relationships in community ‘sport-for-development’ practices are seen as central in working towards broader developmental outcomes. Using Noddings’ Ethics of Care as an analytical framework, we investigated relational strategies of practitioners in three community sport practices (Belgium) to understand the personal developmental potential of these relationships. Based on the data (participatory observations, interviews, focus groups), we identified the following themes that are viewed as fundamental in building relationships that hold the potential to instigate personal development for young people in disadvantaged situations: (a) time demanding interactions, (b) authenticity of practitioners, (c) equalizing expertise, (d) non-judgmental approach, (e) practitioners’ cultural capital, (f) co-organizing activities, (g) a ‘thousand chances’ philosophy, and (h) providing individual support. The identified themes can be used to develop youth-centred and qualitative evaluation methodologies that are more congruent with the daily work of community sport workers and, by doing so, go beyond a narrow quantitative ‘outcome-fixated’ evaluation dogma.

Uitgever(s): Routledge,


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Pieter Debognies
Hebe Schaillée
Reinhard Haudenhuyse
Marc Theeboom

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emotionele ontwikkeling
kwetsbare jongeren
maatschappelijke ontwikkeling