Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2019

Degree Name

MSEd in Physical Education

Department

Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Petersen

Second Advisor

Dr. Cathy Houston-Wilson

Abstract

Youth sports are as popular as they have ever been and their popularity is increasing. According to The National Council on Youth Sports (NCYS) “over 44 million youth participated in organized sports in 2008, and more recent estimations suggest an estimated 45 million youth participate in organized sports” (Hodge, Kanters, Forneris, Bocarro, & Sayre, 2017, p. 35). The purpose of this synthesis was to discover two different things. The first purpose was to identify whether sports builds positive youth development and to explore how to best encourage positive youth development in a sport setting.

After synthesizing the literature, results indicated that sports does indeed develop positive youth development. However, it was found that playing youth sports does not automatically develop positive youth development; an intentionally designed program has to be in place in order for positive youth development (PYD) to occur. Autonomy-supportive environments that focused on the well-being of the athlete were major influences on whether PYD occurred in a program. Future research should be done with larger sample sizes and more quantitative studies. In addition, understanding the parent perspective is critical because they have the ultimate say in whether their child continues in a program or not.

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