100 Ways Sport and Recreation Develops Communities

This is a list of one hundred ways Sport and Recreation have contributed to (and can contribute to) Community Development, Youth Development, Economic Development, and Athletic Development. The rationale behind growing this list up to 100 is so that at least 60% of what is on this list is applicable to diverse communities.

The list is divided into five categories with 20 items under each category 

  1. Provides a vehicle for inclusion, drawing together people of different races, religions, and cultures.[1]
  2. Sport can cause positive shifts in gender norms that afford girls and women greater safety and control over their lives.[2]
  3. Women, girls, and people with disabilities are empowered by sport-based opportunities to acquire health information, skills, social networks, and leadership experience.[2]
  4. Participation in a sport by people with disability may help them improve self-esteem and social integration,
  5. Sport and physical recreation by women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds enhance social inclusion as well as health and wellbeing.[3]
  6. Sports participation is also seen as a means of exposing adolescents to a pro-social environment that fosters basic values; such as fair play, sportsmanship, competitiveness, and achievement.
  7. Sport can be used as an engagement mechanism to build relationships with hard to reach individuals or groups.[4]
  8. Sport is used as a catalyst to encourage project participation and build relationships between responsible adults and young people[4]
  9. Sport for Development programmes rehabilitation activities for those previously involved in delinquent behavior.[5]
  10. Sport can be used as an engagement mechanism, to build relationships with hard to reach individuals or groups;
  11. Sport and recreation is a key medium for creating new relationships among disparate social groups.[3]
  12. Sport can be used to address social inequities to disadvantaged people.[3]
  13. Brings people together, providing opportunities for social interaction.[1]
  14. Binds families and communities through shared experiences.[1]
  15. Provides a sense of belonging.[1]
  16. Fosters community pride.[1]
  17. Empathy and tolerance for diverse social groups besides one’s own
  18. A sense of well-being Cooperation for community members
  19. Providing an inclusive community
  20. Exposure to different peer groups and values
  1. Sport and development projects that focus on educational outcomes use sport as a means to deliver educational messages to participants.[6]
  2. Sport can be used to support young people’s leadership opportunities, through sport in a number of non-playing roles — referees, coaches administrators, and trainers,[3]
  3. Promote learning through play
  4. Sport for Development and Peace has served to supplement education and health programmes.[4]
  5. Through play and physical activity, kids learn and practice skills that become building blocks for more complicated movements.[7]
  6. Sport and recreation may also help to divert young people from anti-social behavior by targeting those most at risk.[3]
  7. Sport-based community education programs provide alternative education opportunities for children who cannot attend school.[8]
  8. Being part of sports teams can mean more friends that help in reducing antisocial behavior.[7]
  9. Sport and recreation clubs are the hub of community life, especially among young people.[1]
  10. Physical education and sport also build health activity habits that encourage life-long participation in physical activity.[6]
  11. Learning how to take a win or loss can teach valuable lessons on sportsmanship and integrity.[7]
  12. School sports programs motivate children to enroll in and attend school and can help improve academic achievement.[8]
  13. Creates positive alternatives to youth offending, antisocial behavior and crime[1]
  14. Creates leadership, skills and mentoring programmes
  15. Kids who participate in sport and recreation learn better and are more likely to enjoy school.[1]
  16. Sport also facilitates friendships and positive social relations,
  17. Reduce boredom in youth;
  18. Keeps kids away from the TV or computer screen.[1]
  19. Contributes to lifelong learning.[1]
  20. Provides a positive outlet where kids can spend their free time.
  1. Contributes to Economic growth through business investment, employment, major events, and tourism.[1]
  2. Sport is a powerful tool to enhance the physical fabric of communities, to stimulate the local economy, and to improve its image with outside investors and tourists.[4]
  3. Contributes to social capital.[1] : increase social contact, develop new interests and increase self-confidence, sense of competence and self-esteem
  4. Sports participation develops a wide range of skills and attitudes, including teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, decision-making, communications, personal management, and administrative skills.[4]
  5. The sports and leisure sector and its supporting industries are significant employers and contributors to the economy.[4]
  6. Sport is an attractive activity for young people and is often used as a draw card to recruit children and young people to health and education programmes.[6]
  7. Sports facilities can make an important contribution to the physical infrastructure of communities.[3]
  8. The economic contribution of the volunteer workforce helps sports clubs to provide services at reduced costs,[3]
  9. Sport for Development and Peace efforts catalyze global partnerships and increase networking among governments, donors, NGOs and sports organizations worldwide.[2]
  10. Reduces pollution – promotes the use of active modes of transport like walking and cycling.
  11. Great opportunities for networking.[1]
  12. Sport can help prevent diseases that impede people from working and impose health care costs on individuals and communities.[2]
  13. Creates opportunities for, and promotes, volunteering.[1]
  14. Provides work/life balance.[1]
  15. Creates employment opportunities.[1]
  16. Develops life skills and leadership abilities.[1]
  17. Physically active games help to develop the skills of problem-solving and decision making under pressure.[4]
  18. Developing social and technical skills and increasing employability
  19. Teamwork.
  20. High-pressure situations on the field can also teach youth how to succeed in real-life situations.[7]
  1. Reduces obesity.[1]
  2. Improves mental health.[1]
  3. Contributes to higher levels of self-esteem and self-worth.[1]
  4. Providing people with support and assistance at times of stress, hardship, and crisis,[3]
  5. Exercise acts as a temporary diversion to daily stresses and it improves self-esteem
  6. Sports programs can be used to reduce stigma and increase social and economic integration of people living with HIV and AIDS.[8]
  7. Healthy workers are more productive and take less sick days.[1]
  8. Can help to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.[1]
  9. Physical activity is essential for healthy and optimal development.[7]
  10. The image of ‘sport’ as a healthy activity has also been used in anti-drug campaigns to deliver a message to the community.[3]
  11. A vibrant, active community can help influence other citizens of all ages to be more active in their lives, creating a positive cascading effect.
  12. Eases pressure on the health system.[1]
  13. Promotes a healthy, active lifestyle.[1]
  14. Tones and strengthens the body.[1]
  15. According to experts, exercise together with a healthy calcium intake, builds strong bones.
  16. Exercise is good for your blood pressure regardless of your age, weight, race or gender.
  17. Exercise can promote joint health for everyone, but particularly for people who suffer from arthritis.
  18. Exercise allows you to improve muscle strength, joint structure, and joint function
  19. Increased sense of personal control
  20. Management of obesity (an increasing problem).

  1. Exposure to multiple sport chances
  2. Better chances of sport participation
  3. Maintaining sport interest
  4. A rise in the levels of physical literacy
  5. Motor skills development and performance.[4]
  6. General increases in participation and among target groups.
  7. Talent development and identification
  8. Positive team spirit attitude
  9. The training and support of leaders and coaches.
  10. Promotes a culture of fitness
  11. Increased frequency of participation.
  12. Coach development and education through SDP
  13. Increased number of sporting teams/clubs.
  14. Decreased chances of injury
  15. Fewer dropouts from training
  16. Higher sporting achievements
  17. Weight management
  18. Muscle Toning
  19. Stronger Bones
  20. Close friendships (team members).

Although this list is relatively long, it is not exhausted. Use the comment section below to inform us of any other ways that Sport and Recreation can contribute to society. If you want to read more articles like these please follow this blog and don’t forget to connect with Sport and Exercise Development SA on Twitter and Facebook. Until next time, Keep moving.

Works Cited

  1. Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries. Benefits of Sport and Recreation. [Online] February 01, 2017. [Cited: August 06, 2018.] http://www.dsr.wa.gov.au/support-and-advice/research-and-policies/policies/benefits-of-sport-and-recreation.
  3. Richards, Ralph. Sport for Community Development . [Online] February 2017, 01. [Cited: August 06, 2018.] http://www.fcsportsfoundation.com/2017/07/22/sport-for-community-development/.
  4. Bowtell, J. Ruff Guides to Sports Development . [Online] August 25, 2009. [Cited: August 06, 2018.] http://www.sportdevelopment.org.uk/index.php/subjects/47-ruffguides/606-ruff-guide-to-community-sport-initiatives-2006.
  5. International Platform on Sport and Development. Social and Emotional Development. International Platform on Sport and Development. [Online] [Cited: August 06, 2018.] https://www.sportanddev.org/en/learn-more/education-and-child-and-youth-development/social-and-emotional-development.
  6. —. Healthy Development of Children and Young People through Sport. International Platform on Sport and Development. [Online] [Cited: August 06, 2018.] https://www.sportanddev.org/en/learn-more/education-and-child-and-youth-development/healthy-development-children-and-young-people.
  7. Perfect Mind Blog. The Many benefits of Youth Sports in your Community. [Online] [Cited: August 06, 2018.] https://blog.perfectmind.com/the-many-benefits-of-youth-sports-in-your-community.
  8. United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace. CONTRIBUTION OF SPORT TO THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS. [Online] February 2010. [Cited: August 06, 2018.] www.un.org/millenniumgoals.

Thando W. Dlamini

Sport Development and Exercise Science Practitioner

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