Barriers to participation In sport there can be certain reasons as to why people are unable to participate in sport, cultural, social

, historical, economic or educational. These barriers are referred to as barriers to participation. I will look at three in particular Cultural, Econ omic and Educational. Cultural barriers are linked to different nationalities, beliefs and religions. There may be rules and views on who should participate in sport. Some religions do not allow women to participate in sport altogether, others allow participation if they wear clothes that cover the whole body and some allow it if the person is being taught or observed by the same sex only. In the UK there is limited knowledge of sports from certain cultures. Thoda, Kabaddi and Korfball are all examples of these sports. Due to the lack of knowledge of these sports there are very few coaches and teachers in turn leading to the lack of classes provides. Schools often try to accommodate different cultural beliefs into the syllabus, for example allowing students to wear clothes to cover their body and separating girls from boys there may still be issues such as bullying because the pupils are dressed differently, they may feel segregated and embarrassed leading to lack of participation in PE classes. Cultural barriers occur at the introduction and participation stages of the sports continuum, this means that people are either not taking part in sports at all or due to the lack of competitive situations are unable to progress from the participation stage. Ways of overcoming this barrier can be something as simple as running separate classes for men and women or setting up more clubs, classes for cultural sports such as Indian football. Training more coaches in these sports

will also increase the knowledge of these sports and in turn increase participation. Economic barriers link to money. Low incomes, unemployment or just the cost of the sport itself may limit participation. This barrier can affect all ages and abilities. Sport can be expensive and can involve anything from membership to equipment and even transportation. The foundation stage of the sports continuum is usually government funded and works heavily with schools, as school is compulsory up to the age of 16 most children are involved in sport. Young children can still be limited due to money, some may show potential but due to the lack of money at home parents are unable to afford after school activities. Another example may be over 50·s, they are likely to have retired therefore a living on less money that when they were working, they may no longer be able to afford the classes and club membership fees. Economic factors not only affect the participation stage of the continuum but also the performance stage, this stage will require more money for training camps, competition transport fees or even kit and equipment. Excellence level is linked to national and international opportunities, at this stage of the continuum sponsorship deals usually ensure that expenses are covered but this only happens in some sports. Sports such as football, rugby and swimming are all provided with excellent sponsorships whereas sports such as water polo, hockey or basketball in the UK have very little money. Overcoming these barriers can be difficult due to different situations and reasons as to the lack of money, free sessions can be provided to help involve people who cannot afford the costs. Reduced rates and fundraising may also encourage participation at the lower levels of sport. Sponsorship deals are the

best way of ensuring top athletes don·t have to worry about covering costs of training, equipment and transport. Educational barriers can be due to the lack of teachers able to teach sports in schools, lack of facilities available or even lack of government funding. This barrier can also link to individuals in the school. Many children don·t like to participate in school, they may be embarrassed as they have had a bad experience (injury) or they may have body issues. Schools tend to focus on only a few sports, netball, hockey, football and rugby. If someone struggles to play one of the sports it doesn·t mean that the individual can·t do sports at all but that they just haven·t found the right sport for them as the school is unable to provide sports for everyone. Facilities contribute to this barrier. If the school doesn·t have a swimming pool on site or near by the chances are that the PE department will not teach swimming. Lack of government funding may mean that equipment is limited. This barrier is mainly linked to the intr oduction and participation stages of the continuum but if someone has not been involved in sport at a young age and in school they may have undiscovered potential and never reach the performance and excellence level. Educational barriers are linked mainly with under 16·s. To overcome this barrier schemes have been introduced (5 x 60) and government funding has been increased mainly to tackle obesity but also to involve as many people in sport to hopefully encourage involvement into out of school teams and clubs. Girls and boys classes have been separated to reduce embarrassment. More can be done by introducing new sports into schools to try to provide a sport for everyone from dance classes to boxing.

Target groups include women, young people, over 50·s, d isabled people and the black or ethnic minority groups (BMEs). These groups of people are the groups that generally have the most barriers to participation. They are focused on heavily to increase opportunity in sport as they are likely to benefit the most . I will focus on three target groups in particular, Women, over 50·s and young people. Women have always had less involvement in sport than men. There may be many reasons as to why women have less involvement. They may stop sport to focus on other thing like having children or a family. Limited classes specific for women means those women who feel embarrassed or body conscious exercising with men decide not to exercise at all. Women with family may also find it difficult due to a lack of money and time. These barriers can occur at any level of the sports continuum from someone who may just want to exercise to keep fit (participation stage) but feels they can·t as the only classes available to them are mixed sex classes which they are not comfortable with. Other example of the barriers to women may be that at the performance or excellence stage but lack sponsorship, media coverage and government funding in women·s sport. This in turn means women are unable to continue sport as a career and are limited to the level they are able to achieve as they can·t live by only playing sports and must get jobs. There has been a large improvement in the amount of women involved in sport since schemes and other government funded activities have been put in place to increase numbers of women·s only classes, competitive clubs and female teams in traditional male sports (rugby, football, cricket). Although many things have changed in the way women are seen in sport an imbalance is still present and in time this balance will hopefully level out.

The next target group I will look at is the over 50·s. People are living much longer and need to keep healthy to keep up with demands. Pension schemes are very small amounts of money to live off and will only cover basic costs