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There isn't Anything as Practical as a Good Theory


There isn't Anything as Practical as a Good Theory

Update from the Rheinsberg seminar: Jutta Engelhardt asks Dr. Colin Higgs about the framework for effective sport interventions, defining age levels and development stages of beneficiaries.

Dr. Colin Higgs, Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, pledges for a suitable, skills-related curriculum, challenging sport activities and genuine integration of the intervention programmes into the local sport infrastructure.

Find out what Dr. Higgs cites as being the key elements to successful intervention planning below:

What are the top three things to bear in mind when creating a sport intervention framework?

The first framework need to bear in mind when planning a sport intervention is that a one-size programme will not fit all age groups nor all development stages of the target group.

It is important to make informed decisions on the age group regarding their physical and mental skills and adapt the activities according to their needs.

A second factor to consider is the gender difference which is biologically as well as socially defined. It needs to be reflected in the composition of the training curriculum in order to achieve the best possible results and to support youth in skills-building and personal development.

When defining the sport to be used as tool in the intervention, it is critical to assess the needs of the local community and to take the local culture into consideration.

Thirdly, it is important to verify whether the link between the sport intervention and the message (e.g. disease prevention) is obvious to trainers and participants. Assumptions that the link of the sport intervention to the educational message is understood and appreciated need to be verified by monitoring and debriefing of the activities with the target group.

In addition to the above key elements of intervention planning it is important to work towards a “marriage” between development through sport and development of sport.

Focusing on genuine skill building in a specific sport can be beneficial for the local / national sport infrastructure which in turn can guarantee future sustainability for programming on the ground.

Which key resource can we find in all disaster-affected areas? And how can sport maximise this?
Key resources of disaster-affected area are the local people, their creativity as well as their willingness to try out new things.

Shaping the intervention in collaboration with the local population can allow for positive outcomes, despite the trauma experienced in the disaster.

Sport interventions need to capitalize on the local creativity and ingenuity in defining new pathways for social change and reconstruction of the community at large.


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Jutta Engelhardt


Friday, November 6, 2009 - 23:00

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