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Toward an integrated understanding of the youth sport system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Travis E. Dorsch
  • Alan L. Smith
  • Jordan A. Blazo
  • Jay Coakley
  • Jean Côté
  • Dr Chris Wagstaff
  • Stacy Warner
  • Michael Q. King
The aim of the present article is to outline a heuristic model that facilitates movement toward an integrated understanding of the youth sport system. We define the youth sport system as the set of interdependent persons and contexts that influence and are influenced by an athlete in youth sport. Our model builds directly from a systems perspective, and its tenets of holism, feedback loops, and roles. Specifically, we argue that the persons and contexts that surround an athlete in youth sport should be examined collectively, self-correct over time, and take on certain functions that are negotiated over time. The model extends past contributions toward integration by outlining how proximal and distal processes within youth sport can be studied in a more unified way. Looking forward, research designed to capture the nuanced ways persons and contexts influence and are influenced by one another in youth sport will be best positioned to impact theory and practice in meaningful ways.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Early online date22 Sep 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 22 Sep 2020


  • Youth Support System

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport on 22/9/20, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 438 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 22/09/21

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