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Football, sport and the development of young people’s life skills

Cope, E, Bailey, R, Parnell, D and Nicholls, A (2016) Football, sport and the development of young people’s life skills. Sport in Society, 20 (7). pp. 789-801. ISSN 1743-0445


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© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The development of life skills has been associated with participation in sport, football and other physical activities. A factor in enabling this ambition to be realized is the actions and behaviours of sports coaches. Drawing on the concept of positive youth development through sport, the first part of this paper considers the types of environments coaches need to create in order for players to develop life skills. The second part of this paper discusses formal coach education and its role in developing coaches’ knowledge of life skills development. The third and final section of this paper offers an alternative explanation of how people’s exposure to certain social contexts results in the development of life skills. A review of literature in these areas reveals that the role sport and football has played in players’ development of life skills is unclear and in need of future research attention.

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