Developing lower secondary sports schools has become a recent interest in Finnish elite sport system. The sports school activities are performed in schools, in camps organised by sports institutes or in a combination of both models. Supporting the growth of young athletes and combining elite sport and education are the aims of developing the dual careers of athletes. In addition, athletes’ life management skills aresupported. Athletes aged 13–15 years are only at the beginning of their elite sport careers, so the meaning of sports or physical activity is not yet completely clear for them. However, the variety of meanings youngpeople attribute to physical activity is significant. In this article, we explore the meanings young athletes attending lower secondary school sports camps attribute to physical activity. The research material consists of 41 written assignments (mind maps and a written summary of their future plans) produced by young Finnish baseball players and skiers attending sports camps. In addition, six young athletes were discreetly selected for interviews. The data analysis was conducted using an abductive theory-based content analysis. Furthermore, a quantification of the material was performed to support the qualitative description. As a result, three types of meanings were identified: meanings associated with wellbeing, meanings associated with spending leisure time and meanings related to their sports. In the written summaries of their future plans, 22 young athletes mentioned elite sport, becoming as good as possible in their own sport, success in sports or dreams about turning professional. The amount of meanings associated with well-being orwith spending leisure time is striking; consequently, there is a need for further studies. The present study confirms the importance of becoming aware of and taking seriously the variety of meanings that young athletes attribute to physical activity, which is e.g. because of the dropout phenomenon. Using mind maps in interactions between coaches and young athletes could facilitate discussions of the meanings physical activity has in young people lives.
|Journal||Liikunta ja tiede|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- sports club