La plupart des enfants et des jeunes athlètes pratiquent des sports pour s’amuser

Pourquoi les enfants s’adonneraient-ils à des sports si ce n’est pour gagner des championnats et réussir à devenir une vedette ? Selon Peter Barston la réponse est simple : ils jouent pour le plaisir.

Un article du New York Times de 2010 a rapporté que Barston, alors en 10e année au collège de Fairfield Prep School, a interrogé de jeunes athlètes à Darien, dans le Connecticut, pour découvrir pourquoi ils pratiquaient des sports. Le sondage de Barston proposait à des enfants de la 4e à la 8e année, 11 raisons pour lesquelles ils participaient à des sports. La première raison donnée était de s’amuser, quel que soit l’âge, le sexe ou le choix du sport des répondants.

« Cela révèle que les enfants sont là pour échapper à leur vie et passer du bon temps avec leurs amis, » Barston, a déclaré un joueur de deuxième base d’une ligue récréative. « Ils ne sont pas seulement là pour gagner. »

L’idée a pris forme lorsque père de Barston, Mike, a entendu parler d’une étude menée en 1989 par l’état du Michigan qui a constaté que les jeunes athlètes jouaient pour le plaisir. Barston a voulu savoir si les motivations avaient changé.

Lorsque l’article du Times fut publié, Barston avait déjà démarché quelque 255 membres de la ligue junior de football de Darien et près de 500 garçons et filles de la ligue de basketball YMCA de Darien. Il a ensuite interrogé de jeunes joueurs de baseball et de balle molle. Les résultats furent identiques.

« Cela nous rappelle pourquoi les enfants pratiquent un sport en premier lieu, » a déclaré Guy Wisinski, membre du conseil de la ligue de football junior de Darien. « Il ne s’agit pas de remporter un championnat en 4e année et d’en faire l’œuvre de sa vie. »

Barston a par la suite créé Why do you play sports?, un site Internet dédié à ses conclusions.

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