The Role of Sports Development Officers










                                                The Role of Sports Development Officers

Introduction

            Entering the new millenium young people of today are
exposed to computer technology, the web, television, and numerous distractions
that are preferred to the traditional entertainment of Sports. [2] Not only is
their a reduction in enthusiasm for sports there is also a proportionate
decrease in opportunities in the form of playgrounds, sports centers, gyms,
coaches and competitions available to the masses. Recognizing this dilemma and
foreseeing its negative impact on health and society many private and
government organizations have stepped forward to promote sports in general and
specifically at all levels and in a variety of aspects.

                Aside from its importance to maintain sports
participation in society and school level Sports Development was also an area
that emerged due to the changing structure of professional sports. Sports and
sports people became a valuable commodity and the maintenance of their
potential, promotion of their mass appeal, interaction with the media and
sports industry produced an important role for certain individuals.
Professional services were required in sports medicine, counseling,
advertising, arranging and funding competitions, etc. [1] This vast area of
expertise was labeled Sports Development and the people involved were termed
Sports Development Officers.

 

Sports

The Collins dictionary defines development as
advancement, evolution, expansion, growth and improvement. It is a process
whereby effective opportunities, processes, systems and infrastructures are
created to encourage people in all areas to participate in sport and
recreation, or to improve their performance and aspiration.         [1]

Sports have a healthy and
enhancing effect on individuals physically, mentally, and emotionally. At
various levels services provided by Sports Development Centers can have diverse
effects so that sports can be introduced as a means of simple fun and an escape
from boredom all too rampant in society. It can be a source of prevention from
many of the fatal diseases produced by a stagnant lifestyle, give a young
person direction who may otherwise drift aimlessly often turning to crime or
other similarly destructive elements. [1]

            World class athletes can be discovered and trained with
opportunities that they may not have had at their disposal otherwise. Sports
can be a platform to enhance an individuals own personal development by giving
them an opportunity involved in the administration of a club or sport session,
which strengthens the sporting infrastructure. [4]

           

Sports Development

            This field is needed just to fulfill
existing demands but rather to create new opportunities for participation at
the individual and community level. Many issues need to be tackled including
sporting infrastructure, finances, public awareness, gender and racial issues,
etc. [2] By involving the public in its operations it also influences, changes
and challenges sports providers. Sports Development is all about teamwork,
creating partnerships and networks through special connections available to
professionals and organizations to achieve successful sustainable development
opportunities. When such institutions are formed then they can help lay down
regulations that work for the promotion of equality of opportunity, combating a
range of social issues and problems, particularly affecting young people.
Sports Development is planned, structured, strategic, monitored, reviewed and
achievement orientated. [1]

Sports Development officers
promote and influence change in an individual\'s personal behavior, and within
organizational structures. Their job is not just about offering new
opportunities in isolation but need to achieve sustainability to be effective,
and this denotes that partners are involved and contributing a role or function
in its implementation so that it can continue self sufficiently over the longer
term. [1]

Development needs to retain
its flexibility and adaptability whilst ensuring that the financial outcomes
are compatible with the aims, giving us \'Best Value\' in sport and service
delivery. [2]

The sports
development process in various regions operates by identifying opportunities by
linking different international, national, regional and local programs,
projects and initiatives. This is especially developed in the United Kingdom
providing a framework, which can often translate a vision for sport into
reality at local level. Through this web an individual may leave and re-enter
the sport and alter the level at which they aspire to take part, over time. [1]

Sport England is a national
organization working for the Development of Sports. It has three main aims,
which its personnel promote, and these are; More people involved in sports,
More places to play sports and More medals through higher standards of performance.
[1] To achieve these aims it has formulated and implemented three large
programs providing services for the furthermost of these goals.

 

Sports Development Officers and
Schools

Active Schools is a
development programme in England aimed at providing every young person with the
opportunity to learn foundation skills and participate in the sport or physical
activity