The presentation will discuss the topic of the influence of sports on character formation and cover the related literature review. Also, it will consider the methodology of a project that was designed to contribute some data on the matter, its results, and future practical application. The project had eleven stages, which will be briefly mentioned to explain the process of its development.
Topic and Literature
Character development is an important phenomenon that is being studied by modern researchers, especially psychologists (Metzger 92). It can be most significant in practice as well, particularly in schools. The idea that sports might impact character formation is not new; there are some studies on the topic (Bafirman 10; Koo and Lee 111-112; Li et al. 505-506). However, it can also be suggested that the question is not exhaustively researched; in fact, the recent evidence is rather scarce. Additionally, it is not fully clear if the impact of sports on youths’ character is positive, negative, or present at all (Naylor and Yeager 212).
For example, positive outcomes may include discipline, competitiveness, and professionalism, but negative ones might incorporate pride or selfishness (Holt 22-38). As a result, additional investigation may be required, which is why this theme was chosen for the development of a new study that would consider the relationships between youth sports and character formation.
Thus, to contribute more data on the topic, a new study was designed and conducted. It involved recruiting 20 students between 7 and 18 years old along with their coaches. The number of girls and boys in the sample was equal. They were separated into two basketball teams and participated in intensive training sessions for four months, after which they had a final match against each other. At the beginning and end of the study, the participants were asked to fill out specifically-developed surveys. In particular, students reported the information about themselves, and their coaches reported the information about students.
Thus, both self-reported and more objective data were gathered. The surveys collected the information about specific character traits (see the slide). Stages I, II, and III of the project involved its development, planning, and the creation of the data collection tool. In step IV, the study was carried out, and its results were gathered.
Research Results: The Use of Positive and Negative Adjectives (%)
The fifth step involved the evaluation of the results of the study, which indicated several tendencies that will be illustrated with the help of graphs. First, it should be noted that the participation resulted in a reduction in the number of negative adjectives and an increase in the number of positive ones in the students’ self-descriptions. By the end of the study, only 12% of the adjectives used in self-characterization could be defined as negative compared to 38% at the beginning. The responses of the coaches could not be employed for this topic since they only used positive adjectives. Still, the results may indicate an improvement in the self-image and confidence of the students.
Research Results: Communication Problems
Furthermore, some differences were found in the communication problems exhibited by the students prior to and after the study. 85% of them demonstrated no problems initially, but by the end of the research, only 7% of students had some issues with communication. This parameter was measured with the help of the coaches’ assessments, which should make the results more objective.
Research Results: Leadership Qualities
Regarding the leadership qualities, only 25% of the students exhibited them at the beginning of the research. However, by the time of the final game, 38% of them demonstrated leadership qualities, including responsibility, motivation, flexibility, and some other ones. Again, this parameter was measured by coaches for objective data to be obtained.
Research Results: Character Development during Research
Additionally, students’ perspectives on the changes to their character were gathered. The participants were asked to choose only one difference that they viewed as the most prominent one. As can be seen from the graph, 10% of the students believed that no significant changes had occurred as a result of their participation. However, the rest noted some differences, including improved communication, self-belief, and discipline. Additionally, 5% indicated that their impatience increased, which they defined as a negative outcome. In summary, both coaches and students note that the participation in the study has affected the students’ characters in a variety of ways.
Research Results: Summary
If a character element was not mentioned in the charts, no significant changes were detected for it before and after the study.
It should be pointed out that the study has its limitations. First, its sample is very small, which is why making generalized conclusions with the help of its results may be inappropriate. However, the study conducted the literature review, and while the topic is not very well-researched, the existing research generally contributes some evidence to the idea that sports affect character formation (Bafirman 10; Koo and Lee 111-112).
Personal opinions and self-reported data in the study are also a limitation, which implies the possibility of subjective views undermining the results (Creswell 191). However, it should be noted that character is rather difficult to quantify, which complicates its objective measuring. Apart from that, the personal perspectives, especially those of students, are also important outcomes, especially when they indicate improved self-understanding. Thus, the following conclusion can be safely made. According to the students and coaches, the experience of being engaged in intensive basketball training affected the students’ character formation, and the majority of the outcomes appear to be positive.
The next steps (VI-XI) involve applying the results to a practice situation. Since the project demonstrates the significance of sports for character formation, it has been suggested that the study can be used to promote a more customized approach to physical education. In it, students would be provided with an opportunity to choose different sports and a psychological consultation on which sports might fit them the best. The stakeholders of the school which served as the setting for the study agree that this idea can be implemented.
A small, class-level change is planned with experimental and control classes, in which students will participate in either the existing physical education or the new one for three-to-twelve months. Long- and short-term outcomes will be measured, including the impact on character and feedback. The specifics of the implementation (barriers, facilitators, funds) will also be considered. Qualitative and quantitative tools will be used. The results of the study will include the formation of the new approach to sports and more data on the impact of sports on character formation. The outcomes will also help to modify the school’s psychical education in future. The support of students, coaches, and management has been gained.
Thus, the following conclusions can be made. The impact of youth sports on character formation is not very rigorously studied, but some recent investigations seem to indicate that there can be a relationship between the two phenomena. As a result of the significance of the topic, a new study was developed with a relatively small sample and mostly self-reported data. However, the limitations of the study are explained by its specifics and compensated by the literature review and coach-provided data. The results indicate that, as reported by the participants, sports can indeed affect character formation.
In particular, four months of intensive basketball training may have helped the students to choose more positive adjectives when describing themselves. Additionally, they might have improved their communication and leadership abilities. The only negative outcome that was reported is the increase in impatience. These results are in line with previous investigations and can be used to improve psychical education in schools.
Bafirman, Bafirman. “Influence of Sports, Physical Education and Health Teacher Professionalism in Developing Students’ Character.” Asian Social Science, vol. 10, no. 5, 2014, pp. 7-11.
Creswell, John W. Research Design. SAGE Publications, 2014.
Holt, Nicholas L., editor. Positive Youth Development Through Sport (2d ed.). Routledge, 2016.
Koo, Jae-Eun, and Kwang-Uk Lee. “The Relationships of Elementary School Students’ Sports Participation with Optimism, Humor Styles, And School Life Satisfaction”. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, vol. 10, no. 2, 2014, pp. 111-117.
Li, Chunxiao, et al. “Sports Participation and Moral Development Outcomes: Examination of Validity and Reliability of the Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior in Sport Scale.” International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, vol. 10, no. 2-3, 2015, pp. 505-513.
Metzger, Jed. “Character Formation and Identity in Adolescence: Clinical and Developmental Issues.” Best Practices in Mental Health, vol. 11, no. 1, 2015, p. 92.
Naylor, Adam H., and John M. Yeager. “A 21St-Century Framework for Character Formation in Sports.” Peabody Journal of Education, vol. 88, no. 2, 2013, pp. 212-224.