Barriers to sports participation
Social and income - Research carried out in 2000/01 into participation for disabled people showed that 37% of the reason that young disabled people didnt participate in sport was due to the lack of money and the unsuitability of sports facilities. This could be because it would be harder for disabled people for get a job compared to people without disabilities, and therefore if they do not have money to invest into schemes such as gym memberships because of the poor facilities, then it would mean the facilities would be less likely to build any more facilities for disabled people and therefore this would affect the participation part of the sport development continuum. If disabled people werent participating in sport at the participation level then it would mean that they wouldnt progress onto the higher sections of the sport, such as the performance and elite sections of the pyramid, and therefore other disabled people wouldnt have any role models, and therefore even if they did have money and facilities, they wouldnt have anyone to aspire to be like and wouldnt participate either in simple things such as gym memberships. Due to the less income that they would be able to recieve, due to the fact that that would be less likely to get a job because of their disability compared to a person without a disability, they might not be able to afford simple things such as booking a basketball court to play with friends, or even as things as simple as a gym membership. This would be affecting the participation part of the sports development continuum. Although this would also be affecting the performance part of the sports development continuum, because if the disabled people werent playing sport in their spare time, they wouldnt be able to see if they had any skill in a selected sport, and therefore would not know if they were good enough to join a selected sports team, and this would mean there would be less people in the performance section of the sport. Therefore there would be less people in the elite sections of the sport in there was less people in the participation and the performance sections of the sport. This would be because they would not be able to progress their skills through a club to become good enough to join an elite squad. This would all be because they would not be able to afford a membership to a gym or also a monthly payment to a sports team.
Historically - historically, disabled people didnt participate in sport until the 1960 summer paralympics, whereas the Olympics for people without disabilities was happening in ancient Greece. This would show that there has only been equality recently, and therefore would mean that there would be less of a fan-base compared to the Olympic games, and therefore there would be less competitors. This would be affecting the elite section of the sports development continuum because if it was only made recently, there would be less groups to get involved in at participation level, and this would mean that there would be less people who could move on to the performance and also the elite sections of the sport. If there was less people in the elite section of the sport, then it would mean there would be less media coverage, less coaches and volunteers and also less facilities for disabled people to train at. A way to improve this would be to make more facilities and also give disabled sport more publicity so there are more fans and also more role models in the sport. This would mainly affect the participation part of the sports development continuum, because if there was not as many people in the elite sections of the sports development continuum, then it would mean that there would not be any role models in the sport, and therefore people at a participation level would be less likely to get into sport if they did not have any role models. This would also be affecting the performance part of the sports development continuum, this would be because if they did not play sport on the weekend, they wouldnt be able to see if they had or any skill. They also wouldnt be able to progress their skill if they had any. This would mean that they wouldnt be able to become good enough to join an elite team. Every section would be affected because if the paralympics is quite new compared to the Olympics, then it would mean that less people would be trained to be good enough to join an elite squad such as a paralympic team.
School/negative experiences - this could be a barrier in sport for disabled people because the classes in schools would be mixed, and this could be the first time in which a disabled person could receive discrimination because they would be different from their other class mates, and they would need special treatment in the selected sport to make it easier for them, such as lowered nets in basketball. Due to this discrimination, it could mean that disabled people could be put off sport in the future. Another reason could be that even without discrimination, PE in school could be the first time in which disabled people could become self conscious because of their disability when playing sport, and this could put them off sport from a young age, which would mean they would be less likely to continue playing later on in life. This would affect the participation part of the sports development continuum because they wouldn't be participating in school, and this would also mean that there would be less people participating in the performance and elite sections of sport. For the younger years, this could be affecting the foundation part of the sports development continuum, because if they do not enjoy the sports that they do at school, then they could be put off for life. This could be because in primary school, there would not be many facilities for disabled people compared to people who dont have disabilities, and therefore they might not enjoy the sports if they have to participate the same as the people without disabilities. This would also affect the participation part of the sports development continuum, because if they dont enjoy sport in school, they wouldnt go and play outside of school. Another reason could be that there wouldnt be many facilities for many different sports and this would be another reason why they could be put of from participating. This would also affect the performance part of the sports development continuum because if they dont participate in their spare time, they wont be able to get into a club level. Due to the fact that there is not many people in the participation and the performance part of the pyramid, then there would not be many people in the elite section of the sport.
Coverage in the media - this could be a barrier due to the fact that that disabled sport doesnt get much coverage in the media, and the only time that it is in the news and on the tv a lot is during the paralympic games. Although even then, the paralympic games is overshadowed by the Olympics, and that is what most people are interested in and this is why the paralympics has less publicity. Due to this, there would be less sponsors and less money, this would be why there could be less people in paralympic sports because there would not be very much money in it compared to the Olympics. If there wasnt much money in the paralympic games, disabled people who had a talent in sport might think that it would be better to get a sport not related to sport. This would be affecting the elite part of the sports development continuum because there would be less athletes, and this would also be affecting the lower parts of the sports development continuum, such as the performance and the participation parts, because if there was less elite athletes in the media then it would mean there would be less role models and therefore less people in the participation and performance part of the sports development continuum. This would affect the participation part of the pyramid because if there was no role models shown in the media, then it would mean that less people would want to participate because they would have no one to aspire to be like. For this same reason, it would also affect the performance part of the pyramid, this would be because they would not have a reason to get into a sports club if they have role role model to look up to. Because there would be less people in the lower two sections of the pyramid which are participation and performance, then there would be less people who can get to the level of an elite team to enter an elite event such as the paralympics.
Improvements - there would be many schemes that would be helping disabled people get into sport and hopefully progress onto a decent level of performance. One of these schemes that has been set up is Sportivate, this is a scheme set up to help young disabled people get into sport, and the main focuses of this scheme would be to overcome barriers such as; transport, getting funds for specialist equipment (or finding project partners that can provide it) and also using coaches that have an experience with working with disabled people. This will help to improve participation because it would mean that if disabled people had transport they could get to places that they need to get to that they maybe couldnt get to before, and therefore it would be easier for them to participate. If they had specialist equipment then it would mean that it would be easier for them to participate in the way that is easier for them. This could make them feel more comfortable playing and therefore would be more likely to participate. Finally, if they had coaches that were used to working with disabled people, then it would be more likely that they can progress them higher up the sports development continuum, this would be because if they were more experienced, then it would mean that they would be able to learn quicker with a specialist coach, whereas a coach that wasnt a specialist one, then the sessions could be less effective, and this could be what certain disabled people would want. It would also be more comfortable if they had a coach that understood their specific needs and could base a sport around their disability so they can also be involved. With these schemes, the participation rates have increased, but other things could also be done such as if disabled sport had more coverage in the media, then there would be more role models seen throughout the sport and this could get more people interested in the sport lover down the sports development continuum and get involved themselves. If there were also more specialist facilities in local areas, then that could mean that more people would give it a go because they wouldnt need to travel anyway, and transport is a large factor in the participation for disabled people. If all of these factors were put into place then i believe that it would increase the overall participation level in regards to the sports development continuum and if there were more in the participation part of a sport, there will be more in the performance and the elite section of the sport also, and this will mean that disabled sport as a whole would be more successful.