Factors affecting participation

Environment, Disability, Gender, Age, Somatotype


The environment that surrounds us is a major factor in whether we can participate in our chose sport:

  • Weather- If the weather is too hot dehydration is easily come by and if its too cold it may hurt to participate and you would lose interest
  • Training- Training can only take part when the environment is suitable, e.g. a tennis player cannot train if the court is covered in snow and ice.
  • Competing- Many activity's stop if the weather is poor
  • Altitude- Being high above sea level makes training harder which makes the benefits better
  • Humidity- Humidity makes performing very difficult and dehydration is hard to avoid
  • Terrain- Terrain affects how well you can perform your chosen sport. e.g. Skiers need large hills and runners need flat ground.


Different levels of disability are split into 6 different categories: Amputee, Cerebral palsy, Intellectual disability, Wheelchair, Vision impaired and Les autres

Disability sports organisations such as EFDS and BPA help create oppertunities within sports for the disabled. They can do this by modifying the rules to suit the disabled more. e.g. passing forward in wheelchair baskerball



Men & women

Men and women rarely compete against each other because of some significant differences in our physical make up:

  • Men have longer, heavier bones,
  • Women carry more fat than men
  • men have higher testosterone levels so bigger, stronger muscles
  • Women tend to me smaller than men.

Gender Differences, Anatomy and Muscle Development


Strength- children are not as strong as adults so cannot compete against them, this can also be the same for adults and oaps.

Flexibility- We are most flexible at our teenage years so competing against older people would be unfair

oxygen capacity- Our capacity to transport and use oxygen effectively falls as we age

Injury and disease- as we age we become more prone to injury

Reaction time- as we age we get slower to react

Experience- Older athletes have more experience than younger athletes so younger athletes may feel intimidated to compete.


One of the main appeals to many participants of physical activity is that it offers them both a challenge and an acceptable level of risk. This must always remain in balance to ensure that activities are safe and suitable. Some activities are more challenging than others:Oudoor and adventurous activities clearly have many challenges. Climbers are going to have to face difficult heights and difficult enviroments and tall heights. Sports such as swimming and surfing mean that you may have to combat with difficult water conditions that could provide some form of challenge that makes performing worth wild.Challenge within activities can also be a factor. To tackle a bigger opponent in rugby is a physical challenge, as in to run in excess of 26 miles in a marathon. 


It is vital that potential hazards or dangers are spotted before any physical activity is undertaken. All aspects of the sporting environment have to be considered in order to be sure that a degree of challenge is still present but that saftey is fully considered. Thia means that every effort has to be  madeby the participants and those in charge to ensure that the activity continues in a safe manner once the correct level of risk assesment has been carried out.Participants should always perform properly within th rules and regulations of their activity and avoid foul play and inappropriate behaviour.This could include making sure that their equiptment is in good order ( sharp studs of football boots could badly injure another player ) and that they are not wearing jewellery.Organisers need to ensure that they are fully qualified and knowledgeable to be in charge of a group so they do not mix age or gender groups, they do not have too many people taking part, and that the group has warmed up properly.

Activity levels and needs

Activity needs vary between different activities because they they will all have varying demands on the performer:Competitive- Activities require performers to be highly commited as they need to train to compete.Recreational- Activities are not as demanding, as these types of activity do not require any periods of special training or preparation.


Someone taking part in sport at the highest level will seek to train as often as possible. For some performers this can be on a daily basis and they would have to consider periodisation. This is carried out to coincide with a major competition or tournament. In order to become a better performer, time is needed to train, but you may only be able to get a higher level if you train more and this training can be very difficult. For an amateur performer, fitting in their training can be very difficult. Many swimmers, for example, have to train at their local pools very early in the morning, before the pool opends for public use.