factors affecting participation


Sport for people with disabilities has changed considerably, with governing bodies devising rules and activities suitable for all disabilities.

The then Sports Council now Sport England, published an action plan in 1993 to help the disabled take part in sport.

The seven main objectives were:

  1. To raise the profile of disability in sport.

  2. To ensure that plans for sport included people with disabilities

  3. To provide sporting opportunities for people with disabilities.

  4. To improve access to sport.

  5. To encourage people with disabilities in international sports.

  6. To ensure the best use of resources and increase finance.

  7. To make sure that the sporting needs of people with disabilities are met.

Over time more and more sport is being made available to people with disabilities.

The profile of sport for the disabled is rising with the televised wheelchair basketball and the media coverage of the Paralympics.

More sports centres now make provision for people with disabilities.


Age determines how strong and equipped your body is for exercise. For example most people have a peak age of between 20 and 25. Before this the muscles are usually weaker unless you are a very fit individual as they are not fully developed yet. After this age the muscles will be gradually deteriorating and becoming weaker which can affect performance. However, this is just your peak age, so you can still be able to perform well doing sport but when you get too old you will not be able to do a majority. Also some sports require youthful skills, such as gymnastics.


Boys are generally stronger and sometimes faster than girls, that means they have the advantage in football, track and field and some endurance sports.


A person's size, weight and shape can be a contributing factor as to which sports they participate in.

In the1950s an American, W.H.Sheldon classified people into three different types. This form of classification is known as somatotyping.

The three types are:

  1. Endomorph

  2. Mesomorph

  3. Ectomorph.

Endomorph: Narrow shoulders, wide hips, large head, fat on arms and legs, lots of body fat.

Mesomorph: Broad shoulders, narrow hips, square head, muscular arms and legs, small amounts of body fat.

Ectomorph: Narrow shoulders and hips thin face, high forehead, thin arms and legs little muscle, small amounts of body fat.

Rarely are people classified in one particular group but are usually a mixture of the three.

Measurements can be taken which classify people on a score from 1 - 7 in how much they are endomorphic, mesomorphic and ectomorphic.