Health: Sports activities golf equipment aren’t simply children’ play

0
434

Breadcrumb Trail Links

Masters sports programs must be able to welcome adults with different skills and goals.

Author of the article:

Jill Barker • • Especially for Montreal Gazette

Release date:

May 30, 2021 • • 36 minutes ago • • Read for 4 minutes • • Join the conversation A study of swimming clubs identified three different profiles of athletes: low-competition specialists, high-competition specialists, and samplers.  Masters programs and leagues for adults need to encourage participants of all ages and abilities to get involved, writes Jill Barker.A study of swimming clubs identified three different profiles of athletes: low-competition specialists, high-competition specialists, and samplers. Masters programs and leagues for adults need to encourage participants of all ages and abilities to get involved, writes Jill Barker. Photo by ULI DECK /.AFP / Getty Images

Reviews and recommendations are impartial and products are selected independently. Postmedia can earn an affiliate commission for purchases made through links on this page.

Article content

Competitive sport doesn’t have to be something you age from when you are past your athletic prime. While there are many ways to play and compete at different levels in youth sports, this is not the case in adult sports. Sure, there are beer leagues that play for fun and for a bit of exercise, but for those who are still motivated to reach their full potential in a competitive format or want to try their hand at a new sport, choices are limited.

The problem for many older athletes is finding a program that suits their goals. Is there too much or too little focus on competition? How about training and coaching – is the program geared towards performance or is there more of a “fitness for life” mood that encourages participation and camaraderie?

Masters sports are usually aimed at athletes who have graduated in the age group. Some programs welcome athletes aged 18 and over, but there are many that require participants to be over 25 or 30 years old. While many master athletes choose to return to the sport they once competed in, there are those who choose to play a new sport or compete for the first time. There are others who want to train hard but appreciate the social aspect of sport versus competition.

advertising

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

It is this range of skills, competitiveness, and motivation that makes it difficult to provide a high quality experience for anyone who wants to participate. So a research team from the University of Alberta interviewed a group of swimmers to find out more about their motivation to join a local championship club.

Swimming has some of the highest master’s degree enrollment rates in North America and Europe. Masters Swimming Canada has 10,000 members ages 18-105 and claims to have one of the largest adult fitness populations in the country. In a survey of its members, the organization found that the majority participate simply because they enjoy swimming and want to reap the benefits of regular exercise for their health and wellbeing. But there are also a large number of swimmers who want to get faster and compete against their peers, while another group consists of less experienced swimmers who want to improve their shots.

advertising

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

The results of a survey sent by University of Alberta researchers to swimmers enrolled in swimming clubs of Canadian champions allowed them to identify three different profiles of athletes: low-competition specialists, high-competition specialists, and samplers. Anyone who said swimming was their main sport was considered a specialist. Anyone who viewed swimming as one of the sports they participated in was viewed as a sampler.

Interestingly, the demographics of all three groups were similar – age, gender, marital status, number of children, and how competitive they were as a younger athlete did not seem to be a determinant of whether they were a sampler or a specialist. This diversity is typical of most master’s programs, regardless of the sport. Membership consists of athletes of all ages who are highly skilled and competitive, combined with those who train more for fun and fitness.

advertising

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Getting back into the sports scene after years of managing a busy schedule of personal and professional commitments is not always easy. However, concerns about lack of fitness or skills shouldn’t stop people from taking the plunge. The opportunity to learn new skills, benefit from good coaching, have a place to exercise, enjoy the thrill of competition, and enjoy camaraderie with like-minded people shouldn’t be limited to youth sports. Adults should have a variety of options in either becoming a sampler or a specialist in the sports of their choice – just like their children.

Ultimately, adult Masters programs and leagues must nurture a “Sport for Life” mentality and adopt a structure that encourages participants of all ages and abilities to remain engaged and active. The idea is to get to know the motivations and goals of new members and find a way to be successful. Granted, creating an atmosphere that attracts athletes who want to compete and supports those who want to take a bit of stress off, engage with others and improve their skills is a challenge. It is clear, however, that a successful Masters program requires more than just a coach on the sidelines.

If you want to rekindle your love of sports but want to reflect your current lifestyle and goals, you should do a little research to make sure your local Masters programs are the right fit.

  1. Brigitte Philippon (left), Danielle Cohen, Serge Boileau and Johanne Belair will play pickleball at Heritage Park in Kirkland on Friday 7 May 2021.

    Fitness: Canadians can’t get enough of pickleball

  2. During the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic on April 20, 2021 in Berlin, a group is playing a spike ball outside.

    Barker: Do you really need to mask yourself outdoors?

  3. People cycle at dawn on the outskirts of Ronda, Spain, in May 2020. A recent study of people who tested positive for COVID-19 found that

    Fitness: COVID Study Another Indication That Exercise Is Medicine

Share this article on your social network

advertising

This ad hasn’t loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Montreal Gazette headlines

By clicking the “Subscribe” button, you agree to receive the above-mentioned newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Remarks

Postmedia strives to maintain a vibrant but civil discussion forum and to encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. It can take up to an hour for comments to be moderated before they appear on the website. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have turned on email notifications. You will now receive an email when you get a reply to your comment, when a comment thread you’re following is updated, or when a user follows comments. For more information and details on customizing your email settings, see our Community Guidelines.