Development of Self and Youth Sports

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jcoakley
Words 2712
Pages 11
The development of the self:
Implications for organized youth sport programs

George Herbert Mead was a noted social psychologist who taught at the University of Chicago in the 1930s. He is famous for his theory of the self in which he used the game of baseball to illustrate the complexity of the relationship between the individual and the social environment. In his theory he explained that the social and conceptual abilities required to fully comprehend relationships between different positions in a complex game were similar to the abilities required in the role taking processes that underlie all social relationships and, ultimately, serve as the basis for all social order in society.
My own interests in social psychology and the self has led me to use Mead’s theory to (1) understand the process through which sport participation affects the behavior and development of young people, and (2) describe and set the limits of what can be expected from the children in organized youth sport programs.

Interaction, the Self, Role Taking, and Participation in Organized Team Sports
Mead states that people or selves, as he chooses to call them, are the products of social interaction. "The self,” he said, “is essentially a social structure, and it arises in social experiences (1934: 140). He also explained that the development of the self occurs as people interact with others and learn to give meaning to their experiences. In the case of youth sport participation this means that children are influenced by the social relationships associated with playing sports more than the actions of fielding fly balls, shooting baskets, or hitting a ball over a net. Relationships with others including coaches, parents, friends, teammates, opponents, and peers in general provide the contexts in which sport experiences are defined, interpreted, and given meaning in a person’s life.…...

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