Enter your details:
Thank you for subscribing.
Subscribe to our newsletter!

Leepile Motlhaolwa1, Sarina de Jager1, Paola Wood2, Jill Borresen3

1The University of Pretoria, Department of Humanities Education, Pretoria, South Africa
2The University of Pretoria, Department of Physiology, Division of Biokinetics and Sport Science, Pretoria, South Africa
3Sport, Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute (SEMLI), University of Pretoria, South Africa

Youth Experiences of a Sport Development Programme in a Rural South African Context

J. Anthr. Sport Phys. Educ. 2023, 7(3), 3-7 | DOI: 10.26773/jaspe.230701


Sport is a powerful development tool and social connector. Sport development programmes are often perceived as an effective means of encouraging youth development and teaching positive values, as well as providing opportunities for developmental experiences. This study was set out to understand youth experiences of a rural South African sport development programme and to identify the factors which contributed to the youth experiences. Thus, the study aimed to construct authentic knowledge and respond to tensions and debates about youth development and rurality in an African context. This study followed a qualitative, descriptive research design. Purposive sampling was applied and arts-informed methods such as drawings and photovoice, combined with semi-structured interviews, were used for data construction. Qualitative data analysis computer software ATLAS.ti (v.8.4.15) was used, and semiotic visual data analysis, photovoice data analysis strategies, thematic data analysis and member reflection were used as methods for data analysis. The results of this study highlighted multiple perspectives of the participants’ experiences and complexities of relationships within the social context of the youth participants in the study. Therefore, youth experiences and perspectives cannot be viewed in isolation. The sports development programmes need to consider working with schools, parents, teachers and coaches. It emerged from the results that social interaction, a sense of family, the desire for positive relationships and a conducive sports environment were considered critical aspects that promoted positive experiences in the sport development programme.


arts-informed methods, community, developmental experiences, rurality,sport development programme, youth development

View full article
(PDF – 159KB)


Bell, E., Harley, B., & Bryman, A. (2022). Business research methods (6th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Bonell, C. Hinds, K. Dickson, K. Thomas, J. Fletcher, A. Murphy, S. Melendez-Torres, G.J., Bonell, C. & Campbell, R. 2015. What is positive youth development and how might it reduce substance use and violence? A systematic review and synthesis of theoretical literature. BMC Public Health, 16(1):1-13.

Bowers, E. P., Li, Y., Kiely, M. K., Brittian, A., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. (2010). The Five Cs model of positive youth development: A longitudinal analysis of confirmatory factor structure and measurement invariance. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(7), 720-735.

Bruner, W. M., Hall., J., & Cote, J. (2011). Influence of sport type and interdependence on the developmental experiences of youth male athletes. European Journal of Sport Science, 11(2), 131-142.

Camiré, M. & Trudel, P. (2013). A case study of a high school sport program designed to teach athletes life Skills and values. The Sport Psychologist Applied Research, 27(1), 188-200.

Chinkov, A. E., & Holt, N. L., (2016). Implicit transfer of life skills through participation in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 28(2), 139-153.

Ciolan, L., & Manasia, L. (2017). Reframing photovoice to boost its potential for learning research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16(1), 1-15.

Coakley, J, 2011. Youth sports: What counts as positive development? Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 35(3), 306-324.

Coalter, F. (2010). The politics of sport-for-development: Limited focus programmes and broad gauge problems? International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 43(3), 295-314.

Capous-Desyllas, M., & Bromfield, N. F. (2018). Using an arts-informed eclectic approach to photovoice data analysis. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17(1), 1-14.

Darnell, S. C. (2010). Sport, race, and bio-politics: Encounters with difference in “sport for development and peace” internships. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 34(4), 396-417.

Eime, R. M., Young, J. A., Harvey, J. T., Charity, M. J., & Payne, W. R. (2013). A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents:

Informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 10(1), 98-118.

Holt, N. L., & Kacey, C. (2011). Positive youth development through sport: A review. Ibero-American Journal of Exercise and Sports Psychology, 6(2), 299 -316.Holt, N. L., Neely, K. C., Slater, L. G., Camiré M., Côté , J., Fraser-Thomas, J., MacDonald, D., Strachan, L., & Tamminen, K. A. (2017). A grounded theory of positive youth development through sport based on results from a qualitative meta-study. International Review of Sport Psychology, 10(1), 1–49.

Knowles, J. G., & Cole, A. L., (2008). Handbook of the arts in qualitative research: Sage, London, UK.

Manson, J. (2017). Qualitative Researching (3rd ed.). Sage, London, UK.

Nykiforuk, C. I., Vallianatos, H., & Nieuwendyk, L. M. (2011). Photovoice as a method for revealing community perceptions of the built and social environment. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 10(2), 103-124.

O’Reilly, M., & Parker, N. (2013). ‘Unsatisfactory Saturation’: A critical exploration of the notion of saturated sample sizes in qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 13(2), 190-197.

Sanders, B., Phillips, J., & Vanreusel, B. (2014). Opportunities and challenges facing NGOs using sport as a vehicle for development in post-apartheid South Africa. Sport, Education, and Society, 19(6), 789-805.

Sarantakos, S. 2013. Social Research. 4th ed. London: Red Globe PressVasileiou, K., Barnett, J., Thorpe, S., & Young, T. (2018). Characterising and justifying sample size sufficiency in interview-based studies: Systematic analysis of qualitative health research over a 15-year period. BMC medical research methodology, 18(1),1-18.