The Role of Norms in Team Sport Experiences

Team sport

Team sport, also called team-based sports or club sports, are activities where individuals are grouped together with a common objective. Individuals act towards this objective in many different ways, including cooperation and competition to outscore the opposing team.

The social environment of a team sport provides opportunities for youth to develop and enhance their life skills through the interaction with other members of the group. This can be a positive and beneficial experience when done correctly (Bruner, Eys, & Turnnidge, 2013; Fraser-Thomas, Cote, & Deakin, 2005).

A unique feature of team sport is the consistent roster size, as determined by the rules of the game and/or the league. This can be influenced by various factors, such as player fitness and injury rates.

Unlike traditional groups, sport teams have clearly defined standards of effort and performance. It is expected of members to report to practice sessions, perform strenuously, and to work with their teammates in competitions.

These standards, known as norms, provide a foundation for social influence within the sport context. They reflect existing group values and are monitored for appropriateness on a continual basis, ensuring athletes understand what is acceptable and inappropriate behavior.

The role of group norms in influencing athlete behavior has been studied extensively, but only a few studies have examined the impact of norms on youth athletes. This article explores the role of norms in youth athletes’ sport experiences and offers recommendations for future research on this important issue.

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