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Fun sets the pace for more sport

FUN comes first when taking part in sport, a Sportscotland survey advises. Politicians who drone on about the value of competition and team work are wasting their time, researchers from Edinburgh University suggest. Girls and boys just wanna have fun.

Playing games with friends is increasingly more important for boys as they grow older. But it's the reverse for girls.

Boys like competence - being good at something - but girls want to feel fitter and healthier as they grow older.

The survey was carried out three years ago but has never been officially published. The encouraging news is that two-thirds of young people want to take part more often in at least one activity and more than half want to take up a new sport. But like adults they do not have the time, because of part-time jobs, housework, childcare duties, homework and other clubs and sports.

Local provision is also crucial in ncouraging new activities. Limited time, no transport, parental concerns about safety and cost are key reasons why they do not do more. The absence of friends to play with matters.

"The conclusion to be derived from this data is that if young people are to be encouraged to participate more frequently (especially in organised and developmental sport) provision must be as local as possible, relatively cheap and with an emphasis placed on fun, friendship, fitness and competence," the researchers say.

Half the boys and and one in three of the girls were members of sports clubs. However, casual or recreational sports are the most popular option. Only about a quarter of boys and fewer than one in five of girls took part in organised competition in the four weeks before the interviews. Football, rugby and athletics were the boys's choice and martial arts, hockey and horse-riding for girls.

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