Team Sport targets tennis and badminton;Sport in Scotland

Tes Editorial

Team Sport Scotland will have a slight shift of emphasis as it moves forward under recently appointed director Stewart Harris, who believes that sports such as gymnastics, badminton and tennis could come into the fold.

Harris says: "The main focus is on school-aged team sport but there is now a flexibility around the edges and we are beginning to develop other areas. It is not a shift in focus, more a logical follow-on."

He rejects the main criticism of the Team Sport programme that different sports are chasing the same participants. "What we are trying to do is ensure that childrenwill have a range of activities inthe 8-12 age-group. The co-ordinators are not trying to develop a governing body's thinking but are trying to allow youngsters to try different sports and there is no heavy pressure.

"That is an agreement we have all had. There is no heavy touting across the governing bodies. When we all sit around the table, we take away the sports specific issues and take off that particular sports hat and think about what's best for the young person. Most people involved are those with educational backgrounds and we know that in the long term we will receive more from that policy rather than short-term gains."

Harris is equally voluble on the subject of age. "One governing body was talking recently that a youngster needs to be a player by eight. I disagree. I think they may have to have a better foundation in terms of body movement and their ability to adapt to different sports but certainly not concentrating full-time on one sport at that age.

"We have a tremendous relationship with the teachers and we are continuing to develop a strong relationship with the bodies that represent physical education. I think it is tremendously important that we work with PE bodies. If you don't do that then you are losing a great resource both curricular and extracurricular.

"It has always been my ambition to see PE and sport working in a complementary way and not against each other and not one as a substitute for the other. That is what faces us now."

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