New book offers fresh insight on community sport

A new book exploring issues, best practice and policy implications in community sport is set to stimulate plenty of debate amongst frontline practitioners.

Authors Rob Wilson and Chris Platts have collected insight from a range of protagonists in grass-roots sport and physical activity who now teach and research at Sheffield Hallam University. These include those with experience of coaching, physical education, local authorities, events, academia, traditional sports clubs, the third sector and government.

Aimed primarily at first- and second-year students on sport-related degree courses, Managing and Developing Community Sport, published by Routledge, is full of practical examples and guidance that will also help anyone charged with delivering sustainable community sport.

"It challenges the status quo, offers critical analysis and asks important questions," co-author Platts tells ConnectSport.

"It combines the theoretical aspects that we teach as lecturers with the practical aspects of areas such as sports coaching, sports management and leadership, development, events and facilities, funding and budgeting, engaging with volunteers, corporate social responsibility and monitoring and evaluation.

"Each section sets up scenarios and evidence-based dilemmas with some review questions at the end to help facilitate debate. It offers frontline sport delivery staff practical, up-to-date help in areas of social pressure that government, local authorities and communities are looking to address; health, improving participation, inequality, crime, family breakdown and immigration, to name a few."

Platts is a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University who has a PhD in the sociology of sport and exercise, as well as being a Level 2 community hockey coach. Co-author Wilson, a principal lecturer and active researcher with the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC), is an expert in the financial side of sport.

Platts added: "One of the questions we are always asked as academics is, 'How are we actually bridging the gap between what's studied at university and the front line? You're doing all this research, where's your impact?' This book is part of our response to that.

"We pose many challenging questions such as the role of sports in addressing social issues. Are they the panacea everyone thinks them to be? The rise of Parkrun, Zumba, lifestyle activities and other non-traditional, non-competitive physical activities is often where the impact can be maximised."

For more information about 'Managing and Developing Community Sport', click here.