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Wrap Around with Dr. Dan Zimet, Sport Psychologist
Welcome to the first edition of ‘Wrap Around’! Have a question about the greatest game played with a ball? Send it in to MDHandball@hotmail.com, where each month a new question will be addressed by Dr. Zimet and many of our games greatest legends.
In the last issue of Wrap Around we explored the depressingly negative trend of sport and physical activity participation. Let’s now turn our attention towards the more optimistic subject of sport development.
WHAT is a sport development system (SDS)?
A SDS is a clearly articulated, structured, and comprehensive plan with two main goals: increase participation and improve player ability.
WHO plays a role in the sport development system?
For community based sports like handball, three groups of volunteers play a role: 1) community volunteers; 2) a national organization; and 3) regional/state/community organizations (for a summary of roles and responsibilities, see table).
Community Volunteers. Pretty much everything in community sports is accomplished by volunteers, who are typically athletes (or retired athletes) committed to perpetuating a sport they love. These volunteers play varied, comprehensive, and impactful roles in their sport.
National organizations. The responsibility of a national organization is largely in the realm of oversight and leadership. As a general rule, it imposes expectations for all volunteer involvement and the training necessary to accomplish its goals.
Regional organizations support the mission of the national organization at the community level through implementation of programming via local volunteers.
The SDS is much like a living organism, where the national organization is the brain, communicating instructions through the peripheral nervous system (local organizations), which in turn give direction to the body (community volunteers) about how to impact the environment. These systems are highly interdependent, making communication essential. A body without a brain is at best ineffective and at worst dangerous; the mind without a body has practically no ability to impact the environment. In community sports, everyone who is part of the developmental system is a volunteer – including organizational members at all levels. In point of fact, members of the national and state organizations are often the most generous volunteers, taking on necessary but often thankless, time consuming and unpopular jobs.
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