Reasons for recreation and sport participation among 13-16 year old learners in Potchefstroom, South Africa
Understanding factors that motivate individuals to participate in recreation and sport is important, considering the fact that South Africa is largely an inactive nation with only 51.7% of youth aged 16-20 years taking part in sport and recreational activities (Department of Sport and Recreation, 2005). During leisure, adolescents have the opportunity to experiment with different behaviour that can lead to the development of either positive or negative behaviour. It is therefore worrying that approximately half of South Africa’s adolescents do not benefit from the positive outcomes of recreation and sport participation and are susceptible to negative leisure behaviour. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to identify the factors that motivate 13-16 year old learners in Potchefstroom, South Africa, to take part in recreation and sport activities. Learners from two urban and four semi-urban schools in Potchefstroom were recruited to participate in the study (N=248). A modified version of the Participation Motivation Questionnaire developed by Gill et al. (1983) consisting of 29 questions, was used for data collection. Mean scores of results indicate that the most important reasons for participation in recreation and sport were: to learn new things; liking things that they were good at; becoming better at doing the activities; liking to win; and wanting to develop their bodies. No practical significant differences with regard to motivational factors between the different genders were found. Practical and statistical significant differences in the importance of skills/challenge and adventure were found between black and white respondents.
Keywords: Motivational factors, recreation and sport participation.