Three Worlds: new directions in participant development in sport and physical activity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • D Collins
  • R Bailey
  • PA Ford
  • A MacNamara
  • G Pearce


The twin challenges of inactivity and the 2012 Olympics have tightened the focus in UK sport promotion. However, the twin track approach which treats these challenges as distinct concerns may limit the efficacy of interventions in either area. We propose that a continuum between participation, performance sport and elite achievement represents the most efficacious and logical focus for practitioners and researchers alike. We explore the genesis of this, and other problematic features through critical consideration of key theories. Finally, we propose a multidimensional approach to lifelong sport and activity participation as a theoretically justified basis for research and intervention design.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-243
Number of pages19
JournalSport Education and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Elite sport, Physical activity, Biopsychosocial approaches, Development, Performance pathways