A “Sport for Life” model focuses on the general framework of Long-Term Athlete Development with special reference to growth, maturation and development, trainability, and sport and recreation system alignment and integration. It incorporates information from a number of sources and draws on the experiences of community organization’s best practices. A best practice sport and recreation model is inclusive, allowing for continued participation whether you are a high performing athlete or someone who loves to play or engage in some form of physical activity because it’s fun and healthy. The difference between this new model and the old “pyramid” model is that the bottom level emphasizes the importance of teaching “Physical Literacy” to the entire population, with a goal of maintaining 100% of the population in some form of sport or physical activity throughout ones life. In young ages before the adolescent growth spurt, if there is proper introduction to essential fundamental movement and sport skills in a variety of environments, everyone can feel confident in their abilities to remain involved in a sport or recreational activity. In this new paradigm, there is no point at which a person is eliminated from participating in physical activity.
Developing “Physical Literacy” is at the root of The Utah Sport for Life model. It focuses on our youth, yet it identifies the importance of including the entire population within a sport and physical activity environment. Participation in sport teaches valuable lessons such as, teamwork, fair play and goal setting. It’s also a main ingredient in maintaining a healthy body and a healthy community, making this all-inclusive approach integral to the success of every community.