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3. Results


The data was analysed thematically using Braun and Clarke’s familiar 2006 method which includes the iterative steps of familiarisation, coding, theming, reviewing themes, defining, and naming themes, and writing. The outcome of this process resulted in the creation and organisation of five themes, each with their own related sub-themes. Figure 1 is a visual representation of those themes and sub-themes. Please see appendix 1 for a full list of the codes which have contributed to the themes and sub-themes. 

Figure 1.Visual representation of the themes and sub-themes of the barriers to participation and progression along the recognised sporting pathway. 

Disagreeable Experiences(Lack of) EnjoymentSport CultureThe Physical EnvironmentPersonal Relationships
Competing PrioritiesEducationSport CommitmentsOther Interests and Commitments 
Logistical ChallengesTransportFinancial  
Absence of Coping SkillsHarnessing Motivation and CommitmentDealing with PressureDealing with Poor PerformanceDealing with the Physical Demands
Unfavourable PerceptionsWhat the Sport Can OfferPathway AwarenessPathway Perceptions 


Themes focus on the barriers to participation and progression along the recognised sporting pathway. Each theme begins with a brief description and overview, followed by an expansion of each sub-theme, and lastly an outline of the solutions mentioned by the participants of the study. 

It is important to note however that participants didn’t exclusively discuss barriers during focus groups, but also spoke of positive elements of the pathway(s) they were involved in, enjoyable experiences and relationships they had, and factors which support their ultimate progression along the pathway. For example, participants spoke at length of supportive coaches and parents, their enjoyable experiences of certain competitions and successes, and their desire to fulfil certain ambitions within the sport moving forward. 

However, the focus of the current report is to understand and share the factors which inhibit progression to and within recognised sporting pathways. Therefore, although the results that follow talk mainly to the barriers perceived and experienced by young people, it is not the intention of the report to present a wholly bleak view of sports and sporting pathways, but instead, to relay the issues articulated by young people from their perspective and to consider what can be done better in future. 

It is also important to note that the ‘participant cited solutions’ sections do not contain every possible solution to the barriers presented, but instead are suggestions organically presented by participants within the interviews. These sections also include reference to some of the facilitators and supportive factors which lead to the maintaining within and progression along a sporting pathway, as articulated by young people. Further possible solutions and considerations are discussed more fully towards the end of the report in the ‘considerations’ section.