Study aims to improve community sports

Julie Stevens

Julie Stevens and Paul Jurbala are researching how to improve leadership in Canadian sports.

Brock researchers are helping build stronger coaches and athletes through a new research project that benefits community sports.

Researchers in the Centre for Sport Capacity are working on improving leadership in community sports. The three-year project is in collaboration with Canadian Sport for Life, Basketball Ontario, the Ontario Soccer Association, the Ontario Volleyball Association and the Toronto Sport Council.

“Understanding how community sport organizations manage change will be a key element of the project,” said Paul Jurbala, a PhD student in Sport Management.

With a grant of $482,600, workshops and training will be developed for community sports clubs and associations. The goal of the programs is to increase the community and provincial sport system capacity and encourage the quality of sport participation. The overall goal is to have a more active population and athletes empowered to reach their goals, said Julie Stevens, director of the Centre for Sport Capacity.

“The lessons learned will help to support real sustainable change at the local level,” she said.

The potential benefits are widespread. Sport is the largest volunteer activity in Canada, with more than 33,000 community sport organizations across the country, Jurbala said.

“This is a huge social phenomenon that has an impact on the lives of most Canadians, typically young Canadians.”

As the project progresses, Stevens will work with Jurbala to direct the research in community sport and conduct project evaluations. The research will identify community leaders in provincial sport organizations, help them train champions and empower community sport organizations to implement the changes.

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