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Physical literacy within climbing walls.

Norman, J. P., 2020. Physical literacy within climbing walls. Masters Thesis (Masters). Bournemouth University.

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NORMAN, John Peter_M.Res._2019.pdf



The purpose of this study is to examine Physical Literacy (PL) at climbing walls, specifically investigating coaches’ expert views of whether taught climbing sessions are a valid means of contributing to the physical literacy of the children that attend them. Physical Literacy as a concept appears to be gathering momentum, with the term being conspicuous in its inclusion in both policy and academic literature, even being referenced in Sport England’s latest Active lives survey (2019). At present there is limited research connecting adventure sports such as rock climbing and the benefits to a child’s physical literacy development. Climbing presents an unusual arena for studying physical activity, being not only a physically but mentally demanding sport, where participants additionally need to deal with the fear generated from operating at height. The data collection for this qualitative study involved questionnaires as a sensitising device and semi structured interviews with coaches. The interviews delve into their expert opinions, feelings and experiences working with children in a climbing wall during organised sessions. Thematic analysis identified three themes, performance motivators, social inclusion/acceptance and facing fears. The attitude of the coaches appeared to have a positive influence on both the experience of the students and their potential physical literacy development. The coaches displayed an attitude that focussed on the individual students, striving to provide experiences that had positive and constructive meaning to the students. Although perhaps unconsciously this had the potential to develop the student’s physical literacy. Increases in confidence was the area that coaches felt students developed the most in followed by coordination and strength. In addition, climbing provided opportunities for development of the other key attributes of physical literacy, motivation, physical competence and interaction with the environment. The meaning that the coaches felt the students attached to their climbing had the potential to be positive existential and phenomenological experiences. The combination of mental and physical challenge the coaches spoke about also raised the question of whether climbing was a monist or dualist pursuit. The results of this study indicates that climbing does have the potential to be a valid means of developing some of the key attributes of physical literacy.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:physical literacy; physical activity; climbing; climbing walls; lifestyle sport; extreme sport; coaches; children
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:34419
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:10 Aug 2020 10:12
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:23


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