2018 Volume 28 Issue 4 Pages 4_287-4_294
The purpose of this article was to introduce the case of the Aspen Institute Project Play and to consider a few current topics in Japanese youth sports. In 2013 this project was launched by the Aspen Institute Sports and Society Program in the U.S. Subsequently, it has produced multiple reports regarding issues surrounding youth sports in the U.S and has held annual summits to address these issues (2016, 2017). Additionally, it has succeeded in obtaining various stakeholders’ support (e.g. MLB, NBA, NBC Sports Network and NIKE) through implementation of its nationwide projects. The primary issues around childhood play/movement that Project Play has highlighted are the impact of childhood obesity and inactive lifestyles. To address these concerns, they developed eight strategies, including the “Sport for All, Play for Life Model”. This model aims to encourage all young people in the U.S to participate in competitive and/or recreational sports throughout their lives. In summary, the strengths of this project can be described as improving the cycle “research → strategy → evaluation” based on the above-referenced model. Furthermore, the vast network of stakeholders has enhanced the impact of its resources. Therefore, in the Japanese youth sports setting, it might be useful to consider the development of a similar model which encompasses both competitive and lifelong sports. Two key steps, as demonstrated by Project Play, are development of an effective network and utilizing the existing data related to youth sports in Japan.