Sports Clubs

Guiding principles

1) The SCforH approach promotes health-enhancing sports activities

Participation in sports is the cornerstone of every SCforH initiative. Health-enhancing sports activities are typically moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic-type activities (recommended for all age groups), muscle-strengthening-type activities that involve major muscle groups (recommended for adults and seniors), or activities that are performed to improve balance and/or prevent falls (recommended for seniors). By following this principle, you will ensure that the SCforH initiative can help the participants to meet the physical activity recommendations22.

2) The SCforH approach follows well-established, evidence-based practices

To ensure its effectiveness and minimize health risks to the participants, the SCforH initiative should be grounded in well-established, evidence-based physical activity and sports promotion practices. Novel, continually-emerging sports and exercise practices, which have often been developed to attract new participants, should be carefully considered before they can be deemed safe and effective.

3) The SCforH initiatives should be implemented by qualified and competent personnel

The SCforH initiatives should be implemented by competent and qualified personnel to make sure they are delivered according to the best practices and ensure the safety of the participants. Prior to implementing any initiative, it should be ensured that the personnel have an adequate level of education, knowledge, skills, and experience. The required level of education should be defined by referring to the sport/physical activity systems recognised in the EU member states (See Electronic Toolkit, Area 3).

4) The SCforH initiatives primarily include and/or promote the sport(s) that is/are part of the sports club’s standard programme (e.g., basketball in a basketball club, rowing in a rowing club)

Adhering to this principle is important for two reasons. First, it will allow the SCforH initiative to build upon and utilize the sports club’s existing resources such as premises, equipment, and personnel, most efficiently. Second, it will ensure that the SCforH initiative does not encroach upon the activities offered by other sports clubs in the locality.

5) Participation in the SCforH initiatives poses no or only minimal health and safety risks

The SCforH initiative should be designed and managed in such a way as to ensure the highest degree of safety for its participants. This should include the use of evidence-based strategies to prevent physical injury, psychological trauma, or any other adverse health outcome. These prevention measures need to be tailored to address specific characteristics of the given sport and participant groups. Some common examples of sports injury prevention strategies can be found in the Injury Fact Sheet Series that have been produced by Sports Medicine Australia (http://sma.org.au/resources-advice/injury-fact-sheets/).

In the context of sports clubs, it is necessary for safety reasons to be aware of environmental conditions and use appropriate equipment. The indoor and/or outdoor spaces where the SCforH initiative will be practiced need to meet the safety rules, sanitary norms, and hygienic standards according to the regulations in the country and/or the municipality where the sports club is located. If no such regulations exist, those in charge of the implementation of the SCforH initiative need to ensure that their equipment and facilities adhere to relevant general safety guidelines, such as the ACSM’s Health/Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines31.

6) The SCforH initiatives take place in a ‘healthy’ environment

To support the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, even beyond the scope of physical activity promotion, SCforH initiatives should take place in a ‘healthy’ environment. For example, the sports club should not expose its participants to ‘unhealthy’ marketing campaigns. Exposure to advertisements for alcohol, performance-enhancing substances, gambling, tobacco, and ‘unhealthy’ food and beverages at sports clubs and events has the potential to negatively influence the health attitudes, intentions, and behaviour of children and adults32-24. Those in charge of the implementation of the SCforH approach should, therefore, assure that their sports club is free of such potentially ‘unhealthy’ sponsorship and marketing campaigns.

7) The SCforH approach is committed to promoting an empowering, engaging, and enjoyable social and motivational climate

One of the key pillars of the SCforH approach is that the club is committed to exposing its participants to positive experiences by fostering quality motivation and providing a positive and safe social environment. Such an approach is necessary to reduce dropout rates and increase the likelihood that members continue to participate in the sports club over a longer period of time. An example of good practice in terms of creating an empowering sporting environment is the “Promoting Adolescent Physical Activity” (PAPA) project.