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Sam Kerr or Ash Barty- What social and emotional skills does it take to play sport at an elite level?

Sport plays a large role in the lives of many young people in Australia, forming an important part of their identity. Many young people strive to perform at the top level, but it takes more than just sporting ability to perform at an elite level. What sort of social and emotional skills does it take for young people to perform at the top of their game?

49 %

Half (49%) of GENERATION participants regularly participated in at least one sport in 2023.

50% of males, 51% of females and 36% of non-binary/other gender young people played at least one sport.

12 %

One in ten (12%) young people participated in both an individual and team sport. With 23% participating in at at least one individual sport, and 38% participating in at least one team sport.

11 %

11% of young people participate in an elite sport representing their town, city or state. 3% of young people played an individual sport at an elite level and 10% played a team sport at an elite level.

56 %

More females than males played sport at the top level. Of those participating in elite sports, 56% identified as female, and 44% identified as male.

Participation in team and individual sport
Participation of young people in sport
Sources & Methodology
Variable description Participation rates in individual or team sports. Participation in elite team or individual sport, representing town, city or state.
Variable time span 2023
Published by Social Research Centre
Publisher Link https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/generation
Data Source Link Generation Wave 2
CSV Data
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In Wave 2 of the GENERATION Study (2023), young people were asked about their participation in sports as an extracurricular activity. Regular participation in a sport defined as at least once a week for three months or more (e.g. a sports season).

Participation rates were higher for team sports, including football, cricket or netball, with 2 in 5 (38%) of young people participating in at least one team sport, compared with individual sports, including swimming, tennis, karate or gymnastics, with just less than a quarter (23%) participated in at least one individual sport.

While the GENERATION study asked participants about participation in team individual sports, including coaching and lessons, the Australian Sport and Physical Activity Participation Survey (AusPlay), collected data on national participation rates in sports-related activities. At a national level, 68% of young people aged 15-17 years participated in a sports-related activity at least once a week in 2022/2023. The most popular sports related activities undertaken were basketball, running/athletics, football, swimming and netball.

As part of the GENERATION Study, young people were also asked about their experience in playing sports at an elite level, representing their town, city, or state. One in ten (11%) young people played at least one sport at an elite level.

Key social and emotional skills; what increases the odds?
* note only significant results are shown below
Sources & Methodology
Variable description Odds ratio of scoring in the top tertial of results for each Social and Emotional Skill.
Variable time span 2023
Published by Social Research Centre
Publisher Link https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/generation
Data Source Link Generation Wave 2
CSV Data
PNG Image
CHART
SOURCES
DOWNLOAD
Key social emotional skills; what increases the odds?
* note only significant results are shown below
Sources & Methodology
Variable description Odds ratio of scoring in the top tertial of results for each Social and Emotional Skill.
Variable time span 2023
Published by Social Research Centre
Publisher Link https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/generation
Data Source Link Generation Wave 2
CSV Data
PNG Image
CHART
SOURCES
DOWNLOAD
Key social and emotional skills; what increases the odds?
* note only significant results are shown below
Sources & Methodology
Variable description Odds ratio of scoring in the top tertial of results for each Social and Emotional Skill.
Variable time span 2023
Published by Social Research Centre
Publisher Link https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/generation
Data Source Link Generation Wave 2
CSV Data
PNG Image
CHART
SOURCES
DOWNLOAD
We all know that being a good athlete takes more than just your sporting ability, but have you ever wondered what social and emotional skills it takes to be an athlete representing their town, city or state?

Young people were asked a series of questions to assess their Social and Emotional Skills, including creativity, curiosity, tolerance, perseverance, self-control, assertiveness, cooperation, empathy, trust, emotional control and stress resilience.

The graphs above show the odds of a young person who is participating in sports at an elite level. It demonstrates that those who engage in elite sports are more likely to score in the top third of results for each skill. A score above 1 indicating a higher likelihood of excelling in that skill.

Elite athlete, are more likely to possess certain social and emotional skills, these include leadership skills, self resilience, cooperation, and persistence.

For all elite athletes they are more likely to score highly and thereover possess strong skills in persistence, leadership, stress resilience and cooperation.
High performing individual athletes are more likely to have strong skills in persistence, leadership and stress resilience.
High performing team sport athletes are more likely to have strong skills in leadership and cooperation.

- For all elite athletes the odds of having a high score in the top third of results was 1.71 for persistence; 1.33 for leadership and 1.45 for cooperation.
- For athletes who participate in an individual sport the odds of having a high score in the top third of results was 1.74 for persistence; 1.57 for leadership and 1.51 for self resilience.
- For athletes who participate in a team sport the odds of having a high score in the top third of results was1.71 for leadership and 1.46 for cooperation.