Athletics is activity devoted to sports, games of skill and ability, and the process of preparing and performing physical and mental capabilities for competition. Athletics ranges from local to world stages and occurs across the lifespan. Whatever stage, athletes have personal and social reasons for participating. This entry broadly describes trends of athletic participation and presents theories and research on athletic development; it also explores how athletics can be a vehicle of psychosocial development.

Athletic Participation

For many athletes, sports are a major part of life. Many play individual, team, seasonal, or year-round sports for organized competition. It is popular to sign up for athletics through school programs, private groups, and community leagues. According to the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance, in 2015, American organized and team ...

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