The leisure and sport participation patterns of high school learners in Potchefstroom

15 January 2013

Leisure and sport activities are thought to be developmentally important because it provides opportunities for skill development and the formation of social relationships during adolescence. Added to this the number and variety of leisure and sport activities create ample opportunities for participation. However, it became evident that leisure behaviour of adolescents today is not always constructive or positive and that the learners are becoming more passive. This passivity is influenced by various factors such as lack of time for leisure, too much exposure to technological means of spending leisure time, changing lifestyles and other influences. Leisure can be seen as an activity chosen in relative freedom for its qualities of satisfaction, whereas sport can be seen as organised activities focused on physical effort with some relative measurement of outcomes. The aim of this article is therefore to determine the leisure and sport participation patterns of high school learners and to indicate differences in preferences for leisure and sport activities based on socio-demographic variables. A survey was conducted at six high schools in Potchefstroom resulting in 1 036 questionnaires being used for statistical analysis. The results revealed that high school learners experience boredom in Potchefstroom, even though they have little time available per week for participation in leisure activities. When participating in leisure activities, they prefer socialising with friends, watching television or spending time on the computer. In terms of sport, respondents prefer typical school sports such as athletics, soccer and hockey. It was also noted that a large proportion of the learners visit a gymnasium. Correlations were determined between gender and sport, gender and leisure, race and sport, as well as race and leisure. It was noted that rugby and soccer were more associated with males. Although there were small practical significant differences between gender and leisure activities, it was found that males and females do not necessarily differ in their preferences of leisure activities. Females participated in leisure activities more than males. Soccer was preferred by predominantly black respondents and visits to the gymnasium by predominantly white respondents. Watching television, movies, visiting boys and socialising with friends were preferred by white respondents whereas black respondents enjoyed reading, studying, religious activities and visiting girls as leisure activities.