Reports & Publications
Sport for All, Play for Life:
A PLAYBOOK TO GET EVERY KID IN THE GAME
For over two years, Project Play convened 300+ thought leaders in a series of roundtables, identifying ways to get and keep all children through age 12 active through sports. This report, released in January 2015, aggregates the eight most promising strategies for the eight sectors that touch the lives of children. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game is a unifying document, collecting in one place the best opportunities for stakeholders — from sport leaders to mayors, parents to policymakers — to work together to grow access to an early, positive sport experience.
NATIONAL STATE OF PLAY:
TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS
This is our annual report on how well stakeholders are serving children and communities through youth sports. The latest report was released in September 2019. The report offers grades from thought leaders on the state of youth sports, the latest data on participation rates, exclusive insights, and 40+ key developments in the past year in each of the areas of opportunity identified in our seminal 2015 report Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game. The annual report also identifies next steps in building the movement to make sport accessible and affordable to all.
COMMUNITY STATE OF PLAY:
ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In collaboration with a local partner, the Aspen Institute's community State of Play reports are analyses of how well a region’s stakeholders are serving the health needs of youth and communities through sports. For each report, more than 1,000 local adults and youth contribute through interviews, roundtables, focus groups, and surveys. These reports provide a comprehensive analysis of the current trends in youth sports, outdoor recreation and physical activity, along with concrete suggestions to mobilize the region to improve/increase opportunities for all young people.
In each State of Play effort, we work with community partners to provide the research and evidence necessary to catalyze community movement in growing access to quality sport experiences for all youth, regardless of zip code or ability. These relationships are central to creating lasting impact, combining our expertise in youth sports, landscaping communities and collective impact, with our partners’ leadership to identify and mobilize people and resources around a common goal.
To date, community reports have been completed in: Seattle–King County, WA; Hawai‘i; Mobile County, AL; East Harlem, NY; Baltimore, MD; Greater Rochester & the Finger Lakes, NY; Western New York; and Southeast Michigan.
CALLS FOR COACHES
The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program and the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development explore the role youth sports can play in developing young people’s social and emotional skills and translate research into actionable calls for coaches to implement in after-school and community-based sports leagues.
FUTURE OF FOOTBALL WHITE PAPER
The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program analyzed what if flag becomes the standard way of playing football until high school. The 27-page white paper examined the impact of such a change on public health, youth participation, Friday Night Lights, the football industry, and civic life. Our conclusion: Children, the game and communities are likely to benefit if flag football becomes the standard way of playing before high school, with proper tackling technique taught in practice settings in the age group leading into it.
PHYSICAL LITERACY IN THE UNITED STATES: A MODEL STRATEGIC PLAN, AND CALL TO ACTION
This report offers a deep dive into the central idea behind Project Play. This report builds on research showing that children with motor skills competence are more likely to stay physically active into adolescence and adulthood, identifies the populations in greatest need, and offers 150+ activation ideas. The report, released in June 2015, was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and received guidance from a 15-member, cross-sector working group.
No one can improve youth sports on their own. Since 2013, Project Play and its partners have worked collaboratively to produce many materials on youth sports. See our archive for other useful documents on what good looks like in youth sports.