Aspen Institute Reports
regional state of play
The Aspen Institute's State of Play reports for Southeast Michigan, Western New York, and Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes are the nation’s first analyses of how well a region’s stakeholders are serving the health needs of youth and communities through sports. More than 1,000 local adults and youth informed each of the three reports through interviews, roundtables, focus groups, and surveys. The reports, released in June 2017, feature original data on rates of sport participation, physical activity, and coach training. The reports were produced in partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, and Rochester Area Community Foundation. For more information, visit www.rcwjrf.org/stateofplay.
Mobile County, Alabama State of Play
The State of Play: Mobile County report analyzes the state of youth sports in Mobile County, Alabama, and offers recommendations to grow access to quality sport options for all children. The report, guided by a task force of local leaders, features results from a survey of more than 1,700 youth, 40 findings on strengths and gaps in providing access to sport, five major recommendations, one big “Game Changer” opportunity, and 24 sector-specific ideas that stakeholders could adopt.
Harlem STATE OF PLAY
The State of Play: Harlem report offers an assessment of the current state of play for kids and sports in a three-square mile area in East Harlem. The report features results from a survey of more than 1,500 youth, 40 findings on strengths and gaps in providing access to sport, five major recommendations, one big "Game Changer" opportunity, and 24 sector-specific ideas that stakeholders can plug into. State of Play: Harlem also includes unique maps of the East Harlem area and economic and health assessment if stakeholders can get youth physically active. For more info, visit here.
Baltimore State of Play
The State of Play: Baltimore report offers an assessment of the current state of play for kids and sports in a two-square mile area of East Baltimore. The report features results from a survey of nearly 2,000 youth, 40 findings on strengths and gaps in providing access to sport, five major recommendations, one big "Game Changer" opportunity, and 24 sector-specific, crowd-sourced ideas that stakeholders can plug into. State of Play: Baltimore also includes unique maps of the East Baltimore study area and economic and health impact assessment if stakeholders can get youth physically active. For more info, visit here.
national state of play
Our annual report on how well stakeholders are serving children and communities through youth sports was first released in June 2016. The second edition came out in December 2017. The third report was released in October 2018. 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.
Youth Football Report
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, 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.
sport for all, play for life
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.
physical literacy in US
Physical Literacy in the United States: A Model, Strategic Plan, and Call to Action 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.
physical literacy: A global scan
Physical Literacy: A Global Environmental Scan is the first effort to catalog physical literacy programming around the world. Three nations — Canada, Wales, and England — were selected for a deeper analysis given their especially active and developed physical literacy initiatives. The report, released in June 2015, found that each country or group has developed its own definition of physical literacy, and that the countries with the most established initiatives all deliver physical literacy programs primarily through sport and educational systems. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Council on Exercise provided support for the report. The report was authored by John O. Spengler, chair of the Sports and Physical Activity Research Collaborative and professor at the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University.
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.