Sport in Turkey: the Post-Islamic Republican Period

A Brief Evaluation of Development of Turkish Sport from 1839 to 1923

Although the modern Turkish Republic was officially established in 1923,
the liberalization, secularization and the democratization process of
the Republic was initiated in 1839. All of these three phases occurred
in conjunction with the Tanzimat reforms, which granted partial constitutional
rights to the Turkish people.

After the Tanzimat, the Turkish people reorganized their lives and established
organizations on voluntary and constitutional principles. The formation
of such organizations also provided leadership for sports activities within
the country. Eventually, the sport movement gained momentum. According
to Fisek, “Despite the discouragement of government, the popularity
and enthusiasm for sports were manifested” (p. 270). However, Turkish
sport had not yet set national objectives nor defined goals.

Prior to the Republican Period, between the 1650’s and the 1920’s, the
Ottoman Empire was constantly at war with one or more of her enemies,
weakening the economic and political strength of the nation. During this
period of crisis, it was only natural that the issue of sport escaped
the attention of officials. Nevertheless, it was also “…handed
over to the protection of a few rich individuals called Agas, and of sport
Tekkes (an ancient form of sport clubs) which provided shelter and management
for sport” (Fisek, 251). According to Fisek, “The largest of
all tekkes was in Istanbul and sheltered approximately 300 athletes, mostly
wrestlers” (p. 257). In some instances, services for the sports were
also provided by the Sultan’s Palace.

In the history of Turkish sport this period is remembered as the “Period
of Protectionism” (Fisek, 250). Furthermore, under the protectionist
system, entire services enhanced the athletic performance of Turkish athletes,
yet no effort was advanced for the development of the institution of sport
per se. According to Hicyilmaz, “…there was not any attempt or
any suitable approach to the problems connected with the issues of sport”
(P. 55).

Specific issues regarding sport in Turkiye gained some attention only
around the beginning of the twentieth century when some European-educated
Turkish sportsmen returned with a Western view of sports. With the help
and the experience of these sportsmen “…the system of sport began
to organize and a few national objectives” were stated (Atabeyoglu,

Around the turn of the century, the Ottoman Empire had been suffering
from severe economic and political conditions and was on the verge of
collapse. Finally, soon after WWI, the Empire was invaded and occupied
by the Allied nations of Europe. During this period of invasion, several
“Anglo-Saxon” sports entered into Turkiye.

According to Fisek, “In the cities of Izmir and Istanbul, by using
their diplomatic immunity, the staff of Embassies of England
and France were organizing athletic competitions: cricket, rugby, hockey
and soccer” (p. 249). Ertug reported that, “In 1913, in Istanbul,
the staff of the British Embassy organized a soccer tournament for the
honor of the British commander General Harrington” (p. 8). Moreover,
according to Hicyilmaz, “…by using their diplomatic privileges,
the British merchants and the staff of the British Embassy not only organized
sports competitions but also formed several sports clubs and societies”
(p. 29). It is very important to point out that prior to this period the
occurrence of such events would have been immediately banned by the government.
However, due to prevailing conditions of the occupation, the Ottoman government
was forced to remove the restrictions that blocked the formation of athletic
clubs or associations in the country. According to Howard, “Under
the terms of the Istanbul treaty, during the invasion, the Allied nations
were taking no orders from the Ottoman government” (pp. 136-137).
Taking advantage of the Ottoman government’s vulnerability, a significant
number of athletic clubs were formed, especially by the British. We cannot
interpret England’s initiative as a favor to the Turks, however, England
was not ever concerned with the physical health of the Turkish youth.
Rather, it was a very common British policy that had been used successfully,
in India and in some African nations, to develop sports facilities in
order to restrict nationalism and curb political activity. In fact, in
the early years of the occupation, the British established two soccer
clubs., “The Strugglers” and the “The Progress.” Although
there is no clear evidence, the meanings of the names of the clubs exactly
coincided with the political conditions of both England, which was “progressive,”
and the Ottoman Empire, which was “struggling” at the time.
According to Fisek, “The purpose of the formation and the orchestration
of sport clubs in Turkiye by England were entirely imperialistic”
(p. 268).

It is relevant to stress how external factors influenced the internal
creativity in every area of life in the country. In this regard, the condition
and the subsequent development of sport was not different-from, and were
heavily influenced by, the existing cultural systems in Western Europe
and America. For instance, programs in physical education were modeled
after the calisthenics of Germany and the Scandinavian countries and resembled
the sports and games from England and America. The military and civil
colleges also promoted other gymnastics programs. The first sport clubs
and societies to be organized in Turkiye, however, were those overseen
by the British in soccer and rugby.

British influence on Turkish sport was noticeable, specifically in soccer.
According to Ertug, “The first soccer and rugby club (Moda Futbol
ve Ragby Kulubu) was formed in Moda, Istanbul in 1896′ (p. 6). Although
the British introduced the majority of modern sports such as soccer, rugby,
and hockey, the Americans introduced the game of basketball. During the
occupation “…several nationalist groups were seeking an American
Mandate to protect the country from an English occupation” (Hicyilmaz,
9). According to Fisek, “In 1919, with the financial and technical
assistance of the American government via the Chester Project in Istanbul,
a branch of the YMCA was opened and basketball was introduced to the Turkish
youth” (p. 249).

In the 1890’s Turks were not permitted to participate in modern sport
events against the newly formed British sports clubs, yet some Turks hoped
to have their own sport clubs and club memberships. At the turn of the
century, the Turks’ persistence paid off and they organized their own
athletic clubs. The first clubs to be organized were “The Black Stockings
in 1899, Besiktas in 1903, Galatasaray in 1905 and Fenerbahce in 1907”
(Fisek 256). Despite the fact that the sports clubs were formed back to
back, however, their actual organized athletics were not begun until after
the declaration of the second Mesrutiyet (adoption of constitution) in
1908, which granted more personal freedoms to citizens.

For a while, however, participation in sport activities evolved rather
slowly because, “Most of the societies and clubs were initially concerned
with merely the game of soccer. Sports such as athletics or track and
field, wrestling and basketball, that attracted more attention from the
public, were added only later” (Haluk San, 12).

In the first quarter of the twentieth century, participation in sport
activities increased overwhelmingly, “…and at one point there were
so many sports clubs that for the first time the Turkish sport felt the
need for federation” (Aksin, 316). From 1903 to 1914 patterned along
the British style, a few soccer leagues such as Istanbul Futbol Birligi
(IFB) and Istanbul Futbol-Kulupleri Ligi (IFKL) were organized. Under
the British authority and with the participation of such clubs as the
Moda, Union Club, Elips and the Imogene Club, the IFB was formed in 1903.

After a series of problems the IFB dissolved in 1910 however; but In
the same year by adding a couple of Turkish clubs the former members
of the IFB reformed the IFB and established the IFKL which was dissolved
in 1914 (Fisek 284).

The objectives of the IFB and the IFKL were: scheduling and officiating
the league games according to the British system.

Since 1839, after the declaration of Tanzimat, strong nationalistic sentiments
were evoked, and Turks aspired toward increased participation in political,
cultural and educational fields. Unfortunately, such developments, including
participation in sports, were frequently discouraged and suppressed by
the Ottoman Sultans. During the reign of A. Hamit II (1876-1906) “…most
of the cultural and intellectual organizations were shut down” (Eliot,
124). According to San, Unsi and Var, “The Black Stockings club was
closed because the club organized a soccer tournament which gathered an
unexpected number of spectators” (p. 67).

Despite the fact that the Sultan A. Hamit II was determined to dismantle
the functions of most of the social, cultural and intellectual societies
or clubs, “There were a few privileged athletic clubs that functioned
regularly and freely with the help of their members who were either high-ranked
military generals or rich friends of the Sultan” (San, et. all, 30).
The Besiktas Gymnastic Club (Besiktas Jimnastik Kulubu) was one of these
privileged clubs that was formed by the special decree of the Sultan in

The Turkish sport system was never completely able to free itself from
the outmoded, pan-Islamic political views of the Ottoman Sultans. It is
important to remember that during the pre-Republican period, most people
were barred from joining sport clubs or any other type of social and intellectual
organizations. Fortunately, with the support of the nationalistic movements,
and by the turn of the twentieth century, the sport movement gradually
gained momentum and became the main source of recreation and pastime for
the Turkish youth. The enthusiasm for sports was especially manifested
by outdoor events such as soccer, grease-wrestling and running, and by
indoor calisthenics. According to Apak, “Whereas the game of soccer
was practiced during the weekends, running and wrestling competitions
were conducted at public gatherings and at festivals” (p. 352).

Such recreationally innocent gatherings actually played a decisive role
in the rise and development of Turkish nationalism in the 1910’s. Initially,
sport crowds gathered solely for the sporting event, but such gatherings
soon became a symbolic protest against the Sultanate. Sporting events
contributed to the politization of many people, and eventually the sporting
events served as a political arena.

The Connection of Sports with Physical Education

Turkiye’s sporting and physical education heritage owes a great deal
to the reformists of Tanzimat who “…adopted and applied the general
principles of the French revolution in Turkiye” (Fisek, 262). Modern
sports were completely unknown in Turkiye prior to 1860, but by 1863 school
gymnastics were an esteemed component of urban high school student life.
In almost all of these educational institutions, the “French system
of physical education and sport was practiced and instructed” (Okan,6).
According to Fisek, “The first recorded reference to a person teaching
track and field was a French gymnastics teacher, Curel, at Istanbul’s
Mekteb-i Sultani High School in 1870” (p. 262).

The birth of nationally oriented school sports was a natural result of
the introduction of western physical educational systems in Turkiye. In
addition, Turkiye’s first taste of contemporary sports was made possible
by the practice of French calisthenics on school campuses. According to
Somali, “The first high school to practice calisthenics was Istanbul’s
Kuleli Idadisi in 1863” (p. 10). At that time, the French gymnastics
program was a combination of “fencing, free-style or floor gymnastics
and shot put (Okan, 6). According to San, “By 1869 there were several
schools interested in physical education programs in their curriculum”
(p. 12). Those schools were “Kuleli Idadisi, Mekteb-i Sultani or
Galatasaray Lisesi, Mektebi Bahriye and Mektebi Harbiye’ (San, 12), the
last two of which were military academies.

The physical education classes were not designed to enhance or improve
the physical well-being of students. Rather the PE classes were designed
with such difficult program figures that allowed only the students who
had skills to perform. Therefore) most of the students were discouraged
and did not participate In physical education classes any more (P. 263).

Around the turn of the twentieth century, physical education was not
designed to teach the basic fundamentals of physical and mental health.
Even though sports in Turkish schools were electives, the more prestigious
schools gained much status by offering them, since sports instruction
was not available elsewhere, and its “Western” nature was fashionable,
generating new excitement among the students. It is not surprising that,
from the beginning, the formation and development of modern sports clubs
were initiated on the high school campuses.

Concurrently, there was a growth of in-service teaching in physical education
and coaching from Europe. “Sports and gymnastics became expensive
yet popular” (Okan, 10). Athletic clubs and associations sprung up
all over campuses with a subsequent increase in journalistic coverage
of sports, fired by readers interest at a time when sports events made
even headlines news. Fisek indicates that, “For over forty years
from 1860 to 1903 the development of Turkish sport was affected negatively
by various economic and political conditions” (p. 262). Despite the
fact that most of the modern sports in Turkiye are over a century-old,
very few of them fully developed and reached the level of their European
counterparts, nor were the standards of physical education for students
satisfactory. Basically an elitist system, it remained geared for the
physically gifted.

Development of Sport in Turkiye since 1923

After the war of independence in 1923, through the restoration of full
national and political independence and under the leadership of Ataturk,
the founder of the Republic of Turkiye, the Turks eagerly decided to liberate
themselves from any form of out-moded, pan-Islamic Ottomanist concepts.
Ataturk introduced several reforms ranging from education to religion.
The fundamental aim of these reforms was to break the centuries-old traditions,
to modernize and to elevate Turkiye to the level of Western nations. Ataturk’s
liberal and far-reaching reforms also created expanding opportunities
for the young and mostly European-educated sportsmen to revolutionize
and revive Turkish sport.

After 1923, opportunities for sports participation were broadened through
leadership provided by the formation of numerous non-government sponsored
sports clubs and associations such as the TICI, (the United Sport Clubs
Association), making possible mass participation. According to Caglar,
“There was a gradual increase in the numbers of people involved in
various sports clubs and organizations on both the competitive and the
recreational level” (p. 3).

Prior to the Republican period, there were no stated national objectives
for Turkish sport. Most of the organized sports activities, even if not
forbidden, were realistically out of the common citizen’s reach. In this
respect, the status quo of Turkish sport greatly differed from sport as
it was overtly focused in the industrialized world. During the Ottoman
Empire, sport was basically a form of amusement for the Sultan’s palace.
However, with the establishment of the new, democratic and politically
more stable Republic of Turkiye, a new organizational framework for sport
was formulated. With its theoretical premises geared toward mass participation,
the envisioned programs promised renewed popular interest and vitality.
This situation, along with the prospects of a revolutionary and improved
way of life, prompted a number of sportsmen to emphasize now aspects of

Modern Turkiye’s sporting legacy owes a great deal to those European
educated sportsmen: Selim Sirri Tarcan, Ali Sami Yen, Burhanettin Felek,
Nasuhi Baydar and Yusuf Ziya Onis who are considered the “…pioneers
of modern Turkish sport” (Sumer, 26). With their help, “Sport
and physical activity has undergone continuous expansion throughout this
half of the century’ (San, et al, 69-70). The establishment of numerous
athletic clubs, the formation of sport leagues such as ‘Cuma Ligi’, and
the development of voluntary sport associations like the United Sports
Clubs Association were all efforts of these far-sighted men.

A number of trends were occurring simultaneously in Turkish sport during
the early years of the Republic. On one hand, while most of the major,
modern sports were spreading throughout the nation, major national sports
federations were continuously expanding the number and the type of sporting
events held, including long range goals for energizing efforts and further
plans. There was also a growing awareness of the political importance
of sport so that sport started to be used to foster national pride.

On the other hand, and, “…due to the lack of sufficient finances,
there was great difficulty in improving the existing conditions of sport”
(Fisek, 310). Moreover, and perhaps most importantly of all, the traditional,
indigenous Turkish sports such as Cirit, Grease-Wrestling, Archery and
other activities were declining and becoming part of “history.’ These
traditional Turkish sports declined for several reasons; cirit, for example,
were expensive to maintain. But a more significant fact was that they
were seen as old-fashioned and not progressive, partly due to specific
British propaganda that presented Western sports to the younger Turks.

As the modern Turkish Republic was developing rapidly, the traditional
life styles of the Turkish people were also changing. According to Ceki,
“Many young people were

looking around for things to do and to replace traditional ways of living”
(p. 9). It was during this transition that modern sports received the
most ardent attention.

The young generations spent their free time playing various ball games
such as basketball; volleyball and soccer, and running or doing calisthenics.
The noblemen and the townspeople had other sporting activities such
as chess; backgammon, and various card games (Lewis, 89).

The “Halk Evleri” (folk or public houses) were formed and financed
by the government in order to fulfill the great hunger for sports and
to gratify the general public’s desire for intramural sports.

Development of Institutional Sport (1922-1992)

The organizational and administrative development of Turkish sport in
the Republican period can be divided into four periods.

I- Turkiye Idman Cemiyetleri Ittifak 1922-1936
II-Turk Spor Kurumu 1936-1936
III-Beden Terbiyesi Genel Mudurlugu 1938-1992
IV-Genclik ve Spor Bakanligi 1969-1992

I- (Turkiye Idman Cemiyetleri Ittifaki)

After the war of independence a national central organization of sport,
the TICI (Turkiye Idman Cemiyetleri Ittifaki) was formed in 1922 in order
to improve the chaotic, unsatisfactory state of Turkish sport and the
poor performance of Turkish athletes. By the joint efforts of “Selim
Sirri Tarcan, Ali Sami Yen, Burhanettin Felek and Yusuf Ziya Onis, the
major figures of Turkish sport movement, the first congress of TICI took
place” (Fisek, 255 and Sumer, 25). The TICI was the very first independently
organized, volunteer, multi-sports association, which represented Turkish
sport both nationally and internationally. The basic principles of TICI
were adopted from the Swiss sport model, the “Reglements Sportifs
de l’Union Suisse’ (Sumer, 30). The purposes of TICI were:

to direct, coordinate and advance the activities of all sport organizations;
to represent Turkish sport In international events; to Identify and
stabilize the principles of amateur and professional sport; to organize
sport competitions on a national scale; to canalize the free time of
youth for sport and to discover the new athletes, coaches and officials;
to Identify and direct the qualifications for the Olympic Games in accordance
with the National Olympic Committee; to establish and register the national
sport federations to the International sport federations, to make sport
publications (Fisek, 354-365).

For sixteen years, the Turkish sport movement was directed and controlled
by this truly democratic sport institution. Because of its populist status,
the TICI was able to develop and grow at a very fast pace. Sport clubs,
federations and societies were assembled within the various individual
national sport federations that became forming members of TICI Individual
sport federations assembled under TICI. Examples are:

  • Track & Field Federation 1922
  • Soccer Federation 1922
  • Bicycle Federation 1923
  • Fencing Federation 1923
  • Weight Lifting Federation 1923
  • Swimming & Water Sports Federation 1924
  • Skiing & Winter Sports Federation 1924
  • Horse Riding and Trap & Shooting Federation 1926
  • Basketball Federation 1934
  • Volleyball Federation 1934

Prior to the TICI, no sport organization was completely independent
and almost all of them had some political or religious linkage. With the
development of TICI, the issue of sport was temporarily freed from the
touch of politics and religion. In TIOX every form of ethnic and religious
discrimination, divisive politics and religious activities were strictly
prohibited. TICI became the sole representative and defender of Turkish
sport at every level of athletics. TICI was also “…an official
office for the National Olympic Committee [NOCI” (Ertug, 68). Fisek
reported that, “When Selim Sirri Tarcan officially established the
NOC in 1924, he was also an executive member of the TICI’ (pp. 361-362).
In fact, “In the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, the national teams were
financed and represented by TICI” (San, 6).

The 1930’s were a period of reforms, opportunities, freedom, and national
development. During this renaissance it was possible to introduce innovations,
now ideas and various experiments. On the other hand, it was also a period
of economic difficulties left over from the Great Depression. This situation
negatively affected the financial status of TICI.

During the mid-1930’s, there was a general scarcity of financial support
for TICI. Due to this lack of finances, there was great difficulty in
improving the existing conditions of Turkish sport. In 1936, in a congressional
meeting of TICI, the members and the administrative leaders of the association
voted that “The total movement of sport and physical culture should
be government supported, and made a state program” (Fisek, 266-269).
It followed that, “…the Turkish government was pushed to involve
(itself) in the issues of Turkish sport more actively” (Hicyilmaz,

The aim of this decision was to prepare for life both the athletes in
clubs and the students in classrooms. Clearly this could not have been
accomplished without the permanent financial support of the government.
During those years of financial concerns, the TICI was also suffering
politically and there were several disputes among the members of the TICI
that practically forced the organization to seek government support. “In
1936 at its eighth and final congress, the TICI first changed its name
and status and then dissolved itself forever” (Sumer, 28). With this
decision, the semi-government controlled organ of sport, known as Department
of Sport (Turk Spor Kurumu [TSK] was officially established in 1936.

2- (Turk Spor Kurumu) 1936-1938)

Due to the general economic situation, during the era of TICI, the efforts
to improve the overall status of sport and the general fitness of the
population in Turkiye met with limited success because of the lack of
sufficient resources, such as inadequate sport and recreational facilities
and expertise. Hence, in addition to the lack of resources, “The
main objectives of TICI’s member clubs were beyond the development of
mass athletics” (Fisek, 374).

Apak reports that, “‘The sport authorities of ‘TICI were making
a visible effort to maintain a certain balance between competitive sports
and mass participation” (p. 229). However, the former was frequently
sacrificed for the latter. Pressure to obtain and improve the success
level of Turkish sport in international arenas, especially in soccer where
the national team suffered heavy defeats, was one of the key factors in
placing the competitive sports ahead of mass sports. In the 1930’s, this
situation surfaced as a riveting concern for proponents of the nation’s
only political party of Republican Populist Party (RPP). A close relationship
was temporarily established between sport and party leaders. According
to Fisek, “The politicians promised to rescue Turkish sport from
its present conditions, by offering the invaluable goods and services
of RPP’ (p. 373).

Such promises created a working relationship between sport leaders and
the leaders of the RPP. Eventually, in order to alleviate the existing
conditions of sport, in 1936 in the eighth and last general congress of
TICI, the delegates voted convincingly and overwhelmingly, to abolish
itself and to establish the TSK [Turk Spor Kurumu (National Sport Association)].
In this transaction, a system parallel to the Soviet organization of sport
was created. The TSK was registered under the jurisdiction and the office
of the General Secretary of the (RPP). Sumer writes that, “With the
establishment of TSK the Turkish government began to directly and officially
involve itself in the matters of Turkish sport” (p. 29).

The TSK was presented as a hope and as a long awaited cure for the ills
of Turkish sport. According to Fisek, “It was this hope and the assurances
from the media and sport analysts that made the TICI close its doors and
hand over the association and sports to the control of the government
(p. 376).

This was the beginning of an autocratic, centrally administrated, government
controlled sport management period in Turkish sport. There were living
examples of this model in Stalin’s Soviet Union and in Hitler’s Germany,
both of which were working successfully. In fact, “The government
hired a German sport planner and organizer to help Turkish sport develop”
(Fisek, 377). For a time, this arrangement appeared to be successful.
For instance, the TSK was able to use and benefit from the various resources
of RPP such as the youth clubs, camps, folk houses, dormitories, hostels,

However, soon it was understood that the TSK was very far from being
a cure for Turkish sport. In fact, with the TSK, Turkish sport lost its
most important heritage, its legacy from the TICI as an independent, democratic
volunteer sport organization whose officers, unlike the TSK, “…were
not appointed by a higher authority but were elected’ (Sumer, 29). The
TSK could not guard the independent democratic sporting heritage of TICI,
and the further development of modern competitive sport program in Turkiye
was unsuccessfully cultivated.

Despite the slow progress under TICI, there had been indications of
growing interest among the Turkish leaders concerning the possible significance
of physical activities and sport within the context of national development.
Yet during the TSK, this essential concern was vanquished by political
ambitions of the TSK leaders. With power politics of key interest, sport
and physical education were regarded as highly valuable tools for underlining
both national health and national defense programs. Despite the fact that
these uses of sport were praiseworthy, and possibly because of politization,
Turkish sports stagnated. According to Sumer, “The battle for leadership
was the most important factor that paralyzed the functioning capacity
of the system of sport in the nation” (p. 33). Therefore, the period
of TSK “…was no more than a period of transition of sport from
an independent volunteer system to a completely controlled and centralized
system of sport administration” (Fisek, 373). The primary goal of
TSK was: “To enhance the mental and the physical health of the citizens
through organizing and developing sports and physical activities in revolutionary
and nationalistic directions” (Records of BTGM, p. 657).

3-(Beden Terbiyesi Genel Mudurlugu 1938-1992)

The attempts of TSK to centralize sport were unsuccessful. In 1938 a
special law (3530) the “Beden Terbiyesi Kanunu,” was established
in order to “…assist and promote culture and national development
in Turkiye by creating a militant youth with a nationalistic spirit to
defend Turkiye’s national sovereignty” (Fisek, 367-386). With this
law, the centralization of Turkish sport was accomplished.

Sport and physical education were considered by the government as capable
of supporting the political struggle through disciplined training of the
masses. They were further regarded as vehicles through which national
unity and national integration and national defense might be strengthened.
It was this idea that led to the establishment of the The National General
Directorate of Sport (Beden Terbiyesi Genel Mudurlugu) (BTGM) in 1936.
The directorate subsidized the hiring of coaches, the formation of sport
federations, the building and equipping of sport facilities, and the opening
of regional administration offices in the major cities. Fostering the
development of sport in general the BTGM has both major and minor departments
for all areas of athletic endeavor, as well as departments which “…plan,
conduct and supervise the training of specialists in the building of sport
facilities, international sport relations, sport politics, budgeting,
Sport Lottery’ (TBMM Zabit Ceridesi, in Fisek, pp 2-3).

The BTGM was originally signed under the authority of the Prime Ministry
but, as the governments were changed, the responsibilities and the official
administrative location of the BTGM were changed and registered under
the authority of various sport ministries. For instance, in 1969, when
the Ministry of Youth and Sport was established, the BTGM was automatically
located under this ministry:

When sport became an Issue of education, the BTGM was located under
the authority of Ministry of Education. When It became an issue of youth
then the BTGM was located under the administration of Ministry of Youth
and Sport, and when sport became a national issue then the office of
the BTGM was registered under the authority of the Prime Ministry (Fisek,

BTGM was under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Youth and

The BTGM was responsible for the development of sport in Turkiye and
“…worked in close co-operation with the various sport federations
and practically supervised their work” (Beden Terbiyesi Kanunu, madde
14, in Fisek, 367).

Since 1936 the Turkish system of sport has been a highly centralized
and controlled bureaucracy that is administrated by the supervision and
guidance of BTGM which currently uses the title or the name Genclik Spor
Genel Mudurlugu (GSGM) or the Directorate of Youth and Sport. The objectives
of the GSGM are:

to develop a bodily and mentally fit, united) revolutionist, nationalist
youth; to fertilize and spread out the sport and physical education
nation- wide; to free the citizens of Turkiye from habits of drinking
alcohol, smoking, and gambling; to develop strong and able-bodied citizens
and national soldiers for the national defense; to open new horizons
for the national youth, to organize, administer and prepare sport competitions
and represent the Turkish sport Internationally; to create opportunities
for both amateur and professional athletes to go abroad and compete
and represent the Turkish Republic In International arenas (Fisek, 386).

The underlying, nationalistic principles of sport policy of GSGM have
been centered in the principle of a sound mind in a sound body (“Saglam
Kafa Saglam Vucutta Olur”), a slogan adopted by Ataturk. A holistic
physical, mental and social development of the individual is emphasized
to prepare people for personal well-being and for potential defense of
the nation. The strengthening of the masses is considered to be of central
importance for the regime. From its inception, the most important concern
of the GSGM has been to use sport for the demonstration of national pride.
The achievements of Turkish athletes in international competitions have
provided an impetus for the rise of Turkish sport and to bring international
recognition to the nation.

4-(Genclik Spor Bakanlinligi)

The Ministry of Youth and Sport (Genclik ve Spor Bakanligi) was established
in 1969, during the government of the late Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel,
in order to bring the state and Turkish sport closer together and to give
the governing body of sport more political authority. The GSB was an attempt
to reshape Turkish sport and reemphasize its role in national development
by fostering and equipping children and youth organizations, by contributing
both to physical fitness and sport-for-all programs and by contributing
to competitive sports. The duties of GSB were to “…direct sport
in the country, to work out a legislative policy, put sport programs into
effect, and to coordinate the practical and theoretical connections or
works of federations and different physical cultural organizations”
(Fisek 413).

However, several critics reported that the objectives of GSB were part
of the objectives and the duties of several other ministries such as the
ministry of education, ministry of health and social services, ministry
of labor, ministry of village affairs, ministry of tourism and the ministry
of culture. But there was little co-operation among these various ministries
for sharing authority and responsibility. Although the GSB was granted
official responsibility, this ministry gained very little respect governmental
role in sport.

For instance, starting in 1963 Turkiye entered into the period of a five-year
development plan. According to Sumer, “In the first five-year development
plan (1963-1968) the topic of sport was not taken up” (p.106). In
the second five-year plan, sport was mentioned in but a single line, the
“Sport-for-all program should be encouraged” (Sumer, 106-107).

Moreover, during the GSB no effort was generated to close the gap between
the opportunities for city and rural youth in sport. Contrary to the objectives
and the expectations of both GSGM and GSB, sport and physical education
had been considered to be of little value in national and economic development.
Consequently, the expectations and the objectives of both the GSB and
the GSGM have not been accomplished.

As a final forfeiture, the dissolution of the GSB cost Turkish sport
a drastic budget reduction from the government. Turkish sport was left
with a low priority and sought “…technical assistance and aid from
the private sectors.” Another blow, along with the dissolution of
GSB, was the loss of the country’s best sport science and education institutions
such as the sport academies.


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2013-11-26T20:19:26+00:00March 3rd, 2008|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Management|Comments Off on Sport in Turkey: the Post-Islamic Republican Period

Types and Effects of Motor Adaptation a Left-handed Persons in Daily Life and in Contemporary Sport Training

Submitted by Wlodzimierz Starosta


In different countries there are between 5% to 50% of the left-handed people, most of whom live in Africa (Fig.1). It is estimated that there is about 240 million left-handed people around the world. So far the reasons for left-handiness have not been fully explained. There are various hypotheses that have not yet been confirmed. One of them propounds that left-handiness is innate and develops because of a dominant gene (Annett, 1981). Another hypothesis gives priority left-handedness to the  impact of the environment. There are many facts  that justify the third hypothesis according to which right-handiness steeped in and approved by tradition, preserved for hundreds of years and passed down from generation to generation, has eventually become an inborn ability (Handelsman, Smirnov, 1960; Krestownikov, 1951; Starosta 1963; 1977). It is even more plausible because, as some researchers claim (Ludwig, 1932), a human being in the course of many centuries of evolution has gone through different stages. At the very beginning he was left-handed, then ambidextrous and finally right-handed. This hypothesis can be strengthened by the fact that the relics of ambidextrous education can now be found in some societies for example in Japan.


Figure One
Fig.1. Left-handed subjects to total ratio population(%) of selected countries and according to several authors [Starosta 1995]


This hypothesis seems also to be supported by studies of numerous authors (Kreutz, et al., 1970; Passian, et al., 1969; Pocelujev, 1951; Storjohann, 1969; Suchenwirth, Gallenkamp, 1967; Szuman, 1957) which concerned the domination of the upper limb in the ontogenetic motor development of man. They show an increasing domination of the right hand in the grip of infants between thr 4th and the 11th month (Fig.2). The decreasing number of the left-handed and the both-handed with age amongst individuals of both sexes is shown also by extensive studies of many authors (Fig.3,4). The results of those studies seem to indicate a modifying role of the environment in the shaping of the dominating upper limb in man.


Figure Two
Fig.2. Right hand catch to total catch ratio (%) in new-born child in different months of life [Szuman 1957]


Figure Three
Fig.3. Ratio of right- and left-handed and ambidextrous childs in pre-school years [Pocelujev 1951]



Figure Four
Fig.4. Ratio of right- and left-handed and ambidextrous persons in different years of life n=2935 [Starosta 1995]


Living in the right-handed society, do the left-handed have to adapt to it? For centuries it was a necessity as left-handiness was considered to be a freak of nature and left-handed people were treated as inferior. This is why there are so many pejorative terms and expressions associated with left-handedness such as a lefty, a southpaw, a left-handed meaning clumsy and awkward or immoral, or the Polish expression “to get out of bed with the left leg first” meaning in English “to get out of bed on the wrong side” and another Polish expression that employs the term “left” – “to obtain something on the left” meaning in English “to obtain something on the crook.”

For centuries the left-handed have been ignored and very often even, persecuted by almost every human community. The right hand, as dominant and most important, was encouraged and maintained by religious cults. In the Middle Ages it was believed that the right hand was given by God and the left hand was given by Devil. This is why the left-handed people were persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition. There is a deep-rooted belief prevailing in the social consciousness up till now that left-handedness is a deviation from the norm, and the right-handedness is considered to be this norm. Over centuries left-handedness has been thought to be a defect, a disease and even a handicap. This is why, the whole environment of the left-handers, including parents, teachers and coaches, aimed at changing them in an attempt to develop a right hand ability in them.

Thus, under such pressure the left-handed tried to quickly adjust to the surrounding environment. This kind of adaptation carried out in the atmosphere of almost neurosis and without any didactic knowledge and experience led to numerous disorders in the whole body of a left-hander (Fig.5). These practises took place especially during the early childhood of the young people. The attempts at those more or less successful adaptations of the left handed resulted in different types of the left-handedness (Fig.6). The effects of these alterations have become a serious social problem. For example, in Germany, where there is about 8 million left-handers an Advice and Information Centre for the Left-handed and Altered Left-handers was established. Moreover a “Handbook for the Left-handed” was then published (Meyer, 1991). Due to the greater tolerance there is now a possibility of maintaining left-handedness.



Figure 5
Fig.5. The effects of transforming the left-handed into the right handed, i.e. the change of the dominant limb in everyday living [Starosta 1995]


Figure Six
Fig.6. The types of Left-Handedness in sport everyday life [Starosta 1995]


The question is how the issue of the left-handed is approached in sport? Similarly to other spheres of human life, tolerance has become in sport one of the greatest achievements. What does that mean in practice? Does that imply the possibility of taking part in training courses designed for right-handed people or its special mode for the left-handed? The left-handed person had usually adjust to the training prepared for the right-handed. Rarely did it happen that a certain element of training was provided exclusively for a left-handed person. If it happened it was the sportsman initiative and programme to do so. It is hard to determine the percentage of the left-handed who used this kind of self-improvement. In the studies of lateralisation carried out over many years I have not encountered any technique teaching programme or individualisation of training adequate for a left-handed person. Since the problem of the left-handed was non-existing in the theory of training, it was hard to expect a different situation in practice.

It was recognised neither in the theory of motor learning, nor in anthropokinetics (Szopa, 1992] nor in sport kinetics (Hirtz, et al., 1994). One of the anthropokinetics handbooks (Celikowski, et al., 1979) mentioned the problem but did not attempt at solving it. Only some publications (Fischer, 1988; Oberbeck, 1989; Osiński, 1993) approached the issue more seriously. The problem of individual sports training for the left-handed has not been solved although it affects a greater part of the population.

This is why the aim of the present paper is :

1. Presenting the types and effects of adaptation (transformation) found in those who practise different, according to the complexity, sports.

2. The search for more feasible ways of the left-handed training.

The types and effects of motor adaptation in sport.

As there was no appropriate research material available I was forced to analyse the individual cases of five distinguished sportsmen. I will be dealing with only successful cases of motor adaptation because only those were examined in the literature. The publications concerning a lateral differentiation in fitness most often cite an example of right-handed Takacs (Fig.7) – (Jokl, 1981). After losing his dominant hand he earned, in the World Championship and the Olympic Games, two gold medals for gun shooting with his left-hand. Taking into account the classification of sport disciplines according to their co-ordination complexity, the adaptation in question belongs to the first level, i.e. the easiest one (Farfel, 1960). The example of a more complex modification can be found in case of A.Grubba, top level competitor of the table tennis. It is worth noticing that this naturally left-handed player scored his greatest successes on the international arena while playing with the right hand. He was not forced to the change in the use of his dominant hand. It was rather a result of a coincidence he encountered in his childhood. The effects of this were then strengthened by his sports achievements in a discipline demanding the third and highest level of co-ordination.


Figure 7
Fig.7. The right-handed Takacs from Hungary win with the left hand in pistol shooting in the World Championship and the Olympic Games

Stadler and Bucher (1986) refer to another interesting case. They mention a left-handed M.Strupler who had played handball in a first League Swiss team for 15 years (Fig.8). Trying to adjust to his right-handed team colleagues he worked out and perfected the techniques of all game elements using both his hands. In this way he had an advantage over other players as an ambidextrous player is much more dangerous opponent to face. His left-handed throws were not always successful. The reason for that is he practised them less as his coach was not satisfied with this way of throwing. Very often the disagreement broke out between the player and his coach which ended in the coach saying”. If you make a left-handed throw to the net once more you will leave the field” (Fig.9).


Figure 8
Fig.8. The left-handed handball player M.Strupler remembered his coach telling him: “If you make a left-handed throw to the net once more, you will leave the field”


Figure 9
Fig.9. The left-handed handball player M.Strupler remembered his coach telling him: “If you make a left-handed throw to the net once more, you will leave the field”

The left-handed sportsmen are very often forced to change the dominant hand particularly in asymmetrical sports disciplines (Fig.10). For example, K. Date a left-handed tennis player from Japan who under the pressure of her family has to use the right hand during the play. Moreover, in Japan it is unacceptable, especially, for a woman to be left-handed. It has been noticed that Date takes the racket in the “forbidden” left hand in the most critical situation during a play. Despite the modification imposed on her by the closest environment she has succeeding in becoming one of the leading tennis players in the world (6th place in ATP ranking 1996).


Figure Ten
Fig.10. Classification of variants movement symmetry and asymmetry in different sport disciplines [Starosta 1990]

All human movements are adapted to the dominant hand. A higher efficiency level of one upper limb is shifted to the lower limb and limits the direction of turns in sports exercises. The right-handed perform this type of exercise into the left and consider their right leg as dominant (Starosta, 1975; 1990). Only particularly talented people may achieve success in such complex movements involving the whole body. For example, left-handed C. College won the European ice figure skating Championship. However, her further achievements were hindered by her inability to perform jumps with many turns, a complex task in terms of co-ordination. According to her new coach the difficulties stemmed from the fact that she made turns in jumps in the wrong direction. Although she had already held European Championship she had to learn jumps with turns into the right direction. This skaters modified her technical skills twice: in the early stage of her career when she learnt to perform jumps in a way typical of the right handed (turns to the left) and then adapted herself to make the jumps characteristic for the left-handed (turns to the right). In both cases the adaptation was successful. I provided the examples of those sportsmen who were successful in the change of their dominant hand (or the direction) due to different conditions, however, not all individuals show equally positive modifications. Many left-handed people, unable to adjust to the demands of the imposed training system (mainly technical-tactical preparation) intended for the right-handed, give up practising the discipline liked by them or definitely decided against exposing their left-handiness. This problem affects almost all sports disciplines. Nevertheless, it becomes more evident in these disciplines that are concerned with a lateral differentiation in the fitness of the particular parts of the body (limbs) or of the whole body.

Moreover, many publications clearly focus their attention to preoccupied with the problems of the right-handed by helping and suggesting how to defeat the left-handed (Ogurenkow, 1989). I have not come across any such publication that would give similar advice to the left-handed. Thus, it may be considered paradoxical for the members of this social minority to try to win the highest sports awards in various disciplines, for example in boxing and fencing (Fig.11), tennis (Fig.12) and table tennis (Fig.13). Taking into account the opinions of 16 specialists in table tennis I drew up a psychomotor evaluation sheet for a left-handed sportsman who (Fig.14) possess those specific abilities that are respected/and appreciated by
the right-handed. This gives rise to a situation which is conducive to the achievement of sports success by left-handed tennis players.


Figure Eleven
Fig.11. Left-handed sportsmen and his achievements in boxing and fencing [Starosta 1991]


Figure Twelve
Fig.12. Number of left-handed tennis players among 10 best competitors (according ATP ranking) in different years [Starosta 1991]


Figure Thirteen
Fig.13. Number of left-handed table tennis players among 10 world best women and men competitors (according ITTF ranking) in different years n=25 [Starosta, Perek 1991]


Figure 14
Fig.14. Technical-tactical and psychological characteristics of the left-handed table tennis players in the opinion of the table tennis specialists [Starosta 1995]


The search for more feasible ways of a training for the left-handed.

In view of the facts presented above the important question is: it is possible to consider and include, in the training programme, the aspects of psychomotor differences found in the left-handed people. Definitely “yes”. The problem is still present because the training as intended for the right-handed is not highly effective for the left-handers. The solution to the problem may be fostered by the introduction of a new concept aiming at teaching and improvement sports techniques (Starosta, 1990). The concept assumes movements symmetrization, namely equal efficiency of both sides of the body while maintaining a dominant side of the individual regardless of the sport discipline requirements (symmetrical or asymmetrical). This is a new approach in the movement training theory which offers equal opportunity for both left and right-handed without regard to the range of their technical skills (Fig.15). In addition, greater effectiveness of teaching is ensured due to the wider use of bilateral transfer, namely a more intensive activation of the other hemisphere.

The use of the proposed concept depends on the mode chosen by the trainer. He may employ the mode with a short-term and fragmented symmetrization (see Fig.15 – B). Out of 8 variants presented in the concept, a teacher may choose the one that is the most appropriate for a given sportsman (individualisation). In this way the problem of differences in the teaching of the left-handed can be solved within a training group without additional expense of time and money. The symmetrization of many exercises is not so easy simple especially in case of advanced sportsmen. Each of them possesses a different range of technical skills which should be a starting point for taking up an individualised process of symmetrization. The symmetrization of complex co-ordination movements is particularly difficult and thus it should be taught by those who know and comply with didactic principles as well as are tactful especially in dealing with the left- handed. Only then will the symmetrization of the technique be for a coach and a sportsman an interesting process of improvement a sports techniques and developing a movement co-ordination.

Figure 15
Fig.15. Variants of motor preparation and recommended pedagogical schemes [Starosta 1975]


1. Left-handed individuals in various countries of the world constitute from 5 to 50% of the whole population. As they usually live in a population of right-handed people, they must become adapted to them. The effects of such an adaptation depend on individual predisposition’s of an individual and on the relation of the others towards left-handed people.

2. Depending on the progress of the adaptation process, its consequences may be different. One of the frequently ascertained types of such adaptation was assimilation of the left-handed with the surrounding population, i.e. changing to right-handedness. As such changes were usually carried out in an atmosphere of psychological pressure and without the necessary knowledge of didactic principles, they caused numerous disturbances in the functioning of the whole organism of a left-handed individual. The consequences of such changing became a significant social problem.

3. Modern civilisation prefers right-handed individuals. Left-handed ones demand a modification of that in such a way which would take into consideration their functional distinct feature and manifestation of more considerable tolerance.

4. The current system of sports training had been prepared for right-handed individuals. This system lacks a suitable programme of teaching or individualisation of training for the left-handed. Therefore, the left-handed must adapt to this system, as they have no other choice.

5. The adaptation of the left-handed to this system of sports training has different types. It happens sometimes that left-handed individuals have the most spectacular sports successes on an international arena while using the right hand (e.g. A.Grubba in table tennis or K.Date in tennis), or thanks to being both-handed (e.g. M.Strupler in handball).

6. The analysis of the progress in sports careers of the best competitors indicated significant difficulties of the left-handed in adapting to schema of training for the right-handed, and simultaneously showed incredible adaptational possibilities of human organism. It also pointed to the existence of unsolved problem of distinct feature of sports training for the left-handed, which, after all, concerns a significant part of the population of the majority of countries in the world.

7. In solving a fragment of this complex problem some help may be attained from the original concept of teaching and improving of the sports technique based on the symmetrization of movements (equalising the fitness of both sides of the body), which enables the maintaining of a dominating side. This is a new solution in the theory of teaching of movements, which establishes equal opportunities to individuals which are left-handed and right-handed, independently of the possessed technical knowledge. It ensures an increased efficiency in teaching thanks to a fuller utilisation of the bilateral transfer.


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2015-03-20T09:59:43+00:00January 11th, 2004|Sports Exercise Science, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Types and Effects of Motor Adaptation a Left-handed Persons in Daily Life and in Contemporary Sport Training

Sports and the Environment: Ways towards achieving the sustainable development of sport

Preliminary Remark

Today, in many countries Sport and the Environment is understood as a
highly important subject. Scientists deal with this issue as well as authorities,
sports associations and conservation groups.

Above all, since the World Conference 1992 in Rio de Janeiro questions
of lifestyle are on the agenda for the environmental debate.

Sport represents a significant part of our different lifestyles and thus
automatically becomes a subject of discussion.

Many sports associations have built up professional and voluntary structures
and include environmental issues in their public relations.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), in close cooperation with
the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), hosted a World Conference
on Sport and the Environment in 1995 at which IOC President Samaranch
expressed: “The International Olympic Committee is resolved
to ensure that
the environment becomes the third dimension of the
organization of the Olympic Games, the first and second being sport and
culture. “

Subsequently to this conference a working group Sport and the Environment
was established by the IOC.

It is to be welcomed that the International Pierre de Coubertin Committee
has decided to make Sport and the Environment a central topic on the agenda
for the 4th School Forum at Genova-Arenzano 2003.

This paper is essentially practically oriented. It describes the most
important complexes of problems and shows appropriate action towards a
sustainable future of sport.

1 . Introduction

In our society sport fulfils important functions and is indeed indispensable.
It offers opportunities for physical activity in a world where physical
activity is increasingly diminishing; it promotes good health and well-being
(when pursued in moderation); and it provides a means of social contact
and ample opportunity for intensive experiences.

At the same time, however, sport can be a considerable cause of damage to
nature and the environment. Damage can occur directly as a result of the
pursuit of sports activities or the building and operation of the requisite
infrastructure, or it can be caused by indirect factors such as the use
of cars to travel to and from sports activities.

The causes of the conflict between sport and the environment
are inherent in sport itself and are also a consequence of deep-rooted
social changes; they may be understood only from this perspective. Since the
1970s, higher income, more leisure, greater mobility and increasing individualisation
have formed the basis for major and continuing changes in sport. These changes
include the following:

  • a rise in the number of people who pursue sports activities
  • a higher degree of differentiation between types of sport and sports
    equipment as well as motives and reasons
  • the use of areas hitherto unused or seldom used and areas already
    in use being opened up for new purposes
  • spread of activities to periods previously not or seldom made use
  • fewer ties with sports clubs and their traditions
  • increase in individual, spontaneous activities without proper training
  • increase in activities offered commercially and to a certain extent
    associated with aggressive advertising

Consequently, these developments have led to wider and more intensive use of
particularly attractive but, by nature, vulnerable areas. Sport is claiming
more territory, and this is continually putting numerous animal and plant
species under threat and causing the loss of natural landscapes.

Sport can not only affect nature and landscapes, but can also give rise to other
environmental damage. With regard to this problem, the use of non-renewable
resources, the emission of harmful substances during the building and operation
of sports facilities, journeys to and from these facilities, and the production
and disposal of sports equipment all play a key role.

Sports activities can cause critical damage to and endanger precious and vulnerable
locations. However, in terms of overall damage, sport tends to play a lesser
role compared to other causes such as agriculture, forestry, industry and
transport. In the analysis of conflicts between sport and the environment,
areas of overlap with other forms of land use must be taken into account.

At the same time, sport is also affected by general damage to the environment
caused by other sources. Such damage includes, for example, a large number
of devaluated watercourses, e.g. as a result of hydraulic engineering, pollution
of soil and water and air. Thus, while sport can be an obstacle to issues
of nature conservation and environmental protection, the two conflicting areas
also have common interests.

New approaches are required for resolving existing conflicts between sport
and the environment in the long term. This means, above all, orienting
conservation and utilisation concepts to the principle of sustainability
in line with the agreements reached at the Conference on Environment and
Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Sport must be included in the on-going
debate on implementation of Agenda 21, which was adopted at the conference.
The aim should be for representatives of sport and those promoting the
cause of nature conservation and environmental protection to join forces
and draw up guidelines for sustain-able development in sport.

2. Criteria for the sustainable development of sport

The model of sustainable development consists in reconciling the improvement
of economic and social living conditions with the long-term protection
of the natural basis of life in order to also give future generations the
opportunity to unfold. It not only addresses governments, but also business
and industry, all social groups and, indeed, each individual citizen.

When applied to sport, it becomes necessary to

  • promote and further develop forms of sport which are compatible with
    nature and the environment;
  • make sports-related infrastructure more environmentally compatible;
  • reduce damage to vulnerable areas;
  • secure and improve opportunities for sport and physical activity outside
    vulnerable areas;
  • preserve and increase the recreational quality of countryside and
    its enjoyment value for those doing sport.

3. Areas of action

This paper limits itself to outlining central areas of action. The areas of
action are linked to one another in a variety of different ways; considering
them in isolation fails to do justice to the complexity of the relationships.
Therefore, occasional overlaps in content are unavoidable.

3.1 Sports activities in nature and the countryside

Sport and nature conservation can be reconciled almost everywhere. Thus
conflicts arising from sports activities in nature and the countryside
are not a general problem. They seldom arise on a large scale, but tend
to be concentrated in specific locations, which are characterised by their
special attractiveness for sport, as well as by a particular vulnerability
and the need for nature protection.

Critical factors with respect to the effect of sports activities on nature
are the extent, intensity and type of sport being pursued as well as the
resilience of the natural area being used. In principle, the use of nature
for the purposes of sport should stop at the point where the type of activity
concerned considerably affects or damages nature or the rural landscape.
Thus sports activities should take into due account the degree of ecological
resilience of the area concerned.

In order to reduce the damage to vulnerable areas early on and at the
same time fulfil the task of providing for recreation, nature conservation
bodies and representatives of sport should be more involved in the planning
of opportunities in resilient landscapes. A positive impact on the recreational
value of countryside is generated as a side effect of the various nature
conservation programmes on species and biotope conservation.

In the past, some countries have developed promising approaches, above
all in the planning and management of sports and leisure activities. These
are essentially aimed at ruling out, or avoiding as far as possible, potential
conflicts and lessening existing conflicts. Numerous regulations that
have been put into practice and proved successful show that they can meet
the demands of both sport and nature conservation.

For example, leisure activities and facilities that are not tied to a
particular natural environment or geographical features should be removed
from vulnerable areas and transferred to less vulnerable areas of manmade
landscapes or situated near residential areas. A wide range of measures
such as signposting, shifting car-parks, banning traffic from certain
roads, information boards, route marking, maintaining desirable routes
and closing down undesirable routes, setting up obstacles such as water-filled
ditches or bushes all make it possible to transfer activities from vulnerable
to more resilient areas without this being noticed by the people concerned.
Supplementary measures towards the restriction of activities to certain
periods of time could be planned.

In many cases problems only arise when the same areas are used excessively
at the same time. Before the use of such areas is banned altogether, the
possibility of restricting numbers of visitors to these areas should be
examined, while taking into account social fairness. In order to avoid
inadequate enforcement, planning possibilities involving the restriction
of infrastructure should be considered (eg. limiting parking capacity,
reducing the number of cable car trips up mountains etc.). In cases where
the pursuit of sports activities causes harm only at particular times,
restrictions during these specific periods should be considered. In this
way, nature conservation requirements during the breeding or moulting
season of birds or vital periods for other animals can be respected without
banning access to areas at other times.

It is also possible to reconcile sport with nature conservation by defining
maximum permissible group sizes, restricting activities to those which
do not pose any threat in the specific situation, declaring certain areas
of countryside off-limits (eg. banks of watercourses), stipulating specific
routes (eg. along watercourses), defining maximum permissible boat lengths
or permissible type of power source or imposing the requirement of producing
specific qualifications.

Voluntary commitments should be given priority for achieving conservation
aims as they provide greater clarity for those involved. If this is not
possible or proves unsuccessful, a wide variety of different solutions
should be implemented. It is the duty of sports organisations and commercial
operators to encourage a considerite attitude to nature and the environment
by providing information about ecological aspects. However, environmental
education processes will only be effective it all those involved are willing
to respect the restrictions and acquire knowledge of nature conservation

Restrictive measures intended to protect vulnerable or over-used natural
areas are successful particularly when attractive alternatives are offered.
These should involve upgrading the land concerned in terms of the aesthetic
appeal of the landscape, ecological and recreational aspects, as well
as selecting locations which avoid the generation of high traffic volumes.
Artificial facilities (eg. climbing walls) for types of outdoor sport
which take place in nature or the countryside provide only partial relief.
They do not provide a substitute for the experience of nature and may
in the long term even serve to increase the use of and thus the pressure
on nature.

The measures suitable for avoiding and resolving conflicts arising in
connection with types of activities pursued in the countryside can be
summarised as follows:

  • Developing binding, uniform and effective regulations in areas which,
    for the sake of nature conservation, must be kept free of any use or
    certain uses
  • Developing and testing effective measures, i.e. measures which can
    be conveyed and controlled, below the level of a ban
  • Shifting activities and facilities to less vulnerable areas
  • Concentrating and managing activities (in terms of location and time)
  • Targeted expansion of supply-oriented planning in resilient areas
    where the countryside should possibly be enhanced
  • Creating artificial alternative and substitute facilities
  • Obliging all sports operators to organise their events and programmes
    such that they are compatible with nature and the environment
  • Systematically informing and educating people practising sport and
    multipliers about the possibilities for pursuing activities without
    affecting nature or the environment

3.2 Sport and physical activity in built-up areas

People who pursue recreational sports activities in nature and the countryside
mainly come from the towns. Both recreational traffic and the activities
themselves can cause considerable damage to the environment. If towns
offer more suitable opportunities for games, sports and physical activities,
it will be possible to ease the pressure on the countryside. Furthermore,
tying more people to the area where they live will help to lower environmentally
harmful traffic volumes. To this end, ways must be sought to better satisfy
the need for physical activity in the vicinity of residential areas.

In order to solve the growing problem of traffic in towns, the aim should
be to set up residential structures that put less pressure on people to
be mobile. A multifunctional approach to town planning gives rise to “towns
with short distances”. When it comes to providing residents with
sports facilities, this means that adequate and attractive opportunities
for sports, games and physical activities for all age groups must be created
or preserved in the vicinity of their homes. These opportunities should
be linked to one another via green belts with foot and cycle paths. The
“strategy of environment-friendly accessibility” is of utmost
importance for areas in the local neighbourhood offering basic opportunities
for games, sports and physical activities. If central areas suitable for
games and sports can be easily and safely reached by bicycle or public
transport by the residents of a large catchments, area, this will reduce
ecological damage due to traffic and cater for the needs of children,
the disabled, the elderly and other groups which do not have regular use
of a car.

The environmental and recreational quality of towns is becoming increasingly
important as a “soft” location advantage.

Only very cautious adjustments are required to semi-natural areas such
as these in order to make them useful. Here there is ample scope for linking
aims of nature conservation and recreation by providing semi-natural areas
which promise excitement and adventure. It is also possible to put buildings
and land to other uses and thus provide facilities for sports and physical
activities without taking up additional land. Redesigning or restructuring
former industrial buildings and estates, for example, opens up opportunities
to improve the range of recreational facilities available in a region.

Earmarking sufficiently large green areas in towns is not only in the
interests of sport (“sports-friendly town”), but also of environmental
protection (“environment­ friendly town”). In the tough battle
over different land uses, the representatives of sport and those of the
environment should join forces to set up a common lobby for more green

3.3 Sports facilities

Sports facilities affect the environment in a variety of different ways.
When describing and assessing them, a distinction can be made between
indoor and outdoor facilities. Compared to sports halls, outdoor facilities
require much more space. How this space is treated is of considerable
significance to the environment. On the one hand, the wrong choice of
location, improper care (over-fertilisation, irrigation using drinking
water, etc.) and unnecessary soil sealing can cause the loss of valuable
habitats and affect the soil and the water balance. On the other hand,
if environmental criteria are taken into account during the planning,
building and maintenance of an outdoor sports facility, especially in
conurbations, this can upgrade the area ecologically (biodiversity, microclimate
etc.) and thus increase the attractiveness of the residential environment.

Sports halls require only about 5% of the area taken up by outdoor facilities.
Excessive energy consumption and water use are the prime causes of environmental
damage in the case of sports halls. At present, an average of about 400,000
kWh of energy per year are required for operating one hall in Germany,
for instance. Today, reduction of energy consumption in sports halls is
mainly concentrated on heating/hot water supply systems, heat insulation
and lighting. Practical examples show that there is considerable potential
in sports facilities for saving energy and water. In order to exhaust
this potential, modern, resource saving technology must be installed and
user habits must be changed. Due to the large savings made as a result,
investments in energy and water often pay off within relatively short
periods. Building renovation, necessary in any case, and new building
plans provide ideal opportunities for installing environment-friendly

If environmental aspects are to be considered regularly and not just
sporadically, operators of sports facilities need systematic environmental
management. Essential elements of such management include the appointment
of an environmental officer, mandatory consideration of environmental
aspects when any decision is made, the introduction of eco-controlling,
as well as regular environmental training courses for staff.

By saving valuable resources, sports facilities designed and run on an
environmentally compatible basis can contribute enormously towards sustainable
development and thus also to the implementation of Agenda 21. This applies
in particular to climate protection through reduction of C02 emissions.

To summarise, the following steps are important for making sports facilities
more ecological:

  • Initiating and supporting green consulting services for sports facility
  • Tying government and association funding for sports facilities (grants
    and loans) to the fulfillment of environmental standards
  • Considering to a greater extent the possibility of making use of existing
    areas and buildings for sports facilities
  • Incorporating environmental management into the work of sports administrations,
    clubs, associations and commercial sports operators.

3.4 Sport and mobility

Just as in other social sub-systems, mobility requirements in sport have
increased significantly over the past years. The reasons are manifold.
Sport has not only grown in general – another important development is
the constant growth in diversity. New types of sport frequently generate
the need for a greater range of different facilities. Reaching new locations
(sports facilities or country areas) demands greater mobility.

This is particularly true in the case of activities pursued in nature
and the countryside, to which soaring numbers of people have been drawn
over many years. Since most people have to travel short or long distances
in order to pursue these kinds of activities, sports and tourism are today
more closely linked than ever before. Nowadays, sport is often even the
principal reason for travel (e.g. skiing holidays), and in other cases
the activities offered are at least an important factor in the choice
of travel destination,

Even in built-up areas, people pursuing sports activities are required
to be more mobile. This is mainly due to the geographical separation of
working, living and leisure. In particular, the fact that sports and leisure
centres are increasingly built on the periphery of towns (in green suburbs)
has increased the distance to and from sports activities. However, sport
is not only to be found in sports facilities, but, particularly in the
towns, in public areas too (parks, play areas in streets, cycle paths
etc.) Due to other priorities in town planning over the past decades,
there is now a shortage of such options. Opportunities for physical activity,
games and sports have been pushed out of town life by new roads and streets,
land sealing etc, and this has resulted in people looking more than ever
beyond the towns for the recreational facilities they need.

The sustainable development of sport requires not only the avoidance
of unnecessary traffic, but also provision and use of means of transport
that are the least harmful to the environment. The goal and the reality
are still very far apart. Mobility in sport today is primarily “auto
mobility”. Sport thus contributes considerably to traffic volumes
and thus also to climate change. Already, more than half of total distances
travelled by cars are travelled during leisure time, of which in turn,
according to a Swiss study, 25% are linked to sport.

With respect to sports activities pursued in the country, two of the
main reasons for the high level of private car use are the considerable
requirements regarding equipment and transport and the difficulties when
using public transport, particularly the limited possibilities for taking
along sports equipment, the lack of transfer facilities between stations
and actual destinations, and the fact that routes and frequency of buses
and trains are inadequate considering the leisure time demand. Amazingly,
however, even in the case of sports activities pursued in built-up areas,
private cars seem to be the absolute number-one means of trans-port, According
to a study carried out at the University of Bayreuth (Germany), three
quarters of organised adult volleyball players’ travel to their training
sessions and home matches by car or motorbike. 55% of the distances in
question, however, are 5 km at the most. Sports associations and clubs
are thus called upon to create the necessary structures for more environment-friendly
mobility on the part of their members and to encourage their members accordingly
to change their habits.

To achieve environment-friendly mobility in sport, the following should
be given priority:

  • enhancing the residential environment and expanding opportunities
    for sport, games and physical activity in public areas within the urban
  • encouraging the use of bicycles (linking sports centres to local cycle
    path networks, setting up safe places to park bicycles at sports facilities
  • making buses and trains more attractive as a means of transport during
    leisure time (routes, timetables, fares, possibilities for transporting
    sports equipment) etc.
  • improving hiring and storage facilities for sports equipment at the
    place of destination
  • increasing the awareness of those doing sports (coaches and instructors
    setting an example, lift-sharing etc.)

3.5 Sports equipment

The growth of sport and its continuing diversification into new kinds
of activity, particularly in the 1980s, led to an explosion in the market
for sports articles. Sports articles today consist of mass products.

Environmental damage can occur at any stage of the life cycle of a sports
article, namely during the acquisition of raw materials, preproduction,
actual production of the article, sales, use and disposal. Until now,
so-called end-of-pipe strategies have been predominant in the sports article
industry: these strategies focus on the subsequent reduction of pollution
that has already occurred.

The development of new sports equipment revolves almost solely around
aspects of function and fashion. Environmental aspects play a role only
in exceptional cases. For the sake of greater functionality in sports
articles, materials are often used which cause substantial ecological
damage even at the time of manu-facture, or which cause problems at the
latest when they are disposed of. The latter applies particularly to so-called
composite materials, which as a rule cannot be recycled back into the
original materials.

Supply and demand influence each other in the sports article industry
too. On the one hand, the industry has adapted its products to the serious
changes in sports and leisure and responded to the consumer’s changed
preferences. On the other hand, the industry has helped to shape sports
trends and consumer behaviour by means of new and ever more spectacular
products. Against this background, marketing sports equipment without
paying heed to the environmental damage it causes and advertisements showing
behaviour that is damaging to nature and even, in some cases, unlawful
are particularly problematic.

A more environmentally aware approach in the sports article industry
should centre on preventative rather than simply corrective environmental
protection measures. Above all, this means giving (in the future) ecological
aspects high priority even at the product development stage. The main
aims should be to minimise negative environmental effects in the life
cycles of all products and to promote substance cycles. Here, the use
of recyclable materials is especially important as is unmixed production
and the easy separability of materials used.

It is not possible to create substance cycles simply through the activities
of sports equipment manufacturers. Instead, there must be very close cooperation
between manufacturers, suppliers and dealers. Such cooperation is an absolute
prerequisite for the production of recyclable products and the development
of a functional collection and recycling system.

The key steps towards greater environmental compatibility in the sports
article industry are as follows:

  • taking ecological aspects (longevity, reparability, recyclability)
    into account even at product development stage
  • elaborating life-cycle analyses for widespread sports articles
  • checking present possibilities for recycling or environment-friendly
    disposal of widespread sports articles
  • setting up a system for collecting and recycling sports equipment
    (when the necessary prerequisites exist)
  • no more depiction by the sports article industry (manufacturers and
    outlets) of environmentally damaging sports activities in their communication
    with consumers (advertising, PR etc.)
  • setting up functional environmental management systems in companies
    in the sports equipment sector
  • spreading information on environmentally sound sport via sports dealers.

3.6 Environmental education

Due to the speed at which our natural basis of life is changing, environmental
education has become one of the major future tasks of mankind. As far
back as 1977, UNESCO declared that environmental education should be an
allembracing, life-long process which actively involves individuals in
the solution of specific problems.

In sport too, the importance of the “future task of environmental
education” is now undisputed. Avoiding and reducing sports-related
environmental damage requires the active involvement of those who pursue
sports activities. Environmental education should both encourage environment-friendly
attitudes and habits among people doing sports and ensure that planning
and legal measures for the protection of the environment are widely accepted
by generating understanding among people doing sport.

Environmental issues have now become part of the curricula of numerous
sports organisations. The purpose of environment- related basic and further
training of, for example, instructors and coaches, is intended to lend
more weight to environmental education, also as part of the normal work
of clubs and associations. The same purpose is being pursued by producing
and disseminating information material among club and association members.

Although they represent only a certain proportion of the people pursuing
sports activities, sports organisations carry special responsibility as
far as environmental education is concerned. They should not only initiate
environmental education processes, even reaching beyond the circle of
their actual members, but should also be willing to impose constraints
upon themselves and to respect limits. Sports associations and clubs and
each individual instructor, coach and supervisor should also set an example
with respect to ecological issues.

Environmental education is one important approach towards resolving and
avoiding conflicts between environment and sport, but is insufficient
on its own. More attention should be paid to the fact that educational
effects can. be produced by the structure and framework within which the
respective sports activity is purr-sued. Thus, information and education
should in future be complemented by the creation of conditions which encourage
environment friendly behaviour, There is a wide variety of opportunities
here, including obliging members to share lifts for away matches, providing
containers for waste separation or installing safe facilities for parking
bicycles (cf. item 3.3 “Sports facilities”).

To summarise, the following steps are especially important for future,
successful environmental education in sport:

  • Drawing up and implementing to a greater extent overall concepts for
    environmental education in which theory and practice are closely linked
  • Putting in place the necessary structures for ensuring adequate and
    high­ quality environmental education
  • Testing models for influencing the environmental behaviour of non-organised
    sportsmen and sportswomen
  • Holding environment-related competitions in sports
  • Developing and implementing models for sport compatible with nature
    and the environment
  • Anchoring environmental communication more firmly in the work of associations
    and clubs and in the dialogue with broad sections of the population.

4. Summary and outlook

Sport can make its own important contribution towards bringing about
the model of sustainable development and thus to the implementation of
Agenda 21 in all countries. To achieve this, sports organisations and
others involved in sport must discuss this model intensively and anchor
it firmly in their work.

Rising numbers of users and the greater and more intense use of nature
and resources (land, energy, water etc.) have undeniably increased the
damage to nature and the environment by sport. At the same time, however,
the range of strategies and measures for avoiding and resolving conflicts
between sport and nature conservation and environmental protection, is
broader than often recognised. The coordinated combination of planning,
educational and legal measures promises to be particularly successful.

In the case of nature-based sports, emphasis should be placed in the
future on developing differentiated concepts for conservation and utilisation
with regard to nature and landscape; these concepts should involve the
adaptation of the type of sport to the features of the natural area. Vulnerable
areas should be kept free of harmful activities and sports activities
should be shifted to less vulnerable but nonetheless attractive landscape.
Legal measures should only be taken if the protection objective so requires
and other mechanisms do not function.

In built-up areas, the priority is to retain and expand areas near homes
for the purpose of physical activity, games and sport. A town offering
a good quality of life must offer ample scope for physical activity. When
sports facilities are built and operated, attention must be paid to the
careful and rational use of resources. In the case of existing sports
facilities, it appears that the potential for reducing energy and water
consumption is not yet exhausted. In the process of planning and setting
up new sports facilities, environmental factors should be ranked higher
than in the past.

Sport is responsible for a significant proportion of all leisure traffic.
Shortening necessary routes by providing facilities near homes is thus
an important starting point for bringing about changes, So far, the main
means of transport for those involved in sports has been the car. The
environmental damage caused by this is often underestimated. It is therefore
extremely important to develop and increase the popularity of more environment-friendly
forms of mobility.

Today, sports articles only very rarely satisfy the conditions for ecological
product design. Thus it is hardly possible to achieve closed substance
cycles. As closed substance cycle management is a central element of sustainable
development, it is also necessary to make changes in this field.

In the search for solutions all parties involved must cooperate. This
concerns above all sports and nature conservation, commercial sports,
politics and administration, trade and industry. Without the constructive
collaboration of these groups, it will hardly be possible to find effective
and generally accepted solutions. It is vital that the group concerned
in each case become involved at an early stage in the search for solutions
to the conflict. However, the active participation of each individual
person pursuing sports activities is also necessary. Thus environment-related
information campaigns among people doing sport should be continued and,
where appropriate, expanded.

2015-03-20T09:06:17+00:00January 10th, 2004|Sports Facilities, Sports Management|Comments Off on Sports and the Environment: Ways towards achieving the sustainable development of sport

The Cross Country Program to Transform Your Team

Scope and Purpose

Cross country runners will improve their performance, and coaches can experience the empowerment of their vocation when pinpointed physiological methods and competitive focusing techniques are bonded together in periodically based training schedules. This seasonal training guide contains a definitive coaching approach to the sport of cross-country and includes a mental awareness component that compliments the physical training. In many instances an unforgettable season can occur not because the coach wins every contest he enters but because the sport of cross-country itself is transformed into a new form of interaction—one in which the composite of the season’s experience is as important as the final team scores.

Our purpose is to promote the cross-country coach to be the teacher, motivator, and central figure for a group of young people attempting to glean the satisfactions and rewards from a challenging sport. This article asks the coach to make a commitment to a new perspective–to focus on the “whole runner’ whether addressing a star performer or any other team member. Both high school and college cross country coaches can benefit from this program that has embedded in its drills and techniques the embodiment of a mind/body training system which delivers measures of success mentally, physically, and even spiritually.

Mapping Out the Season

Cross-country training is a process that starts in the warm summer months and ends in the chill of late autumn. It is above all else an activity of cycles. It is a 13-16 week season during which time the coach and team are beginning with a new base of conditioning and a year ahead full of promise and ambition. This article provides instruction in the workouts, drills, and methods used for each segment of the cross-country season. The suggestions outline an ideal season of training although we will also speak about how to handle injury and setback, so you can learn how to regroup and peak during the championship part of the season. At the end of this article, a means for reviewing how to evaluate the most important elements of the training process is explained.

Planning the Pre-Season

The season’s initial set-up for the high school, college, university, and post-collegiate coach has some dissimilarity. It is recommended that the first pre-season workouts begin on a flat grass field. We hope this minimizes a workout we call “the long sad gray line” which refers to the practice of mostly high school coaches to have their team run for an indiscriminate time along the streets with the lead runner striding smoothly in front and everyone else straggling behind. Rather from the beginning, our method emphasizes selective group training. The coach’s objective is to figure out whom to train with whom, and what workouts, and what sequence of workouts will get the entire team at full throttle when it counts most- during the championship part of the season. The genius of all groupers was Hungarian born Mihlay Igloi who was coach to many star runners who used his method for vast improvement. His mastery could be observed in watching 30 to 40 runners in six or seven groups doing all manner of workouts in different directions and various speeds and finishing the workout together. The successful cross country coach does not have to be this precise, however, understanding the nuances of applying workouts that are physiologically accurate and diverse is at the heart of this program

Segments of the Year Long Program

The flat grass surface should be at least as large as the inside of a football field and if possible accessible to locations for long continuous running. As in all successful periodization training, each segment has a goal, methods, and techniques to achieve a particular result that naturally plateaus before it blends into the next phase of training. The coach teaches new techniques and terms in each phase of the training and the methods are broken down into the physical and mental aspects of the workout. Each new phase of the season will have the group return to the grass field to learn additional techniques that are then integrated into the whole program. The goal is for all aspects of the training and for each runner in the group to reach the zenith of peak performance during the championship phase of the season

Pre-Season Workouts

The initial phase of training is the pre-season that in the U.S. season lasts from July to the end of August. In the pre-season,the goal is to learn the initial techniques that are applied in the interval part of the training plan. Our aim in all phases is to keep all team members injury free as an aerobic base of conditioning is established. The unique training techniques are physical and mental as the team is training physically but also learning how to utilize lung and mental capacities to their maximum potential.

Gaits and Tempos of Running- Initial Drills for Teaching Gaits and Tempos

The pre-season begins with instruction in the application of gaits and tempos methodology. To accomplish this the coach can face the team directly on the grass field and lead or have a team member demonstrate the forms and speeds of running used in our interval training. We all know that effective training takes a sensibility of pace and an understanding of the best forms of running movement to achieve physiological efficiency. Using perhaps a straightaway of 100 meters, the coach explains that a gait is the form of movement during the run and that the tempo is the velocity at which you move. As the coach gives these gaits and tempos names, he is developing a language to communicate his training instructions and a means to carry out his training instructions. Igloi’s terminology works well in this regard as fresh swing tempo is assuming a gait and velocity to go up to about 60% effort. Good swing tempo approaches speeds from 60 to 80%, and hard swing tempo is between 80-95% effort.

During the entire season each training phase has at least one and usually two days of training on this grass field. The terminology however can be used on all surfaces and workouts during the entire season. One of the main reasons for using the gait and tempo with the whole group initially is to make sure each runner has time to “regroup,” so the workout retains group unity. The stopwatch should be used sparingly at the beginning of the season. When used properly, the stopwatch should determine the level of conditioning rather than be a means of setting up workouts to get in shape. In the pre-season, the team learns mid pace running, so as to maximally utilize the Exercise Heart Range (220-age and 60-85% of the target numbers) and avoid sprinting that places the runners’ physiology over the Anaerobic Threshold where it is shutting down its capacities because of the presence of lactic acid.

The three weeks of pre-season will contain two kinds of workouts- intervals and long continuous runs. Interval workouts have a particular sequence of warm-up, stretching, the body of the workout, and a recovery method.

For the warm-up during pre-season, the coach can instruct with the following information.

  • Warm-Up During Pre-Season- After the team jogs together for about 5 minutes; finish the warm-up with a few easy stretches and a technique called the shake-up.

The following stretches are good for starters.

  • Fully Body Swing: Feet shoulder width apart, raise your arms and extend to the sides swinging your entire body from right to left.
  • Grape Picker: Slowly stretch both hands overhead, then stretch your right hand as high as possible, and repeat on the left side as if your were picking grapes
  • Lateral Stretch: Raise right arm straight overhead, palms up as you place your left hand on your left hip. Bend as far as possible to the left while reaching over and down to the left with your right arm. Repeat on the other side.
  • Wall Stretch: Leaning on a wall or tree moves your right foot back about two feet and place your heel down, toes straight, lean into the wall bending the left foot forward and allow your right leg to stretch. Do on the other side.
  • Skip and Shake-Up: On the grass field take a distance of maybe 60 meters begin by skipping as a child skips, only raising your knees a bit higher. Shake up by letting your muscles hand like a rag doll, and every so often throw your hands over your head and to the sides but stay mainly on your toes to loosen up our body and elevate your heartbeat to get ready for the workout. Up and down the 60 meters about 4 times is usually good to complete the warm-up.

Begin the first workout by teaching the difference between fresh, good and hard swing. Have your team run at the various tempos and they will naturally assume the gait that accomplishes the objective. The coach will do perhaps three or four 100-meter intervals with a rest period between each so the group can regather together after each segment.

Introduction of the breathing drills

Breathing Drills- Our Breath is our Awareness

The breathing techniques are taught on the grass field using the concept of the acceleration point. Usually accomplished just once at the point of acceleration, the technique known as tidal breathing propels the runner into a faster tempo half way into the interval. The coach can explain the following breathing principles to his team while standing in front of them on the grass field.

The coach can tell the team to remember that:

  • the exhale is the starting point of all breathing techniques. The sound of the exhale should reverberate like the sound of a hollow log.
  • when you use the full capacity of your lungs, your breathing begins in the diaphragm and rises to the top of your chest filling up like a balloon.
  • stored breath released properly can help accelerate you forward.
  • relaxing your lungs when stationary in between parts of the workout accelerates physical recovery.

The technique of tidal breathing teaches the runner to fill his lungs to capacity, store it for a moment, and then spring forward into a faster gait thereby increasing speed and achieving a higher heart rate without greater exertion. On the grass field, the coach can stand in front of his team and give the following instructions. “Exhale all the air out of your lungs somewhat forcefully, and then bring your arms up the sides of your body to your chest. Store the oxygen for a split moment as you imagine the fullness to the top of your throat, then turn your palms over, exhale and drive your body forward.”

Teach tidal breathing by having the group begins running at a fresh swing and at the acceleration point doing a tidal breath, which accelerates them into a good swing tempo. Tidal breathing drills have the extra capacity to allow the runners to become more aware of their lung capacity and training aid potential

The Surge Technique

Using the same location of the grass field, another technique used in the training and applied in racing to accelerate is the surge. Again on the grass field the surge allows the runners to propel forward by pressing your thumb and first finger together like a gas pedal on a car making the sound of ‘ping’ in your throat and flying forward. This technique always gets a laugh, as the coach can explain it is like pouncing forward like a tiger. Of course physiologically, your heartbeat goes to the top of the exercise heart range when you surge.

Workout Recovery

How the runners finish a workout is as or more important than how one starts. This recovery sets the day for the next workout and is part of the entire sequence of a training segment. The technique called the Full Body Recovery lets the runners “check out” their physicality, and because they are relaxed at the end of the session, it provides the coach an opportunity to begin introducing ‘positive suggestions’ that can be built later in the season into a mental exercise that prepares the team for the championships. By tightening and relaxing each part of the runner’s body beginning in the feet and rising all the way up to the runners head, a physical awareness of each section of the body becomes apparent. For instance, while the group is mingling after the training, have them stand in a semi circle and close their eyes and begin by saying, “imagine a color. A cool refreshing color. It might be gold, green, or soft blue or any color that you identify with becoming refreshed. As you are thinking of this color, press your toes, then your heels to the ground, and squinch up your feet. Imagine the color leaving from your toes when you relax.”

At the end of the recovery, as their eyes are closed, you might have the runners begin to imagine themselves “running with perfect form, and feeling strong, fluid, and in control.”

Typical Pre-Season Workout

Following the day of instruction in which you introduced the gaits, tempos, and other techniques, the pre-season conditioning for 3-4 weeks can include variations of the following:

  • Long continuous distance from 30 to 50 minutes (usually in fresh swing)
  • One longer run that will be 1½ times as far as the regular continuous run
  • On the grass field measure out distances from 60 meters to 400 meters in combinations such as 110, 150, 220, 260, 300, and 400 meters. The short intervals in sets program can have the following elements:

    10 minutes of jogging.
    Interval Segment from 80 to 400 meters using the interval language with sections that express workouts like:

    6 times 100 (50 fresh/50 good swing with tidal breath at junction).
    Finish with full body recovery.

Typical Pre-Season Week

  • Three days of continuous running from 30-one hour a day (a collegiate runner may run twice a day, etc)
  • One day of 1 ½ times longest run (For top runner this can be as long as two hours)
  • Two days of short intervals in sets (high school workout should be about 30 minutes, top runners can have interval workouts as long in duration as 1 hour and twenty minutes
  • One day of active rest or a very short easy run.

Techniques for the pre-season include: gaits and tempos, acceleration point, tidal breathing, stretches, skips shake-ups, surging, full body recovery. Optimum use of the exercise heart range and avoiding the anaerobic threshold.

Early Competition phase- Late August to the End of September

Proper running locations are necessary for maximizing results. For the early competition phase, the coach should add:

  • A loop of a mile or so of grass if possible that is relatively flat.
  • A trail that is about 30 minutes of undulating surfaces that contain some but not many hills.
  • Keep the grass field.
  • Have your continuous run trail that leaves from your front door.

The grass field introductory methods of this phase introduce the mental aspects of the training program. The thing to remember when tapping into the imagination of your team’s mental capacities to make practice more fun and enjoyable and transfers to all kinds of situations. Using your mental capacities is like training your body. It takes time and persistence, and your runners improve in increments.

The Mental Training Workout

The coach has introduced mental training techniques during the full body recovery. The team has closed their eyes and placed their mind’s eye inside their body to review their condition after the workout. On the grass field, the group has had at least six workouts of using short intervals in sets, and now we will add a few new mental awareness applications to the workouts.

The technique used in mental training on the grass field is called active visualization, and it uses the methods of soft eyes and the principles of push and pull imagery to attain the desired results. To teach the soft eyes technique, have the team stand still with their eyes closed and in their mind’s eye visualize a bird flying over a mountain- notice the smoothness of his feathers, every detail of his flight movement. Next, have the team open their eyes slightly, so they can see out and at the same time keep the image of the bird in their mind. When the team applies this to an interval run,remember this technique should only be done in a safe environment and never on a street where there are cars present or you can trip over a curb.

  • The Hand Push Drill. Have your team stand in front of you on the grass field, and after placing them in soft eyes mode, have them visualize a hand coming out of the sky. Tell them that the hand is round them and supports your whole body. Tell the runners to lean back into the hand and feel its support. Feel it all the way up your body with the top of your hand supporting your neck. Lean back into the hand for support, so that when you begin running at fresh or good swing, the hand is doing most of the work, and you are just being carried along. Feel the hand guide you up the field. This active visualization can help you when you are struggling during a race or hard practice. Moreover, you will find that the techniques effectiveness is increased using a cue to signify the end of a particular segment. To do this uses the wipe away technique by brushing your fingertips across your eyes to return to normal viewing.
  • Rope Pull Forward. On the same grass field, the coach will have the team close their eyes and face up the field towards a goal or soccer goal, tree, or any non-movable object. Face the post with soft eyes and imagine there is a harness around your body from your waist up to your chest. Actually go through the motion of throwing a harness around the post while you are in soft eyes mode and have it be connected directly to your body. Actually feel the tug of the rope as it wants to pull you towards it. Have the runners raise their hands, and when they drop it, have it signify that they are being pulled towards the post. Run towards the post at fresh or good swing, and when the run is complete, use the wipe away technique to condense and finish the segment of the workout.

Speed Play Drills

One the one-mile grass loop or the undulating trail the following two techniques can add camaraderie and structure to the workouts. The manner of speed play, going at various tempos at your own discretion, is an excellent way to reach diverse physiological goals. The following are two-speed play drills. They are called energy transfer and the 24-step formula. The first utilizes the concept of natural body heat or energy into a partner games, and the second has a duo or individual increase the heart beat into higher aspects of the exercise heart range.

  • Energy Transfer Drill. Have your team learn the energy transfer drill going up and down the flat grass field, and then they can transfer it to the one-mile grass oval or undulating trail. Begin the game of ‘energy transfer’ by facing each other, possibly with soft eyes. Rub your hands together and then place them over each other, noticing how far apart each hand must be from the other while still maintaining contact signified by the heat generated between your hands. Speed play is put into effect when one partner drops his/her hands and faces up the field while the other takes the energy into his/her own hands and places it into the other person’s. As the runner goes behind the partner to a designated spot or distance, one partner stops and faces the other maintaining the “heat” by the rubbing together of two hands and when “recharged” runs back to the starting point or next spot on the trail. This is a fun way to get your heartbeat into the top of your exercise heart range. Sometimes if you have a boys and girls team you can let them match up, and it is a little like going to the dance.
  • The 24 Step Formula is another speed play workout in prescribed “mix” of segments of 24 steps in cadence of light, moderate, and brisk tempos of walking, jogging, or running. The term 24 steps refer to the number of steps taken in each cycle of the workout. The method has nine perambulations:

    Walk: light, moderate, brisk
    Jog: light, moderate, brisk
    Run: light, moderate, brisk

If one were to move through a complete sequence, there would be eight changes of pace within 216 strides. The 24 steps refer to the cadence when the 24 Step formulas come into play. Count from one to twelve on each strike of the left or right foot. At twelve, announce the cycle such as light, moderate, or brisk to yourself. There may be a few steps of adjustment when going from a brisk back to a light cycle.

You can have your team utilize the 24 step formula method as a speed play workout or with a partner. It can be the second part of a continuous workout or as a speed play through the wooded trails.

Workouts in the Early Season

  • Continuous runs from the house from 30-50 minutes.
  • One or two days on the grass field utilizing gaits, tempos, breathing techniques, surging, and active visualization.
  • On the one-mile grass loop, you can do energy transfers with a partner or 24 steps. Also another good speed play is a few minutes of fresh or good swing with a break like 3 minutes fresh swing, one-minute jog or walk.
  • Sunday run should be 1½ times farthest run.
  • Continuous runs on the trails.

Your team will have run probably two or three tune-up races, and you may have a person or two hurt or at least somewhat injured at this juncture in the season.

What To Do With Your Injured

There are many forms of therapy from chiropractic care, massage, physical therapy, orthotics, and acupuncture. All and any can be helpful to your hurt or injured athlete. However, the best advise for the coach trying to keep his cross country team in tact without a big gap in the score is to separate out your injured and put them on their own program. It may sound simplistic, but the best advise to give a coach being driven mad with injury is to have your runner do the same workout every day while injured and at a location where he can stop whenever the pain is getting worse rather than better. Whether it is jogging on the one mile grass or doing fresh swing tempos back and forth, the runner knows how the injury is progressing in its healing process if his body knows exactly what to do each day and can gauge to go further or less. When the runner is improving, slowly integrate him or her back into the group but not too quickly or in a competitive situation.


During the racing season you can continue to meet on the grass field once a week for the short interval in sets workouts using all the gaits, tempos, and other techniques at your disposal. You can add two new workouts.

  • Continuous workouts remain the same, and you can lighten up to fresh swing on any to recover for the more difficult or precise.
  • On the grass or dirt one mile loop, measure out about 2/3 of the way around and have your team run at about 80% good swing anywhere from 3 to 6 times. You might want to break the team into two or three smaller groups. Time the run but also pay attention to the rest period and keep it to a jog if you can.
  • Let your long run remain 1½ times the continuous and let it be bit slower than before.
  • Two or three times during the 4 week period, have your team run up a gradual hill and find a flat space at the top or on an adjacent field and do about 4 times 100 meters at good swing.
  • Rest easy for meets and try to do them only every two weeks, so that you can alternative a 14-day cycle with two days of rest on either side of a 10-day period.

Tips: Continue to keep the full body recovery after at least 50% of the workouts and begin expanding the suggestions in the end phase by saying statements such as: you are feeling better and better with each race, or notice how you are rounding into shape so nicely.

The Championship Part of the Season

In the championship part of the season, you can return to the grass field and go back into a training pattern resembling the pre-season. Over the last 10 days, we will introduce a mental training for the event.

Add the following workouts

  1. On the grass field, add a set of fast 60 to 80 meter hard swings with long rest walk back runs.
  2. For one of the continuous workouts, have the whole group run together in a “pack” to gain team spirit
  3. Cease hill climbing and do one workout of only 2 or 3 times the 1000 meter run with a long rest and no pressure on the group for time (but they will run fast anyway)

Event Rehearsal

10 days before the championship, bring the team together and talk about the championship course. Ask them to write down the flowing or challenging parts of the course or have the coach write down the responses. Have the coach strategize how to break the course down into three parts- the start, mid, and finish of the race. Write down a script that covers all the aspects of the race. Some tips are to have the runners “feel strong and fluid”, “get into a bubble at the beginning of the start to get a perfect run out,” “notice the time they would like to achieve and see it on the scoreboard, finishing strong and under control.” Do the event rehearsal at least three times in the last ten days and the night before the race. It is best to do it the last time before you go to the course. If you go to stay over night before the big race, that is the perfect time for the last event rehearsal

Summary and final review

In my fifteen years of coaching, I have found various approaches and methods that insure success, both from a personal as well as professional perspective. These approaches can be separated into two distinct and wholly dissimilar philosophies that represent the likelihood of success or failure. These two cycles are the cornerstones for success or failure. They are: The Cycle of Imminent Defeat and the Cycles of Impending Success. The coach is responsible for which of these cycles he chooses.

The coach will invite a greater likelihood of failure if the:

  • team does not participate in pre-season conditioning.
  • practice does not start on time and tardiness by the team is acceptable
  • coach does not address emotional and psychological distractions.
  • coach fails to plan workouts and to provide training schedules to all participants.
  • coach loses sight of the overall purpose of the season.
  • coach does not keep the overall health and well being of his team paramount.


By studying the above cornerstones of success in review, it does well to look at the elements of the program and realize how paying attention to each segment almost guarantees success. If you start the season with an overall well conditioned team and create a program that leaves room for them to grow personally and psychologically within the context of the planned schedule, you are on the right track. When you provide every avenue for making good decisions with the welfare of each runner in mind, success will surely come your way. Watch the athletes as they mature in the program and listen closely to how they are responding and what they are saying and being successful at team cross country is one of the most rewarding experiences in all sport.

2016-04-01T09:47:25+00:00January 9th, 2004|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Coaching, Sports Exercise Science, Sports Management|Comments Off on The Cross Country Program to Transform Your Team

Speed Training Program for High School Football Players


The objective of this program was to improve the 40-yard sprint time in junior varsity and varsity high school football players. A 4-½ week speed-training program was designed for 38 high school athletes. The athletes participated 3 days per week in the program. The program consisted of specific form running on a 40-yard course at various downhill degrees of slope in addition to the normal workout of agility and lateral speed training. Each participant was timed on a flat track prior to the start of the training program and upon its completion. The overall results showed an average decrease in time in the 40-yard sprint of 0.188 seconds (range +0.01 to -0.9). All but 5 participants demonstrated an improved time. These results suggest that a standardized training program emphasizing acceleration, starting ability, stride rate, speed endurance, and stride length can improve performance in the 40-yard sprint.

Speed Training Program for High School Football Players

Football is a game that requires skill and speed. Speed is the ability to perform a movement within a short period of time (Neiman, 1995). Speed training is an important football related skill related component of physical fitness which enables a player to move from one point to another with faster response time. It has been shown that to improve speed each athlete needs to work on acceleration, starting ability, stride rate, speed endurance, and stride length (Mackenzie, 2001). To measure the affect of structured training on young athletes, a training program was carried out over 4 ½ weeks. A seven-step model developed by Dintiman, Ward, and Tellez (1998) was adapted for this program. The steps in this model are listed in Table 1. These steps were incorporated through stretching, downhill running, and agility exercises. (See Table 3)



This training program was tested on 38 young male high school players who played junior varsity and/or varsity football.


At the start of the training program, each player was timed running a 40-yard sprint on a straight flat track. Each player’s time was measured and recorded using a manual stop watch.

During Week One, in addition to the normal workout of agility and lateral speed training, 12 40-yard sprints were ran on a straight flat surface on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

During Week Two, participants ran twelve 40-yard sprints downhill at an 8 degree slope along with the normal workout of agility and lateral speed training, keeping to the 3 day a week training schedule.

The third week involved running the twelve 40-yard sprints downhill at a 16 degree slope along with the normal workout of agility and lateral speed training on Monday and Wednesday. On Friday and the following Monday of the fourth week, the players ran the 40-yard sprint downhill at a 24 degree slope along with the normal workout of agility and lateral speed training. On Wednesday and Friday of the fourth week, the players ran the 40-yard sprints downhill at a 32 degree slope along with the normal workout of agility and lateral speed training. On the last day of training, prior to timing the players progress, they ran downhill 40-yard sprint with a 40 degree slope.


On the next training day, the participants were timed running the 40-yard sprint on a flat surface. Each time was measured using a manual stop watch. Their overall time improved by 0.188 seconds (range +0.01 to -0.9 seconds). The results are listed in Table 2.


This program incorporated the ideas from Secrets of Russian Sprint Training (Occhipinti, 2001). The program’s focus was to train the body beyond its normal capacity. The overall goal was to improve speed. This program was carried out over an eight week program. The speed work was performed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with the weight training days being scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It was important that the athlete warm – up and work on flexibility to reduce the chance of injury throughout the program.

The football program was incorporated into this format with a shorter training cycle. As a result, the football program demonstrates that downhill sprints help improve leg speed. The participating athletes improved their stride rate, stride length, and speed endurance over the 4 ½ week training program as measured by their improved times in the 40-yard sprint. This indicates that this type of speed training program will be successful in reducing times in the 40 yard sprint.

Table 1.
Speed Training Steps

STEP 1: Basic training. this step develops all qualities of human movement to a level that provide a solid base on which to build each successive step. It includes programs to increase body control, strength, muscle endurance, and sustained effect.STEP 2: Functional strength and explosive movements against medium to heavy resistance. Maximum power is trained by working in an intensity range of 55 to 85 percent of your maximum intensity (1RM).STEP 3: ballistics. This step focuses on high speed sending and receiving movements.

STEP 4: Plyometrics. This rep focuses on explosive hoping, jumping, bounding, hitting, and kicking.

STEP 5: Sport loading. This step focuses on precision loading at high speed. The intensity is 85 to 100 percent of maximum speed.

STEP 6: Sprinting form and speed endurance. This step focuses on sprinting technique and improving the length of time you are abler to maintain your speed.

STEP 7: Over speed training. This step involves systematic application of sporting speed that exceeds maximum speed by 5 to 10 percent through the use of various over speed training techniques.

Adapted from Dintman, Ward, & Tellez.( 1998). Sports Speed. ( 2nd ed.)

Table 2.
Results of 40-Yard Sprint
average: 0.188 (range +0.01 to -0.9)

. image004
Figure 1. Success rate of the speed training program for high school football players

Table 3.
Speed Improvement Drills
1. 50-yard progressions: begin with a light jog, progressing up to 40 percent of maximum speed for the first 25 yards; then progress up to 60 percent of maximum the last 25 yards. Repeat the previous exercise four times, progressing as follows:First 25 Yards…Second 25 YardsSecond run: 50% max speed..70% max speed

Third run: 60% max speed..80% max speed

Fourth run: 70% max speed..90% max speed

Fifth run: 80% max speed..100% max speed

2. High knees: upright body position, good running form, emphasis on exaggerated knee lift at least parallel to the ground, Drill: Distance of 25 yards, 3 reputations, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

3. Butt Kicks: kick heels to buttocks in rapid secession using lower leg action only for the recommended distance. Drill: distance of 25 yards, 3 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

4. Crazy legs: Straddle on imaginary line and step laterally (sideways) right foot over left, left over right, etc. while moving in place. Drill: do for 15 seconds, 3 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

5. Power Slides: stand erect, feet together. With left foot, step to your left, really stretching out. Now slide the right foot to the left foot, maintaining contact with the ground. Repeat drill starting with the right foot. Drill: distance of 25 yards, 4 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

6. Carioca: shoulders square, bring feet together and move laterally using a cross over step for the recommended distance. Drill: distance of 25 yards 4 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

7. Quick feet: quick feet drills are just fast carioca. Drill: do for 15 seconds, 3 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

8. Jumping: stand erect; jump up and touch your chest with your knees. Drill: do for 15 seconds, 3 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

9. Bounding: keeping your feet together, make giant forward hops. The emphasis in bounding to gain maximum height as well as horizontal distance. Pump your arms as you bound forward. Drill: distance of 25 yards, 3 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

10. Power skipping: high knee skip. Use exaggerated forward skipping motion. Left knee, right arm up. Right knee, left arm up. Drill: distance of 25 yards, 3 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

11. Sprinting: all out sprints. Drill: distance of 50 yards, 5 repetitions, 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

Adapted from Phelps, Scott 2000, Speed Training.


Dintiman, G., Ward, B., Tellez, T. (1998). Sports Speed. ( 2nd ed.). Illinois: Human Kinetics.

Bennett, Steve. “Sprint Training Ideas 100m, 200m, & 400m.” Sydney Athletics. (30 June 2001).

Bennett, Steve. “Sprint Training Ideas for the Developing Athlete.” Sydney Athletics. 2001. (30 June 2001).

Dunton, Ross. “The Basics.” Speed Training. 1999 (5 July 2001).

MacKenzie, B. (2001, March). Speed Training Sports Coach [On-line] Available

Neiman, D. (1995). Fitness and Sports Medicine: A health-related approach. ( 3rd ed.). Mountain View, California, Mayfield Publishing Company.

Occhipinti, Mark J. “Secrets of Russian Sprint Training.” Sports Specific. 2001. (30 June 2001).

Phelps, Scott M. “Linear Speed Basics.” Speed Quest Instruction, Inc. 2001. (5 July 2001).

Phelps, Scott M. “Speed Training.” Speed Quest Instruction, Inc. 2001. (5 July 2000).

Philippe, Josian. “Athletics and Team Sports,” Speed for Sport. 2001. (5 July 2001).

2017-04-18T08:55:46+00:00January 8th, 2004|Sports Coaching, Sports Exercise Science, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Speed Training Program for High School Football Players