Community & Sports Development
Cage Football is passionate about sports development in communities.
How can Cage Football help YOUR community?
The benefits of sport to an individual have long been known - whether it’s an improvement in physical, mental or social skills.
All the evidence suggests that people who play sport perform better at work or at school and are happier, healthier and more socially cohesive.
More and more evidence suggests sports projects also provide a contribution to addressing wider community issues eg unemployment, anti-social behaviour, obtaining grants etc.
In 2001 a report by the ICSSPE (International Council of Sport Science And Physical Education) found that investment in physical education resulted in a significant reduction in juvenile delinquency and violence, and social costs.
Regular physical activity in communities also brings significant economic benefits including reduced health care costs, increased productivity, healthier physical and social environments, better performing schools and work sites, and greater sports achievements.
International research indicates that every dollar invested in physical activity promotion leads to a saving of $3.2 in medical costs. Research in Iceland by Professor Thorlindsson showed a negative correlation between sport participation and the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, with more sport meaning less smoking.
Well structured sports-based initiatives offer an arena for communities to come together, helping to break down barriers between diverse communities which have historically never integrated. Sport provides people with a shared focus and a shared world, enforcing positive norms and values in society as a whole regardless of ability, gender or culture.
How can Cage Football overcome the hurdles that sports development faces?
Whilst everyone agrees that increasing sport participation (of all kinds) is better for society, getting people to change their habits and take action can be very difficult.
It helps people to increase their amount of sport, to continue with it and to excel in it.
Factors underpinning the success of sports initiatives:
- recognising that if the activity has some intrinsic value (fun, enjoyment, a change of environment), it may be more appealing and ensure adherence.
- appropriate and convenient local facilities.
- providing reassurance that ‘people just like us’ are able to participate.
- acknowledging, particularly to older people, that some physical activity will be better than none.
- recognising the importance of participants’ friendship groups in getting involved and staying involved; social belonging feeling included/accepted.
Cage Football has taken all of this into account and successfully enabled a range of people, of all abilities and ages, to get more involved in sport.
Here’s how we do it:
- The most important factor of all is that it has to be fun. A person’s enjoyment of the activity is essential if people are to stay in sports.
Cage Football offers an element of play where people can experiment and try new things to improve their skills or learn new skills. It helps to develop areas such as creativity, problem solving and sporting instinct. Most of the great football players learnt this way, by playing football on the street.
"The street taught us, Messi grew up like this. Messi taught himself instead of a coach saying 'run from cone to cone with the ball, do this, do that'."Johan Cruyff (Telegraph 24/10/2008)
More structured coaching formats whilst valuable can also feel more pressured and stressed and sometimes cliquey.
Cage Football aims to raise the positive profile of young people and show them how to play on their estates in a fun, respectful and safe way. It also has a naturally fun and laid back feel to it that has proven to be extremely attractive in gaining and keeping new participants.
The second most important factor is that people have local and convenient facilities. Particularly in inner cities, there just aren’t the facilities and a significant proportion of people have neither the will nor the means to get to sporting facilities. We can no longer wait for people to come to us - WE HAVE TO GO TO THEM.
Cage Football has been specifically designed to be as portable as possible and can be set up in a short amount of time almost anywhere that is flat. This allows people to trial, observe and experiment with football (and other sports that can be set up in the cage) with very little effort or commitment.
Almost anyone can play Cage Football. It is great fun for the young, old, male, female, those with both mental and physical disabilities and those without. The games are short and intense meaning that your involvement and interest are kept at optimal levels the whole time. The ability to increase and decrease the size of the cage means it also lends itself to other possibilities (e.g. wheelchair basketball)
With games lasting 2 minutes each it can be a great way to give someone a gentle and friendly nudge in the right sporting direction. It is a lot easier to get someone to try something for 2 minutes rather than 90. And as anyone who has played will tell you, 2 minutes is more than enough to work up a sweat regardless of how fit you are.
The cage is often met with large amounts of curiosity as people gather round it to see what is going on. Just standing around watching sport can help bring people together, giving them a common experience. The small teams mean every player is important and a vital part of something.
How can Cage Football change people’s habits
in the long-run?
without much playing time certainly earns my respect."
Whatever its trigger a break from sport acquires a momentum of its own. The longer someone stays away from sport the harder it is for them to get back into it. It is a vicious circle and that is particularly evident with women.
Women's Sports Foundation research shows that boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 9 are equally interested in sports participation. By the age of 14, girls drop out of sport at a rate that is six times greater than boys.
Cage Football is interested in increasing the number of women playing sport so that they too can gain the psychological, physiological and sociological benefits of sports participation.
Whilst Cage Football is loved by the girls who have played it, the cage can also be adapted for other activities including hockey, basketball, netball, or street dance exhibitions.
If you have stopped (or never started) playing sport then Cage Football offers a great way to help people take small steps back into sport, bridging the gap between the street and a sports club. Once confidence and enjoyment in sport is restored through Cage Football, people can then feel more able to join other sporting clubs – this is good news for both the individuals and the sports clubs.
Cage Football is fast and brings excitement and exertion; allows people to demonstrate great skill and helps create a group environment. The short games also make it ideal for people with short attention spans or learning difficulties.
- Cage Football can bridge the gap between the community and sports clubs giving people of all ages and ability the opportunity to take part in sport, develop their skills and lead a healthier lifestyle.
- Just the presence of the cage can make it easier for organisations to interact with a community. By giving youngsters something to do it prevents them from ‘hanging about’ the streets or getting bored at home.
- It offers the perfect platform to engage with young people from all backgrounds including disengaged groups; school truants; young offenders, and people from disadvantaged communities in areas affected by youth crime and anti-social behaviour.