1] An increase in self-esteem and self-confidence. When a young person attends our session for the first time they have often never played American football but may have seen it on tv so will have a sense of the newness of the activity, which may result in a lack of confidence. As the young person continues to attend and build relationships within the team with other young people and the activity coordinators, they begin to notice a change in themselves physically and an increase in self -esteem, as a result of positive interactions between the young person and activity coordinator, as well as support for each other among the young participants.
2] An increase in ability to manage personal and social relationships. Any type of team activity encourages communication between participants and the development of social skills, along with friendships between participants.
3] An increase in learning and developing new skills. Learning a new sport involves opportunities for learning physical moves such as ‘plays’ in the execution of the sport as well as mental strategies for winning the game.
Every move has an impact on more than just the individual and so an awareness of being part of a greater whole, with a common purpose and shared outcomes, the least of these being winning the game, although this is not always remembered by the participant in the heat of the moment! TDUK aims to develop that sense of being valuable to the group and all having a part to play. Winning a game or tournament is secondary, although winning and losing are valuable life lessons in themselves.
It also involves a degree of self- awareness and awareness of other players in your team.
4] An ability to contribute to a positive group atmospheres. This is vital to effective TDUK sessions and respecting each other forms part of this process. We also encourage our young people to engage fully in the sessions, so they get the most out of the experience and because our focus is developing our young people, not winning, the atmosphere tends to be light -hearted and fun.
5] Build the capacity of young people to consider risk, make reasoned decisions and take control. As there is an element of contact in the activities (unexpected rather than planned contact) we explore risk in the context of the activity and encourage the young person to be aware of their own thoughts and feelings about the activities, and feed back to the activity coordinators. This encourages a sense of autonomy, even within a group, and the ability to make reasoned decisions which take into consideration both the individual and the group.
6] Develop a ‘world view’ which widens horizons and invites social commitment. TDUK uses American Football as a vehicle as it is an international sport, played in many countries with a league which exists outside the UK, as well having a UK- based league. Exposure to this sport means exposure to values and cultural norms which are new to the young person or expressed in a new way. This broadens the participants’ awareness of the world outside and their connection to it, hopefully leading to a sense of value within that broader community.