A1 Journal article (refereed)
Learning in sport : from life skills to existential learning (2021)

Ronkainen, N. J., Aggerholm, K., Ryba, T. V., & Allen-Collinson, J. (2021). Learning in sport : from life skills to existential learning. Sport Education and Society, 26(2), 214-227. https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2020.1712655

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ronkainen, Noora J.; Aggerholm, Kenneth; Ryba, Tatiana V.; Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn

Journal or series: Sport Education and Society

ISSN: 1357-3322

eISSN: 1470-1243

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 26

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 214-227

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2020.1712655

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67220


Youth sport is habitually promoted as an important context for learning that contributes to a person’s broader development beyond sport-specific skills. A growing body of research in this area has operated within a life skills discourse that focuses on useful, positive and decontextualised skills in the production of successful and adaptive citizens. In this paper, we argue that the ideological discourse of life skills, underpinned by ideas about sport-based positive youth development, has unduly narrowed the research on learning in sport to only what is deemed functional, teachable, and economically productive. After considering the problems associated with the currently dominant life skills approach, we explore existential learning as an alternative perspective on conceptualising and studying learning in sport. An existential approach provides a non-instrumental theory of learning with an emphasis on discontinuity, relational self and ‘becoming’, opening an avenue for exploring various forms of informal learning under-explored in sport. We discuss the applications of this alternative approach for future research and practice in learning in youth sport.

Keywords: athletes; young people; informal learning; psychological development; social development; identity (mental objects); art of living

Free keywords: positive youth development; athletes; discontinuity; informal learning; identity

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 15:48