Developing culturally-relevant practices for sports psychologists who work with elite Aboriginal and immigrant athletes and encouraging greater sports participation in Aboriginal communities
This research will contribute to the development of culturally-relevant sport psychology practices in Canada
Culturally-Sensitive Approaches for Athletes and Sport Organizations
Culturally-sensitive approaches have long been lacking among sport psychologists. They have treated all athletes based on a universal approach developed by mainstream learning institutions. The result has been a lack of understanding of the cultural identities of athletes.
Dr. Robert Schinke, Canada Research Chair in Multicultural Sport and Physical Activity, has been working with local reserves in Northern Ontario to develop culturally-relevant approaches to motivate Aboriginal athletes. Their work has uncovered the personal, coaching and community social support practices of indigenous athletes at the community and elite levels.
As a result, Schinke anticipates that more Canadian Aboriginal youth will remain active in sport and physical activity, offsetting such health challenges as diabetes, suicide and substance abuse.
Schinke is also investigating the sport-related challenges new Canadians experience in the country’s sport system. More than 15 per cent of Canadian Olympians are immigrants, many of whom experience cultural assimilation challenges, including unfamiliar coaching practices. He is exploring how the national sport system can better understand the needs of immigrant athletes.
The answers that Schinke provides may completely change the way we look at sport and recreation services and transform the cultural sensitivity of sport offerings in Canada and abroad.