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Laura Kenny: more sports clubs and different ability groups needed to get people active

By Andy Knaggs    08 Mar 2019
Four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny started cycling at the age of eight / John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images
Getting people into the clubs is a massive thing
– Laura Kenny

Britain’s most successful female Olympian believes that more sports clubs are needed to encourage people to have active lifestyles.

Speaking to Sports Management, four-time Olympic cycling champion Laura Kenny looked back to her own experiences of becoming involved in cycling as a child, joining a club, and progressing through the system, as she considered ways to get more people active.

"Personally, as a cyclist, I would say we need more clubs, because getting people into the clubs is a massive thing," said Kenny. "That’s how I started, I just joined a club with my family. You get all the advice and coaching and join a community. And I think that’s really important, to get that encouragement."

Kenny added that school also has an important part to play. "I think it’s too easy to say, 'oh well, there's only an hour in the curriculum that they have to do a week'. I think children need more than that. Not even sport, but activity – outdoor activity. I do feel that it’s really important to have an outdoor lifestyle."

Asked how sports clubs could go about attracting total beginners, she said that people need to feel a sense of belonging and that different ability groups can help.

"Beginners’ programmes are obviously great. I remember at some of the clubs I went to you had to be a certain standard, it wasn’t open to everyone. So I think if more clubs could have different groups to suit different abilities, that would be perfect. Then beginners can move through and learn from everybody.

"I think that’s important because you don’t want to be thrown in at the deep end; people want to feel like they’re part of something. They want to feel like they have a place there."

To read the entire interview, see Issue 4 2018 of Sports Management here.

Olympian  Sports Management  Laura Kenny  cyclist 
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