The aim of our study was to identify and problematise messages and value principles visible in children’s stories about team selection in sport. To achieve this, we adopted a discourse analysis approach. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with 24 children aged 10–11 years who participated in four team sports in 12 different Swedish sports clubs. Based on the children’s stories, the findings reveal two discourses of team selection: one participation/inclusion-oriented and one performance/exclusion-oriented discourse in which four different forms of team selection work. The participation/inclusion-oriented discourse constructs sport as a fun game that involves all participating children. The performance/exclusion-oriented discourse shows that coaches select the best children in the team to obtain the best chance of winning games. Some of the coaches have given conflicting messages that align with both discourses, which are revealed by both the girls’ and the boys’ voices in varying degrees. The findings also demonstrate that children’s reasons for playing sport are in harmony with the participation/inclusive-oriented discourse. This discourse represents a child’s perspective, promoting every child’s right to participate under the same conditions. However, the selection procedure in both discourses exhibits strong classification, since coaches are the ones who possess the power to select.
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Hälsovetenskaper -- Idrottsvetenskap (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Health Sciences -- Sport and Fitness Sciences (hsv//eng)