Research issues and methods
Controversy around social effects, both immediate and long-term – practicing competitive sports by children and adolescents was usually associated with the phenomenon of "early specialization" [Important Z., 1994], Also promoting the idea of "fast sports careers."”, were sufficient reasons for a sociological reflection on gifted young people learning and training in the system of sports championship schools. This is the arrangement of the elements of ideas, people and resources embedded in a specific social system allows to present the problem of expectations and aspirations of sports-gifted youth in terms of the theory of institutions and functional and systemic theory [Merton R., 1982],
The subject of the presented research was the opinions and knowledge of sports youth of five intentionally selected public sports championship schools about their competitive sport.. They were young people from the following schools:
1. Secondary School Complex no 12, 00-216 Warsaw, the. Konwiktorska 5/7; figure skating – 5 people, sailing, swimming – 21.
2. VII Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. J. Słowacki, 02-067 Warsaw, the. Wawelska 46; Athletics – 58 people.
3. LIX High School Sports Championship, 01 -806 Warsaw, the. Zuga 19; athletics-37 people, fencing – 29 people, modern pentathlon – 30 people.
4. High School for them. Casimir the Great SMS, 78-600 Wałcz, the. Kilińszczaków 59, canoeing – 53, rowing – 20 people.
5. Complex of Secondary Schools of Sports Championship, 34-501 Zakopane, the. Karłowicz 6; biathlon – 12, speed skating – 22, skiing – 76.
The research was conducted in April and May 1997 year.
The subject of our interests were the attitudes of young people towards competitive sport and their opinions on competitive sport as a source of value in a wider socio-cultural system (because it is values that create norms within different spheres of life and different social systems). We were also interested in the attitudes of young people towards competitive sports, as determinants, variables, which emphasize personality dispositions in the functioning of a young athlete in the "system of action", i.e.. adaptation, achieving goals, cultivating patterns and removing tensions.
We were also interested in the course of the sports careers of young athletes, their seniority and level of sports achievements, self-evaluation of their sports performance and self-evaluation of their academic performance. Moreover, we were interested in assessing social conditions, training and learning, assessment of own abilities in achieving success in sports competition. As a consequence of these indicators, we primarily meant self-awareness of their participation in competitive sports.
Our particular intention was to reach for the athletes' knowledge of. their place and role in competitive sports in order to be able to answer the question, to what extent are these young people able to pursue the "ideas of quick sports careers"? Do these young people have sufficient potential??.
These studies were carried out by the method of sociological interview with the use of the tool, i.e.. polls Fri. "Professional sport of talented youth" [Karwacki A. 1997],
The said survey consisted of 74 questions, mostly closed, where the answers to them were about the assessments and attitudes of the respondents as well as open questions, where, in answering the questions, we were curious about their knowledge about. competitive sports and their sports biography.
The examined youth came from various social backgrounds – 47,9% the athletes surveyed came from intellectual families, a 28,8% the respondents came from working class families. The surveyed athletes are mainly adolescents in the age range 15-19 years. The most numerous representation of this group are aged athletes 16 years – 38,1% and aged 17 years-26.1%. The remaining age categories were present in a smaller percentage. In terms of gender, this group was dominated by women – 52,1 %. Students-athletes of these 5 sports championship schools represented and trained the most numerous sports disciplines such as: Athletics, skiing, fencing, canoeing. More than practiced these disciplines 75% athletes. Most (50,9%) of the studied adolescents at the time of the research had greater than 5 years of training. The sports level of the examined youth was diagnosed on the basis of sports classes, which in individual sports were assigned to athletes by the Polish Sports Associations.