Emakumea Pilotari: The Impact of a Recreational Programme Designed with and for Female Basque Pelota Players
This study aimed to evaluate the impact of the Emakumea Pilotari (female Basque pelota player) programme organised by the Gipuzkoan Federation of Basque Pelota on the participants. The data were extracted from an ethnography carried out in the 2011-12 season in which 28 women between the ages of 20 and 60 participated; from two discussion groups held in 2013 and 2016, where 12 women between the ages of 24 and 60 participated; and from documents related to the programme. After an inductive analysis, the results suggest that the opportunity to play Basque pelota in a safe and comfortable environment facilitates female Basque pelota players’ access to this sport, since it is “their time and their day”. The sense of group belonging and the opportunity to play with a more cooperative approach created greater adherence to the task among the participants, since their participation is aimed at both interpersonal relationships and the sport activity. The female Basque pelota players feel included in this programme, as they believe that it is tailored for them, and they emphasise that the proposed exercises make all participants able to enjoy it, regardless of their playing level. Designing and implementing sports-recreational programmes exclusively with and for women can significantly increase their level of participation and their group involvement.