Satisfaction Levels of Elite Track and Field Athletes in South Korea

Abstract

The general problem of this study was to examine the level of satisfaction of elite track and field athletes in South Korea with six factors; facilities, equipment, financial support, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership.

The subjects were 194 track and field athletes who were selected from a 1997 ranking list of the top five athletes in each track and field event. A survey questionnaire was distributed to each subject with a return rate of 80% (N = 168). Statistical analyses were conducted using the SPSS-Window statistical package. Descriptive statistics, independent t-tests, one-way ANOVA and Post Hoc tests were used to analyze the data.

Results of this study indicated there were statistically significant differences among means of the six factors. The results of the post hoc test indicated financial support was significantly lower than facilities, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership. The findings indicated the majority of the track and field athletes were satisfied with all aspects of their facilities, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership. However, athletes were not satisfied with financial support from their club, company or school. Results of this study indicated financial support should be improved for track and field athletes in South Korea.

In spite of its general popularity throughout most of the world, track and field is not a popular sport in South Korea. Since the peak of its popularity in the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the number of track and field athletes has been declining (KAAF, 1997). Many young athletes have been changing to other sports, and recruitment of potential track and field trainees has become difficult (KAAF, 1997). The reasons for this have not been clearly identified. Also, financial support for research and development in track and field is lacking in the R.O.K. In particular, studies relating to the satisfaction levels of the tract and field athletes toward their sport and career, respectively, has been very limited (Lee, 1992).

The general problem of this study was to examine the level of satisfaction of elite track and field athletes in South Korea with facilities, equipment, financial support, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership.

METHODS
Subjects
The subjects in this study were both male and female elite track and field athletes whose performance in 1997 ranked them among the top five as their track and field events in South Korea. The list of these athletes was obtained from the Korean Amateur Athletics Federation (KAAF). Since there were a total of 22 events for men and 20 events for women, the sample included 110 (22X5) males and 100 (20X5) females. Therefore, the sample included a total of 210 athletes. However, taking into consideration that 16 athletes placed in the top five in more than one event, the actual targeted number of potential subjects was 194. Eighty-seven per cent of the subjects (N=168) responded to the questionnaire.

Instrument
The researcher constructed a survey questionnaire instrument for the subjects to indicate their satisfaction levels. Responses to questions were made on a five point Likert scale and were averaged to yield the overall satisfaction level for each factor.

Statistical Analysis
Descriptive statistics:
frequency, percentage distribution, the mean and standard deviation were used to analyze subjects’ demographic characteristics. One-way ANOVA was conducted to determine if there were statistically significant differences among the means of the athletes’ satisfaction levels. The Student Newman-Keuls method as a post hoc test was conducted to determine specifically athletes’ satisfaction levels. Statistical significance was accepted at p<.05.

RESULTS
Demographic Characteristics of Subjects
Of a total subjects (N=168), 90 (58.3%) were male athletes, and 78 (41.7%) were female athletes. Seventy-two (42.9%) athletes were ages of 18 to 21 and 60 (36.9%) were ages of 22 to 25. Only six athletes (3.6%) were over 30 years old.

One hundred athletes (59.5%) were members of university teams and 56 (33.3%) were members of company or club teams. A few were on high school teams. The classification of the subjects by event shown in Table 1, indicated track (58.9%), field (36.4%), and multiple event athletes (4.7%). The majority of the subjects became track and field athletes through encouragement from their coach or physical education teacher. Most subjects competed for more than five years, but less than 15 years.

Table 1
Classification of the Subjects
Event N %
Track (58.9%)
Sprint 25 14.9
Hurdle 16 9.5
Middle and Long distance 58 34.5
Field (36.4%)
Jumping 31 18.5
Throwing 30 17.9
Decathlon and heptathlon (4.7%) 8 4.7
Total 168 100.0

One hundred twelve athletes (67%) changed their main event more than once during their track and field career. Their reasons for changing were as follows: the opportunity to obtain better results (28.5%), poor record (23.2%) or dislike of their primary event (21.4%). Of those athletes who did change their main event, 90 athletes (80.7%) were satisfied with the results.

Satisfaction Levels
One hundred fourteen athletes (67.8%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their weight training facilities and 98 (58.3%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their track training facilities. For the field training facilities, 94 athletes (56.7%) were satisfied or very satisfied.

Sixty-eight athletes (42.0%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their training equipment, and 82 (45.2%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their competition equipment. For personal training items, 66 athletes (39.2%) were satisfied or very satisfied.

Ninety-six athletes (57.1%) indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ personal communication skills, and 92 (54.7%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ technical skills and knowledge. Eighty-four athletes (50.0%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ strategy.

Eighty-four athletes (47.6%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ training methods, and 96 (57.1%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ training schedule. Eighty-four athletes (50.0%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the coaches’ feedback.

One hundred two athletes (62.9%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ friendliness, and 110 (68.7%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their head coaches’ ethical conduct. As for the head coaches’ ability to motivate, 102 athletes (62.9%) of the subjects were satisfied or very satisfied.

Only 50 athletes (29.9%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the financial support they received from their team, club, company or school. Most athletes were not satisfied with the financial support form their team. Many athletes in this study received financial support from their family.

Differences in Athletes’ Satisfaction Levels
The results of the one-way ANOVA revealed there were statistically significant differences among means of the six factors; facilities, equipment, financial support, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership (Table 2).

The results of the post hoc test indicated financial support was significantly lower than facilities, head coach’s technical ability, training methods, and leadership (Table 3).

Table 2
One-way ANOVA for the Satisfaction Factors
Factors DF MS F
Between 5 47.56 *81.82
Within 996 0.58
Total 1001
*p<.05
Table 3
Results of Student Newman-Keuls Post-Hoc Analysis
Factor Facilities Equipment Ability Method Leadership
Financial Support 5.62* 3.20 5.45* 4.43* 5.62*
*P<.05

DISCUSSION
The results of this study indicated the top South Korean track and field athletes were generally satisfied with facilities, head coach’s technical ability, training methods and leadership. However, they were not satisfied with their financial support.

Athletes’ satisfaction levels with their financial support from the club, company or institution was relatively low. Because of that, most athletes indicated they are dependant upon financial support from their parents. In this regard, many young athletes have been changing to other sports, and recruitment of potential track and field trainees has become difficult (KAAF, 1997).

In 1997, the Korean Amateur Athletic Federation also established a new policy by which prize money can be given to the athletes who set a new national record, Asian record, world record or who are awarded a medal from world wide competitions (KAAF, 1998). This might be one of the ways to increase motivation and satisfaction for track and field athletes. For an athlete to be satisfied with one’s sport, he or she must have appropriate motivation to participate in the activity (IAAF, 1998).

RECOMMENDATIONS
As a result of this study, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Track and field coaches must discern whether the event in which their athletes compete is appropriate. If it is believed to be inappropriate, the athletes must be encouraged to change their event. By doing so, the athletes may obtain better results and thus experience greater satisfaction.
  2. It is desirable to expend more money on providing athletes with quality training equipment needed to increase satisfaction.
  3. It is desirable to develop a financial support plan, if implemented, could increase track and field athletes’ satisfaction and thus result in greater interest in participating in track and field.
  4. A study should be conducted with subjects that are representative of all track and field athletes, as opposed to only elite performers.
  5. The level of athletes’ satisfaction with regard to their room and board should also be identified.
  6. Specific data on the financial support given to teams, as well as allocations given to individual athletes should be analyzed.

 

References
Choi, J., Lee, K., & Kim, H. (1995). Comprehension of statistical analysis. Seoul: Jau Academy.

IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation), (1998). Http://www.iaaf.org/Sport/track field.html.

IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation), (1998). Http://www.iaaf.org/Iaaf/dev.html.

Jackson, S. (1996). Toward a conceptual understanding of the flow experience in elite athletes, Journal of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 67(1), 76-90.

KAAF (Korean Amateur Athletic Federation), (1988). The Interesting Track and Field, KAAF Press, Seoul. 5-50.

KAAF (Korean Amateur Athletic Federation), (1997). The World of Track and Field, 1, KAAF Press. Seoul.

Kang, S. (1996). Research Methods in Physical Education, 21century Education Press, Seoul, 163-186.

Korea Olympic Committee (KOC), (1997). The training plan for national team in 1998, Department of Athletes Training, Seoul.

Lee, K. (1992). The Theory and Performances of Sport, Jiam-Sa, Seoul, 429-598.


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