Gamification in Adventure and Wilderness Sports: A literature review of game-based mechanic’s ability to increase attraction, engagement, and retention in outdoor sports
Authors: Christopher P. Johnson*
Christopher P. Johnson is an educator and co-founder/ head strength and conditioning coach at Boston Strength and Conditioning, llc in Newton, Ma. He received his Masters of Management degree as well as his Bachelors of Science Degree in Sports Science from Lasell College, and is currently pursuing a terminal degree through the Academy.
Christopher P. Johnson, MS
73 Elm Rd. Apt. 2
Newtonville, Ma 02460
This article is intended to provide adventure and wilderness sport coaches with a comprehensive overview of existing research introducing gamification techniques also known as game theory or game-based mechanics that are gaining popularity in fields such as business, marketing, education, and the military for use in employee, customer, and student attraction, engagement, and retention to the world of adventure and wilderness sports coaching. A broad range of existing literature related to gamification was compiled, examined, analyzed, and disseminated. The examined research findings suggest that gamification methods are effective for acquiring, engaging, and retaining individuals towards improved athletic performance. Furthermore, existing research clearly supports a strong positive correlation between gamification and effective motivational strategies for athletes. Specifically attraction, engagement, and retention as athlete’s progress through their athletic careers and the demands and traditional structure of their sport lose their interest. As well as benefits of adventure and wilderness sports to children that other sports may not provide. Game-based mechanics serves as an excellent tool to further engage athletes towards their goals in adventure and wilderness sports. Fitness and sport coaches desiring to increase athlete participation, engagement, and performance must examine and implement sound research-supported strategies associated with motivating athletes. By developing an understanding of the concepts identified and incorporating the practices prescribed within this essay, fitness and sport coaches may establish coaching strategies that effectively engage their athletes in sport and fitness activities that are traditionally less game-based than their ball- and team-based counterparts.
KEYWORDS: Sports Coaching, Fitness Coach, Sports Education, Gamification, Game-based Mechanics, Game Theory, Adventure Sports, Wilderness Sports, Outdoor Sports