Assessing the Impact of Service Quality Attributes on Customer Satisfaction: A Case of Private Golf Courses in South Korea

Author: Boyun Woo*

*Corresponding Author:
Boyun Woo
Associate Professor
Endicott College
School of Sport Science
376 Hale Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Phone: 978-335-9966
Email: bwoo@endicott.edu

ABSTRACT
Responding to a highly competitive golf course environment in South Korea, it is important to investigate factors that influence customer satisfaction that will lead to a revisit. The purpose of the study was to examine the influence of different service quality attributes on customer satisfaction among golf courses in South Korea. Service quality attributes included in this study were website reservation system, caddy competency, accessibility, physical environment, cost, course difficulty, and employee service. Data was collected from 609 recreational golfers who played golf in 12 private golf courses across South Korea. The results of multiple regression analysis showed that all the service quality attributes together, with an exception of convenience of website reservation system, explained 40.5% of the variance in customer satisfaction. In terms of the individual attributes of the service quality, caddy competency had the greatest influence on customer satisfaction followed by accessibility, physical environment, cost, course difficulty, and employee service. The findings suggest golf course managers on what service quality attributes they need to focus on in order to satisfy customers.

Keywords: service quality, customer satisfaction, golf, South Korea

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Determining team identification, service quality perceptions, and sport consumption intentions of professional soccer spectators: An investigation of gender differences

Submitted by Ali Aycan, Olcay Kiremitci, Erdinç Demiray, R. Timuçin Gençer

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study has been to determine the relationships among gender, team identification, service quality perceptions and sport consumption intentions of professional soccer team spectators. 694 soccer spectators (female = 180, male = 514) participated in the study. T-test results demonstrated no significant difference between male and female sample groups in team identification and sport consumption intentions. T-test results revealed statistically significant difference between male and female only in physical environment quality perceptions. In the male spectators’ sample, the physical environment quality perception stands out among service quality sub-dimensions whereas the merchandising consumption intention stands out among sport consumption intentions. For female spectators, the physical environment quality perception stands out among service quality sub-dimensions, whereas the media consumption intention stands out among sport consumption intentions.

INTRODUCTION

Today, sports and leisure activities continue to affect society (1). Attending sporting events, the top leisure activity, is a common interest long-held especially in modern societies (28). Despite its gradually increasing popularity, competition for spectators is increasing among sports organizations (14). Determining what variables attract spectators is important to clubs’ continued existence in this competitive environment (9, 30).

Professional soccer is a main part of the sports industry, bringing in many spectators, supporters, facilities, events, media connections, and sponsors. Shank (26) stated that “if the sporting event is the heart of sports industry, then the spectator is the blood that keeps it pumping”. Soccer clubs are the building blocks of professional soccer and draw their strength from spectators. The budget of soccer clubs depends on attendance fees, but also on media and merchandising revenues (13, 14). In this regard, rather than the behavioral intentions of the spectators, determining the factors affecting these intentions may be beneficial for soccer clubs to develop efficient strategies.

Professional soccer clubs are basically service organizations. Each exists for a specific purpose, and its success depends on the consistency of its efforts to accomplish that purpose (23). The concept of “quality” plays a critical role in the success of service organizations. Meeting and exceeding target customers’ expectations of service quality sets an organization apart (17).
Because services have an intangible character, service quality has an intangible structure. Therefore, we speak of “perceived service quality,” not objective service quality (4). Perceived service quality is the direction and degree of difference between customers’ expectations before they receive the service (expected service) and their real service experience (perceived service or perceived performance) (21, 22).

While measurement of service quality has become more advanced, very little development has concerned what is measured (2). All that sources seem to agree upon is the necessity of performance measurement. The roles of expectations and importance of service quality measurement have become the two most commonly discussed issues (24). Some definitions of quality in services have focused on what to assess. These definitions include the core service, the physical environment including service-related equipment and facilities, and the interaction among individuals in service performance (5).

These three elements shape spectators’ perceptions of service quality. The core service provided by professional soccer clubs is the game of soccer itself. A game of soccer can only become a service delivery in the presence of people who will watch it. Hence, the clubs produce each game with the spectators, who also consume it simultaneously (20). This causes interactions among the spectators, and between them and the service providers. These interactions need a physical environment in which to take place.

Although sports are an important social institution, sport spectatorship is an individual behavior that can take different forms such as attendance, watching, and listening (12). Identification with the team has been found to be the most important predictor in many studies (31). However, along with individual factors, environmental factors affect sport’s relationship with individuals as well (20). Wakefield and Sloan (33) state that attendance in soccer matches is not only a function of team performance or team attachment, but also of all the experiences of spectators in the stadium.

Understanding spectators’ intentions regarding their sport consumption is important to efficient, targeted strategy. This study aims to determine team identification levels, service quality perceptions, and sport consumption intentions of professional soccer spectators by gender. It should also specify the relationship between sport consumption and service quality perceptions of female and male spectators.

METHODS

Participants
Participants in this study included 694 spectators of professional soccer teams operating in Izmir, the third-largest city in Turkey, and playing in the PTT 1.League. Among these participants, 233 (33.6%) were Göztepe SC spectators, 247 (35.6%) were Karşıyaka SC spectators, and 214 (30.8%) were Buca SC spectators. Among them, 514 (74.1%) were males while 180 (25.9%) were females. Their average age was 25.27 ± 8.66 years.

Measures
The study used the Scale of Perceived Service Quality in Professional Sport (8), Sport Consumption Behavior Intention Scale (15) and team identification subscale of the Points of Attachment Index (25, 29). The S_PSQPS, consists of 20 items within three subscales, including: (a) Interaction Quality (IQ, 6 items) (b) Physical Environment Quality (PEQ, 8 items) and (c) Core Service Quality (CSQ, 6 items). Items were scored on a five-point Likert-scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) and each item was preceded with the phrase, “In (the name of the stadium) stadium …”. Confirmatory factor analysis results (χ2 = 468.46, df = 162, χ2/df = 2.89, RMSEA = .056, SRMR = .048, GFI = .93, AGFI = .91, CFI = .94, IFI = .94, NFI = .92, NNFI = .93) and Cronbach’s alpha coefficients (varied between .83 and .88) reveal the measurement tool is valid and reliable.

The Sport Consumption Behavior Intention Scale (15) consists of three items each listed under the sub-dimensions of attendance intention, sport media consumption intention and licensed merchandise consumption intention. The Turkish version of the scale is assessed over a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Confirmatory factor analysis results (χ2 = 22.73 df = 12, χ2/df = 1.89, RMSEA = .036, SRMR = .012, NFI = 1.00, CFI = 1.00, IFI = 1.00, NNFI = .99, GFI = .99, and AGFI = .97) and Cronbach’s alpha coefficients (varied between .80 and .87) reveal that the measurement tool is valid and reliable (16).

Team identification is one of the subscales of the Points of Attachment Index (PAI) (25, 29) and consists of three items based on a seven-point Likert-type scale response format ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7). The Turkish version of PAI is valid and reliable (10, 11).

Statistical Analysis
For the descriptive analyses of the data obtained from participants, we used the SPSS 13.0 statistic package program to make t-test and canonical correlation analyses. In the data analysis, first, we compared average spectator scores for each gender in the sub-dimensions of service quality, sport consumption, and team identification. To present the relationship between spectators’ service quality perceptions and sport consumption intentions, we applied canonical correlation analysis separately to each gender. Within the scope of this analysis, we considered canonical correlation coefficients, canonical redundancy analysis results and cross-loadings of the sub-dimensions.

RESULTS

Results showed a significant difference in service quality perceptions between male and female sample groups in the physical environment quality sub-dimension (p<.05). Other sub-dimensions, including consumption and team identification, show no such significant difference (p>.05) (Table 1).

In addition, we analyzed canonical correlations to determine the relationship between variable sets of service quality perceptions and sport consumption intentions to the data obtained from male and female sample groups separately. The first canonical function of both groups was statistically significant (p<.01) (Table 2). That first function considered redundancy analysis results, presenting the explanation percentages of variable sets. For male spectators, service quality perception explains 75.9% of its variable set, while sport consumption intentions explain 6.0%. Sport consumption intentions explain 73.9% of its variable set whereas service quality perceptions explain 5.9%. As for female spectators, service quality perception explains 72.5% of its variable, sport consumption 11.2%; sport consumption intention 79.3% of its variable set and service quality perception 12.2% (Table 2). In terms of perceived service quality, males seemed to pay the most attention to quality of the physical environment (canonical loading = -.991; cross loading = -.279) and interaction (canonical loading = -.837; cross loading = -.236); and in terms of their intentions, they cared most about merchandising (canonical loading = .963; cross loading = .271) and attendance (canonical loading = .930; cross loading = -.262) (Table 3). Females seemed to care most about physical environment (canonical loading=-.978; cross loading=-.384), interaction (canonical loading=-.954; cross loading=-.375), media (canonical loading=.946; cross loading=.372) and attendance (canonical loading=.910; cross loading=.357) (Table 3). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

Although female and male spectators’ media and merchandising-related intentions were high, their service quality perceptions were rather low. There was no significant difference between males and females in terms of team identification or consumption intentions. Quality perceptions of core service, interaction and physical environment may be low because these spectators’ teams compete in a lower league, and their stadiums suffer by comparison to the super league. Their directors spend most of their budget on player transfers to create a team that can move up to the super league and therefore ignore stadiums’ issues.

Physical environment quality perceptions of the female spectators participating in the study are significantly lower than the male spectators. Social interaction plays an important role in female attendance. Dietz-Uhler et al. (6) says that women often attend games with family and friends, and continue their sport spectatorship for social reasons. Although the structure of stadiums and popularity of soccer provide social opportunities, low perceptions regarding physical environment quality may affect female attendance. Physical environment does affect the quality of social interaction (3, 34).

Although males have a poor opinion of soccer’s physical environment and interaction low, they maintain their merchandising and attendance intentions positively. This situation results from their high team identification levels. Spectators with high team identification levels attend more games and watch more sports through media. They also buy more merchandise (31). Although Matsuoka et al. (19) states that the satisfaction from team identification and game experience have a remarkable effect on attendance intentions for future games, Mahony and Moorman (18) claim spectators with high identification levels attend games regardless of any other factors. However, according to Theodorakis et al. (27), high service quality raises the willingness to attend future games among those with medium and high identification levels, but does not influence those with the highest identification levels.

The high identification levels of this study’s participants and the negligible gender difference in those levels increases the importance of physical environment and interaction for female spectators. Females often attend sports for social interaction, attaching more importance to the stadium environment. Even though they have high identification levels, their poor perception of the environment and interaction makes them more likely to consume media than attend games. Media help spectators sustain their emotional attachment and feel the uncertainty of the score (7), particularly through live broadcasting. Wann et al. (32) emphasizes that spectators should not be mistaken for fans. Some fans with high identification levels do not attend games, and some spectators have very low identification levels.

In conclusion, professional soccer spectators with high levels of identification do not consider service quality perceptions very much. They continue attending the games of their teams, consume merchandise and follow their teams on the media even when the related service quality is low. Male spectators show a special interest in their teams’ merchandise despite their low service quality perceptions. However, female spectators’ high media consumption intentions compared to their attendance intentions shows the importance of the physical environment. Sports directors and marketers who wish to attract spectators, especially female spectators, to stadiums should work to improve their environment, not just identification with their teams.

REFERENCES

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15. Kim, Y.K., Trail, G.T., & Ko, Y.J. (2011). The influence of relationship quality on sport consumption behaviors: An empirical examination of the relationship quality framework. Journal of Sport Management, 25(6), 576-592.

16. Kiremitci, O., Demiray, E., Gençer, R.T., & Aycan, A. (2013). Psychometric properties of the sport consumption behavior intention scale: A study on Turkish football spectators. Manuscript submitted for publication.

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18. Mahony, D.F., & Moorman, A.M. (2000). The relationship between the attitudes of professional sports fans and their intentions to watch televised games. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 5(2), 11-20.

19. Matsuoka, H., Chelladurai, P., & Harada, M. (2003). Direct and interaction effects of team identification and satisfaction on intention to attend games. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 12(4), 244-253.

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23. Pitts, B.G., & Stotlar, D.K. (2013). Fundamentals of sport marketing (4th ed.). Morgantown: West Virginia University.

24. Robinson, S. (1999). Measuring service quality: Current thinking and future requirements. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 17(1), 21-32.

25. Robinson, M.J., Trail, G.T., & Kwon, H. (2004). Motives and points of attachment of professional golf spectators. Sport Management Review, 7, 167-192.

26. Shank, M.D. (1999). Sport Marketing. A Strategic Perspective. NJ: Prentice Hall.

27. Theodorakis, N.D., Koustelios, A., Robinson, L., & Barlas, A. (2009). Moderating role of team identification on the relationship between service quality and repurchase intentions among spectators of professional sports. Managing Service Quality, 19, 456-473.

28. Trail, G.T., & James, J.D. (2001). The motivation scale for sport consumption: Assessment of the scales psychometric properties. Journal of Sport Behavior, 24(2), 108-128.

29. Trail, G.T., Robinson, M.J., Dick, R.J., & Gillentine, A.J. (2003). Motives and points of attachment: fans versus spectators in intercollegiate athletics. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 12(4), 217-227.

30. Trenberth, L., & Garland, R. (2007). Sport and consumer buying behavior. In: J.G. Beech, & S. Chadwick (Eds.). The Marketing of Sport. Harlow: Prentice Hall.

31. Wann, D.L. (2006). The causes and consequences of sport team identification. In: A.R. Arthur, & B. Jennings (Eds.). Handbook sports and media. Cheltenham: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

32. Wann, D.L., Melnick, M.J., Russell, G.W., & Pease, D.G. (2001). Sport fans: The psychology and social impact of spectators. New York: Routledge Press.

33. Wakefield, K.L., & Sloan, H.J. (1995). The effects of team loyalty and selected stadium factors on spectator attendance. Journal of Sport Management, 9(2), 153-172.

34. Westerbeek, H.M., & Shilbury, D. (1999). Increasing the focus on “Place” in the marketing mix for facility dependent sport services. Sport Management Review, 2, 1-23.

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Sport in the Magisterium of Benedict XVI

 

Philosophical Foundations of the Sporting Phenomenon

More than thirty years ago on June 1, 1978, at the start of the World Cup that was being held in Argentina (June 1 – 25, 1978) and was marked by bitter defeat for the Germans, the fifty year old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,already one year as Archbishop of Munich-Freising, explained the nucleus of his thought on soccer and sport in general in an interview on the Bavarian Radio program “Zum Sonntag” (Ordinariats-Korrespondenz, 1978; see also Pfister, 2006; Deutsche Tagespost, 1978; Benedetta, 2009).

I would like to use as a leitmotif of this investigation, this profound and original interview, in which the Cardinal and theologian offers a brief philosophical analysis of the modern phenomenon of sport and soccer in particular. This will help us to better understand the typically brief but numerous comments that Pope Benedict XVI has made about sport throughout his Pontificate.

It does not seem that Cardinal Ratzinger as head of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1981-2005) dealt with the phenomenon of soccer or sport in general, but he did include this interview in an anthology of texts published in 1985 and also as Pope he permitted it to be included in a publication printed in 2005 (Ratzinger, 1985; see also Benedikt and Ratzinger, 2005; “Mitarbeiter der Wahrheit, Gedanken für jeden Tag,” 1992; Benedikt and Ratzinger 2009). All of this indicates the perennial value of these fundamental reflections on the phenomenon of modern sport.

The Attraction of the Sports Phenomenon

The first aspect that I would like to bring our attention to is that the Cardinal speaks of soccer as “a ‘global event’, that irrespective of boundaries, links humanity around the world in one and the same state of tension: in its hopes, its fears, its emotions and joys” (Ratzinger, 1992). This observation, made thirty years ago, is all the more valid today given the enormous expansion of soccer’s popularity around the world!

No other event on the planet is capable of involving so many people in a similar way than a professional sporting event and especially that of soccer.According to Cardinal Ratzinger, “this tells us that some primeval human instinct is at play here” and raises the question as to the source of the spell that this games exerts.

Pope Benedict XVI will show his appreciation for this universal dimension of the sporting phenomena with its potential to peacefully unite diverse nations and races of the earth.

Sport as “Play”

The pessimist will respond to the question of why sport is a universal phenomenon by saying that it is the same as the case with the ancient Rome, where panem et circenses, (bread and the circus games), constituted “the only meaning in life for a decadent society, which does not know any higher aspiration” (Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis). But, even if we accept this explanation, we still would still remain with the question: “why is this game so fascinating that it remains equal with bread?” To answer this, we might look again to the past and see that the cry for bread and games was in reality the expression of “a longinge for the paradisal life – an escape from the wearisome enslavement of daily life.” In this context,the Cardinal reveals the profound sense of play as an activity that is totally free, without limits or constrictions, and both engages and fulfills all the energy of man. Consequently, play could be interpreted as a sort of effort to return to paradise: as an escape from the “wearisome enslavement of daily life” (aus dem versklavten Ernst des Alltags) for the free seriousness (freien Ernst) of something that should not be so and therefore it is beautiful. In this way, sport, in a certain sense, overcomes (überschreitet) daily life.

Besides this capacity to overcome ordinary life, play possesses – as we can see in children- another characteristic: that of being a school of life.Play symbolizes life itself and anticipates it in a way that is characterized by a free form manner.

Sport as a “School of Life”

According to this very original reflection of Cardinal Ratzinger, the fascination for soccer consists in the fact that it unites these two following aspects in a persuasive manner. First of all, it “compels man to exercise self-discipline,” so that he may gain control over himself, and through this control, self mastery. In turn, this self mastery leads to freedom. Soccer can also teach a disciplined cooperation with others (diszipliniertes Miteinander). In team play, one learns to insert their individuality into the service of the entire group. Sport unites people in a common goal: the success and failure of each one lies in the success and failure of everyone.

Sport can also teach fair play as the rules of the game, which all mutually obey, bind and unite the competitors together. The freedom of play- when play is according to the rules- becomes serious competition that is only resolved into the freedom of a finished game.

In watching a game, the spectator identifies himself with the game and the players. In this way, he feels himself a part of both the team play and the competition, participating in the player’s seriousness and in their freedom of action. The players become a symbol of his own life; and that works vice versa. The players know that the spectators are seeing themselves represented in them, being affirmed by them.

Threats to and Deviations to Sporting Activities

At the end of this interview, rich and dense in content, Cardinal Ratzinger discussed the temptations and dangers that threaten the world of sport. The goodness of the game can easily be spoiled by commercialism, which casts the grim pall of money over everything, and changes sport into an industry which can produce an unreal world of horrifying dimensions.

But this illusory world cannot exist when sport is based on positive values:as a training for life (Vorübung) and as a stepping over (Überschreitung) from our daily life in the direction of our lost Paradise. Both cases however require finding a discipline for freedom in order to train oneself to follow the rules of teamwork (Miteinander), of competition (Gegeneinander) and of self-discipline (Auskommen mit sich selbst).

After considering all of this, we can conclude that through sport something new about learning how to live can be gained. This is because sport makes some fundamentals of life visible: man does not live by bread alone. Yes, the material world is only the preliminary stage (Vorstufe) for the truly human,the world of freedom. But that freedom is based on rules, on the discipline of teamwork (Miteinander) and fair competition (Gegeneinander), independent of outward success or arbitrariness, and is thereby truly free. Sport as life…if we look at it more profoundly, the phenomenon of a football-crazy world can give us more than sheer entertainment.

Observations of Pope Benedict XVI Regarding Sport

We can now consider some observations that Pope Benedict XVI has made regarding soccer and sporting activity in a general way that have as their presupposition and foundation these reflections made thirty years earlier.

In addition to the numerous remarks about sport that the Holy Father has made in his greetings to pilgrims at the end of the Wednesday General Audiences and his Angelus messages, there are two speeches that he has delivered during two special audiences: one to the Austrian National Ski Team (October 6, 2007)(Benedict XVI, Insegnamenti, “Speech to the Austrian National Ski Team,” 2007) and the other to the participants of the World Swimming Championship (August 1, 2009) (Benedict XVI, L’Osservatore Romano, “ Speech to the participants of the World Swimming Championship,” 2009). As both speeches were addressed to the athletes themselves who were received by him, they offered the Holy Father the occasion to deal with the theme of sport more amply. To facilitate our analysis, I will subdivide his reflections into five points.

Virtues and Values Inherent to Sporting Activity

For consider the values inherent to sporting activity, the Holy Father’s speech to the Austrian ski team offers us an excellent program. Pope Benedict XVI observes that sports can help to foster basic virtues and values and offers an exemplary list: “perseverance, determination, spirit of sacrifice, internal and external discipline, attention to others, team work,solidarity, justice, courtesy, and the recognition of one’s own limits,and still others. These same virtues also come into play in a significant way in daily life and need to be continually exercised and practiced” (Benedict XVI, Insegnamenti, “Speech to the Austrian National Ski Team,” 2007; see also Insegnamenti, “Wednesday General Audience,” 2005; Insegnamenti, “Wednesday General Audience,” 2006; Insegnamenti, “Wednesday General Audience,” 2007; Insegnamenti, “Wednesday General Audience,” 2008; L’ Osservatore Romano, “Message with occasion of the Tour de France,” 2009).

While receiving the participants of the World Swimming Championship in August of 2009 in Rome, the Holy Father underlined again the potential values that are inherent to sporting efforts, this time enumerating a list from a complementary perspective:

“With your competitions you offer the world a fascinating spectacle of discipline and humanity, of artistic beauty and tenacious determination. You show what goals the vitality of youth can achieve when young people submit to the effort of a demanding training and are willing to accept numerous sacrifices and deprivations. All this is also an important lesson for life for your peers.… Sport, practiced with enthusiasm and an acute ethical sense, especially for youth become a training ground of healthy competition and physical improvement, a school of formation in the human and spiritual values,a privileged means for personal growth and contact with society&rdquo (Benedict XVI, L’ Osservatore Romano, “Speech to the participants of the World Swimming Championship,” 2009).

Athletes as “Role Models”

Speaking to these top level Austrian skiers, the Holy Father touched upon the fact that they are role models for the young people especially. “In fact, you, dear athletes, shoulder the responsibility –not less significant – of bearing witness to these attitudes and convictions and of incarnating them beyond your sporting activity into the fabric of the family, culture, and religion. In doing so, you will be of great help for others, especially the youth, who are immersed in rapidly developing society where there is a widespread loss of values and growing disorientation” (Benedict XVI, Insegnamenti, “Speech to the Austrian National Ski Team,” 2007).

And also in the above quoted speech to champion swimmers, he affirmed similarly: “Dear athletes, you are models for your peers, and your example can be crucial to them in building their future positively. So be champions in sports and in life!” (Benedict XVI, L’ Osservatore Romano, “ Speech to the participants of the World Swimming Championship,” 2009).

The Holy Father reminds these athletes that their “role as a champion” goes beyond the confines of their sport because their sporting activity becomes for many youth a model of a life of achievement and success. This brings with it a great responsibility because it can be a determining factor in one’s entire life project. In a time when exemplary personalities who the youth respect are lacking, the champion athlete indirectly becomes an “educator” as the young people look to them for guidance. Because of this, sporting ideals must permeate not only sport but life itself in order to be authentic and credible.

These considerations cause us to examine more closely an very important aspect for the Pontiff: the educational potential of sport and how it can contribute in confronting the growing “educational emergency” that is witnessed more in more in our time (Benedict XVI, L’ Osservatore Romano, “Letter to the Diocese of Rome,” 2009; see also L’ Osservatore Romano, “Address to the General Assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference,” 2008).

Sport as a Response to the Educational Emergency

In a Wednesday General Audience on January 9, 2008, the Holy Father greeted the directors and athletes of the level D Italian soccer league with thesewords: “May the game of soccer always be more of a means of teaching the values of honesty, solidarity and fraternity, especially among the younger generations” (Benedict XVI, Insegnamenti, “Greeting,Wednesday General Audience,” 2008).

I would like to recall another quote from the Holy Father which were directed to soccer students at a training club that forms part of the young scholastic sector of the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC). At the end of the Sunday Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI made this appeal: “May sport be a gymnasium of true preparation for life” (Benedict XVI, Insegnamenti, “Greeting, Angelus,” 2005; see also Insegnamenti, “Greeting,” 2006).

On the occasion of the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s sport seminar (“Sport, education, faith: towards a new season for Catholic sport associations” 6-7 November 6-7, 2009), the Holy Father strongly accentuated in his message the educative value of sporting activity:“Sports have considerable educational potential in the context of youth and, for this reason, great importance not only in the use of leisure time but also in the formation of the person” (Benedict XVI, L’Osservatore Romano, “Message to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, on occasion of the International Seminar of Study,” 2009; see also L’Osservatore Romano, “Speech to the participants of the World Swimming Championship,” 2009; L’Osservatore Romano, “Address to civil and political authorities in Prague,” 2009).

In the actual educational emergency, provoked by a unilateral and exaggerated demand for personal freedom, sport can assume an important role as a means to educate many young people. Sport can demonstrate- by means of its rules and team effort- that there is an undeniable need for discipline and a shared responsibility.

In this regard, the Holy Father, in his letter to the diocese of Rome on the theme of education recalled that: “If no standard of behavior and rule of life is applied even in small daily matters, the character is not formed and the person will not be ready to face the trials that will come in the future.The educational relationship, however, is first of all the encounter of two kinds of freedom, and successful education means teaching the correct use of freedom” (Benedict XVI, L’Osservatore Romano, “Letter to the Diocese of Rome,” 2009).

Sport represents an appropriate field for finding the right balance between freedom and discipline, which is perhaps the most delicate point in the task of education today. Many young people consider sport as a positive phenomenon in their life and easily undergo the rigor and fatigue that it implies as well as its rules. Especially in the case of soccer, we see how team work groups together the freedom of each individual and the need of respecting the rules for the benefit of the common good.

As we have seen -in the context of this formative process- the Holy Father counts much upon sports men and women to be “credible witnesses” of its virtue and values. In this sense, speaking to the General Assembly of the Italian Bishop’s Conference (May 29, 2008), where the Holy Father made explicit reference to the parish recreational centers, he noted:“… precisely the current educational emergency increases the demand for an education that truly is such: therefore, concretely speaking,educators who know how to be credible witnesses of these realities and of these values upon which it is possible to build both one’s personal existence and a common and shared project of life” (Benedict XVI, L’Osservatore Romano, “Address to the General Assembly of the Italian Bishop’s Conference,” 2008).

The Unifying and Pacifying Capacity of Sport

A fourth aspect to consider is sport’s capacity to unite people of different countries and races in friendly competition as is often attested with particular eloquence in the occasion of the Olympics or the World Cup.

At the end of a General Audience on September 22, 2005, the Holy Fatherspoke these words to a delegation of UEFA and the Italian Soccer Federation present with a numerous group of children in attendance from sixteen countries:“Dear friends, … may today’s manifestation be an occasion for you to renew your efforts so that sport can contribute to building a society that is distinguished by reciprocal respect, fairness in behavior, and solidarity among all races and cultures” (Benedict XVI, Insegnamenti, “Greeting, Wednesday General Audience,”2005).

Once more, after praying the Sunday Angelus on February 12, 2006, a few days before the winter Olympics in Turin, the Pope expressed his desire that“this great sports competition be imbued with the Olympic values of fairness, joy and fraternal relations and in doing so, contribute to fostering peace among peoples” (Benedict XVI, Insegnamenti, “Angelus Greeting,” 2006; see also Insegnamenti, “Angelus Greeting to the Interamnia World Cup,” 2007; Insegnamenti, “Wednesday General Audience,” 2008; Insegnamenti ,“ Wednesday General Audience,” 2007).

Also in his greeting to the participants in the 29th edition of the Summer Olympics in Beijing, the Holy Father placed the accentuation on the pacifying dimension of sport: “… I am following with deep interest this great sports event – the most important and anticipated in the world – and I warmly hope that it will offer the international community an effective example of coexistence among people of the most different provenances, with respect for their common dignity. May sports once again be a pledge of brotherhood and peace among peoples!” (Benedict XVI, L’Osservatore Romano, “Angelus, greeting with occasion of the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing,” 2008).

These considerations of the Holy Father want to recall that an excessive nationalism and racism are contrary to the ideals of sport (“Olympic values”) as they destroy this unifying and pacifying capacity. Especially the Olympic Games and the other global sporting events can easily miss this opportunity and become the occasion, as has happened in the past, for a display of power and superiority of one nation’s political system over another’s. In these cases, sport is not an occasion for uniting, but is in opposition to the entire peoples as well as to the single individual. The Holy Father does not only ask this from “others”, but he also directs this appeal in a particular way to groups within the Church, especially Catholic sport associations. Benedict XVI asks them to be active in promoting a balanced appreciation of sporting activity in conformance with the sporting ideal and a Christian vision of the human person.

The Contribution of the Church and Catholic Athletes

The greatest asset the Church has to offer to the world of sport is her own insights regarding the overall phenomenon of sport that is enriched by a vision of the human person rooted in Christian anthropology and also in the light of the faith (Benedict XVI, L’Osservatore Romano, “Message to Cardinal,” 2006).

For the Pope, sport is not simply the exercise of one’s physical qualities but rather something that regards the entire person. Along these same lines, in his speech to the Austrian skiers already quoted above, he affirms:

“Body, spirit and soul form a single unity and each component must be in harmony with the other. You know how necessary this interior harmony is in order to reach sporting goals at the highest levels. Consequently, even the most demanding sports must be rooted in a holistic view of the human person, recognizing his profound dignity and favoring an overall development and full maturity of the person. Otherwise, if sport is only focused on mere material performance, it will fall short of realizing its necessary social dimension. In the end, sporting activity must help one to recognize their own talents and capacities, their very efforts and their own very life as gifts that come from God. For this reason, sport should always have God our Creator as its ultimate point of reference. It is in this sense that the Apostle makes reference to sports competition in order to recall man’s highest calling: “Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one”(1Cor. 9: 24-25) (Benedict XVI, “Speech to Austrian National Ski Team,” 2007).

Speaking to the participant of the swimming championship, the Holy Father included in his speech a reflection on the transcendent dimension of the human person, bringing out the loftier aspects of our creaturely status and concluding with what could almost be considered a prayer of thanksgiving to God:

“Watching these swimming championships and admiring the results achieved make it easy to understand the great potential with which God has endowed the human body and the interesting objectives of perfection it is able to achieve. One then thinks of the Psalmist’s wonder who in contemplating the universe, praises the glory of God and the greatness of man: “when I behold your heavens”, we read in Psalm 8, “the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have set in place what is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him?” (vv. 3-4). Then, how can one fail to thank the Lord for having endowed the human body with such perfection; for having enriched it with a beauty and harmony that can be expressed in so many ways?” (Benedict XVI, L’Osservatore Romano, “Speech to the participants of the World Swimming Championship,” 2009).

With respect to the many time quoted educational emergency, the Holy Father has pointed out those task that belong to the Church, especially to her pastors and the educational institutions and sport associations. It is significant that Pope Benedict XVI, during a meeting with the clergy of Rome, regarding the theme of the parish recreational center, had this to say:

“Of course, an after-school center where only games were played and refreshments provided would be absolutely superfluous. The point of an after-school catechetical and recreation center must be cultural, human and Christian formation for a mature personality. … I would say that this is precisely the role of such a center, that one not only finds possibilities there for one’s leisure time but above all for an integral human formation that completes the personality. Therefore, of course, the priest as an educator must himself have received a good training and must fit into today’s culture, and be deeply cultured if he is to help young people to enter a culture inspired by faith. I would naturally add that in the end, the central point of orientation in every culture is God, God present in Christ” (Benedict XVI, L’Osservatore Romano, “Meeting with Clergy of Rome,” 2009).

Along this very same line of thinking, in his message to our recent seminar of study (Vatican, November 6-7, 2009), he underlined this point:

“Through sports, the ecclesial community contributes to the formation of youth, providing a suitable environment for their human and spiritual growth. In fact, when sports initiatives aim at the integral development of the person and are managed by qualified and competent personnel, they provide a useful opportunity for priests, religious and lay people to become true and proper educators and teachers of life for the young.

In our time when an urgent need to educate the new generations is evident it is therefore necessary for the Church to continue to support sports for youth, making the most of their positive aspects also at competitive levels such as their capacity for stimulating competitiveness, courage and tenacity in pursuing goals. However, it is necessary to avoid every trend that perverts the nature of sports by recourse to practices that can even damage the body, such as doping. As part of a coordinated, formative effort, Catholic directors, staff and workers must consider themselves expert guides for youth, helping each of them to develop their athletic potential without obscuring those human qualities and Christian virtues that make for a fully mature person” (Benedict XVI, L’ Osservatore Romano, “ Message to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontificial Council for the Laity, on occasion of the International Seminar of Study,” 2009).

While acknowledging that not all athletes share the same vision of the human person down to its last detail, the Church would like to offer her assistance in furthering a more profound and integral vision of the sporting phenomenon, in order to avoid the error of valuing this beautiful, but penultimate, reality as the ultimate end supreme activity of man. This service could help to reduce the temptation to use in appropriate ways («unfair play», corruption) or means(«doping») that contradict the very essence of the nature of sport.

Some might be surprised to find these words of the Holy Father regarding sport, as their first impression might be that of considering Pope Benedict XVI distant from the world of sport, especially if we consider his lack of participation in sport during his youth (Ratzinger, 1998).

However, as we have been able to see, already as the young Archbishop of Munich he dedicated himself to this theme with a philosophically profound reflection, pointing out the potentiality of sport for the integral development of the person on the individual level and its capacities on the national and global levels.

Cardinal Ratzinger – and also as Pope Benedict XVI – inserting sporting activity into a broader anthropological context, sought to bring these debate out of a dead end path of pure entertainment or sterile self-autonomy. I myself was surprised to find that the Holy Father, in the first two and a half years of his pontificate (2005-2008) touched upon the theme of sport in various ways no less than fifty occasions (Insegnamenti di Benedict XVI, 2005-2008).

Nor is it purely a coincidence that it is during the Pontificate of Benedict XVI, that a delegation of the Holy See participates in an Olympic Congress-that of Copenhagen last October 3-5, 2009, with a reflection on the theme of «Olympic values». For, as we recalled elsewhere, the Servant of God, John Paul II in the beginning of the year 2004, instituted the section “Church and sport” to insure a more direct and systematic attention to the vast world of sport on the part of the Holy See. And as we have seen from the above reflections, during the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, the interest and concern of the Universal Church to the vast world of sport continues as it seeks to dialogue with the renowned sports institutions at the international level while fostering a renewal of pastoral work in and through sports at the level.

References

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Benedict XVI (2008, June 4). Address to the General Assembly of the Italian Bishops Conference. L’Osservatore Romano, 5.

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Benedict XVI (2009, March 11). Meeting with Clergy of Rome. L’Osservatore Romano, 4.

Benedict XVI (2009, July 22). Message with occasion of the Tour de France. L’Osservatore Romano, 1.

Benedict XVI (2009, August 5). Speech to the participants of the World Swimming Championship. L’Osservatore Romano, 12.

Benedict XVI (2009, September 18-29). Address to civil and political authorities in Prague. L’Osservatore Romano, 5.

Benedict XVI (2009, November 18). Message to Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, on occasion of the International Seminar of Study. L’ Osservatore Romano, 5.

Benedikt XVI and Ratzinger, J. (2005). Gottes Glanz in unserer Zeit. Meditationen zum Kirchenjahr. Herder Press, 188-190.

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis (cir. 55-127). Satire (10, 81).

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Mitarbeiter der Wahrheit, Gedanken für jeden Tag (1992). Naumann Press, 266.

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Pfister, P. (2006). Joseph Ratzinger und das Erzbistum München und Freising, Dokumente und Bilder aus kirchlichen Archiven, Beiträgen und Erinnerungen, in the collection: Schriften des Archivs des Erzbistum München und Freising, vol. 10, Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg, 313 s.

Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for everyday of the year. Ignatius Press, San Francisco 1992, 262-263.

Ratzinger, J. (1998). Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977. Ignatius Press, 25-26.

Ratzinger, J. K. (1985). Suchen, was droben ist. Meditationen das Jahrhindurch. Herder Press, 107-111.

Ratzinger, J. and Benedikt XVI, P. (2009). Das Werk: Bibliographisches Hilfsmittel zur Erschließung des literarisch-theologischen Werkes von Joseph Ratzinger bis zur Papstwahl. Sankt Ulrich Press, 191.

 

The Impact of Service Quality of Public Sports Facilities on Citizens’ Satisfaction, Image, and Word-of-mouth Intention

 

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to find the impact of the service quality of public sports facilities on citizen’s satisfaction, image, and word-of-mouth intention. To accomplish the purpose of this study, 354 citizens using a public skating rink were surveyed by means of the revised questionnaires from the prior studies (Hur, 1997; Jang & Bae, 2003; Kang et al., 2002; Lee & Shin, 2004). The content validity and reliability of the questionnaire were determined by conducting a pilot study. The reliability coefficient for the questionnaire was found to be α=.670-.786. The questionnaire utilizing a five-point Likert scale was employed to measure the degree of satisfaction, image, and word-of-mouth intention. The statistical methods in this study included frequency analysis, factors analysis, t-test, one-way ANOVA, and multiple regression analysis. For all the analyses, statistical significance was set at an alpha level of .05. The major findings obtained from this study were as follows: First, it was found that there was a significant difference in the perception of service quality of public sports facilities according to demographic characteristics, such as gender, marital status, educational level, age, occupation, and household income. Second, the operating service, event and program service and safety service had significant effects on citizen satisfaction. Third, the operating service, event and program service, safety service and use service had significant effects on their image. Finally, the results of this study also indicated that the operating service and safety service had significant effects on their word-of-mouth intention.

Introduction

With the growing demand and the importance of healthy lifestyles, many public sports facilities have been constructed over the last two decades in an effort to improve residents’ health and welfare and overall quality of life. Public sports facilities have played a very important role in promoting physical activity and participation in leisure sports activities. Therefore,there have been significant efforts to continue to improve the image of leisure sports and pursue the amelioration of service quality of public sports facilities.

However, it has been consistently found that the quality of service provided by many public leisure sports facilities still fail to meet citizens’needs (Kang, Kim, & Lee, 2002; Lee & Shin, 2004). Some studies reported that many public sports facilities operated by national or local government are mismanaged due to the lack of specialized user-centered operations management(Kim, 2003; Lee, 2000). Therefore, many public sports facilities have the low level of participation due to their failure to provide good quality service. The purpose of this study was to find the impact of the service quality of public sports facilities on citizens’ satisfaction, image, and word-of-mouth intention. To accomplish the objective, this study conducted a survey with 354 citizens using the Seoul Square Skating Rink located in Seoul, South Korea.

The following are research hypotheses which were formulated as the basis for the purpose of this study.

Hypothesis 1. There will be significant difference in the perception of service quality of public sports facilities according to demographic factors as gender, marital status, educational level, age,occupation, and household income.

Hypothesis 2. The service quality of public sports facilities will have a significant effect on citizens’ satisfaction.

Hypothesis 3. The service quality of public sports facilities will have a significant effect on image.

Hypothesis 4. The service quality of public sports facilities will have a significant effect on their word-of-mouth intention.

Background

Research on the service provision of public sports facilities (Song, Hur,& Ahn, 1998; Gronroos, 1978), the relationship between the service quality of public sports facilities and customer satisfaction (Kim, 2003; Jang & Bae, 2003), and the management plan according to the type of resident satisfaction (Kim & Yun, 2004) was conducted. These studies suggested the service quality of public sports facilities as a series of tangible as well as intangible service activities, which are provided by facility employees to customers, and emphasized the importance of satisfaction of customers, the citizens in this case, using the service quality of public sports facilities.

At length, the degree of satisfaction with the service quality of public sports facilities has the characteristic that the environment, processes,people, service and products are determined through their mutually combined dynamic state (Parasuman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1990). Therefore, the satisfaction level of customers with service quality has a significant meaning because it can effectively be used as judgmental data for strategic inroads into the target market (Choi K, 2002; Choi J, 2002; London & Bitta, 1984). In this context, a study conducted by Kang, et al., (2002) on the service quality and customer satisfaction of the Taereung International Skating Rink suggests that by improving differentiated service quality, it is possible to activate the Skating Rink that can be said to be the flower of winter leisure sports in a country with typically long winters.

Studies on the behavioral intentions of citizens using public facilities are extensive. Oh (2001) conducted the study on the effect of the service quality of public sports facilities on consumer satisfaction, intention to repurchase and word-of-mouth intention. Jang & Bae (2003) conducted a study on the relationship between the service quality of sports centers and consumer satisfaction. In addition, studies on the effect of service quality at public sports centers regarding word-of-mouth intention and the intention to revisit were conducted (Kim & Yun, 2004; Jeong, Kim & Kwon, 2004).

Also, it has been reported that there is an organic association between the service quality of public sports facilities and customers’ behavioral intention through Lee & Shin’s (2004) study on the relationship between public sports center customers’ emotional responses and consumer behavior as well as Baek’s (2005) study on the effect of the service quality of public sports centers with respect to intention to repurchase and word-of-mouth intention.

These studies present the need for effective service quality improvement and management of public sports facilities largely used by citizens to improve citizens’ better leisure life and quality of life as studies on company-wide management for the efficient operations management of public sports facilities(Lee, 2002; Song, 2000) emphasize. And they present the need to develop the differentiated plan of comparative advantage in each field that can build up the capability of the public sports facilities whose value may be recognized as the public service product that attempts the healthy development of the locality in depth and creates the improvement of citizens’ welfare.

Research Method

Subjects

There are approximately 3,000 citizen users using the Seoul Square Skating Rink per day located in Seoul, South Korea. By using a random sampling method,a total of 400 questionnaires were distributed the concession areas around the rink, and 354 questionnaires were collected and used for the final analysis.

After explaining the research purpose and received a verbal consent of participation from potential participants, they completed the questionnaires by utilizing a self-administered method. The reason why this study selected the Seoul Square Skating Rink was that it had its significance in that it was both the facility using the Square of City Hall for the first time at home and the facility opened to activate citizens’ winter leisure sports activities by the nature of this country’s long wintertime. The characteristics of respondents are presented in Table 1.

Table 1

Measurement Instrument

To identify the effect of the service quality of the Seoul Square Skating Rink on citizens’ satisfaction, word-of-mouth intention and intention to revisit, this study conducted the questionnaire research as the measurement instrument. The questionnaire was made up of demographic characteristics, the service quality of the rink, satisfaction, image, word-of-mouth intention and the like. The 16 items relating to the service quality of the rink were made up by considering the followings: the scale rating used on the service quality and customer satisfaction of the Taereung International Skating Rink conducted by Kang et al., (2002) in relation to the items on the service quality of the rink; and the items used by Lee & Shin (2004), Hur (1997), Jang & Bae(2003) to study the service quality of public sports facilities. They were taken into consideration to correspond with the characteristics of the Seoul Square Skating Rink and finally advice from specialized managers and professors related to the service quality of public facilities was considered. These items secured their construct validity through exploratory factor analysis, and the varimax factor analysis of diagonal rotation revealed that those items were classified into such factors as operating service (4 items), food &beverage service (F&B) (3 items), event and program service (3 items),safety service (3 items), use service (3 items).

And items relating to public facility customers’ satisfaction, image and word-of-mouth intention were employed by considering the items used to study the effect of the service quality of public sports centers on customer satisfaction, image and word-of-mouth intention (Kim & Yun, 2004; Oh, 2001; Baek, 2005). First, the item on visiting citizens’ satisfaction was ‘I am satisfied with the rink facility’ and ‘I am satisfied with the service offered by the rink’. And the item on the word-of-mouth intention was composed of ‘I consider inviting my neighboring people to visit this Skating Rink.’ and I consider telling my neighboring people about this Skating Rink.’ And the item on the intention to revisit was composed ‘I consider visiting this Skating Rink next time.’ and ‘I will visit any place similar to this Skating Rink if any.’ The multiple-choice question in the questionnaire was asked to complete in a self-administered way using the five-point scale rating system.

It was found that the inter-item confidence coefficient to confirm whether the combination of attributes within the factor category of the item on the service quality of the rink had internal consistency wasα=.670-.786. In addition, it was found that the confidence coefficient was α=.870 between items on citizens’ satisfaction,α=.854 between the items on image and α=.790between the item on the word-of-mouth intention.

Data Processing

Empirical analysis was conducted to test the set research model and hypotheses. For data from the questionnaire, frequency analysis and exploratory factor analysis were conducted using Windows for SPSS. As shown in Table 2, Cronbach’s α test was conducted to confirm internal consistency of the test variables, and the reliability coefficient for the questionnaire was found to be α=.670-.786. And t-test and one-way ANOVA were conducted to test the difference between five factors of the service quality of the Seoul Square Skating Rink and visiting citizens’ demographic characteristics, and multiple regression was conducted to analyze their effect on visiting citizens’ satisfaction, image and word-of-mouth intention.

Table 2

Research Results

The Type of Factor Combination and Reliability Analysis

An attempt was made to make a factor analysis of the service quality perceived by citizens using the Seoul Square Skating Rink, and as a result it was found that it had five attributes. These attributes were defined as operating service, F&B service, event and program service, safety service,and use service. As shown in Table 2, the reliability coefficient on the questionnaire was found to be α=.670-.786.

The Test of the Difference by Type of Satisfaction with Service Quality According to Demographic Characteristics

An attempt was made to conduct the t-test and one-way analysis of variance to analyze the difference in the perceived service according to demographic characteristics. The results are presented in Table 3.

Table 3

First, it was found that there was a significant difference in F&B service (t=3.827, p<.01) and use service (t=3.903, p<.001) according to gender, that there was a significant difference in operating service (t=-3.375,p<.01) and event and program services (t=-4.729p<.001) according to marital status and a significant difference in event and program service(F=3.662, p<.05) according to educational level.

It was found that there was a significant difference in operating service(F=3.445, p<.01) and event and program service (F=3.294, p<.05) according to age, that there was a significant difference in operating service (F=3.237,p<.05) and F&B service (F=3.271, p<.05), safety service (F=3.727,p<.01) and use service (F=4.699, p<.01) and that there was a significant difference in use service (F=3.758, p<.05) according to monthly income.

The Effect of the Service Quality of the Rink on Visiting Citizens’ Behavior

1) The Effect of Service Quality on Satisfaction An attempt was made to conduct multiple regression analysis to identify satisfaction with the service quality of the Seoul Square Skating Rink. The results are presented in Table 4. It was found that service quality variables such as operating service(t=12.112, p<.001), event and program service (t=2.520, p<.05), and safety service (t=3.651, p<.001) had a significant effect on visiting citizens’ satisfaction.

Table 4

2) The Effect of Service Quality on Image An attempt was made to conduct multiple regression analysis to identify the image of the service quality of the Seoul Square Skating Rink. The results are presented in Table 5. It was found that service quality variables such as operating service (t=3.541,p<.001), event and program service (t=2.937, p<.001), safety service(t=5.242, p<.001) and use service (t=2.451, p<.05) had a significant effect on visiting citizens’ image on it.

Table 5

3) The Effect of Service Quality on the Word-of-mouth Intention An attempt was made to conduct multiple regression analysis to identify the word-of-mouth intention of the service quality of the Seoul Square Skating Rink. The results are presented in Table 6. It was found that service quality variables such as operating service (t=9.876, p<.001) and safety service (t=4.378, p<.001)had a significant effect on visiting citizens’ word-of-mouth intention.

Table 6

Discussion

It was found that there was a significant difference in F&B service and use service according to gender and that there was a significant difference in operating service and event and program services according to marital status. And it was revealed that there was a significant difference in event and program services but that there was a significant difference in operating service and event and program service according to age. Finally it was found that there was a significant difference in use service according to total monthly household income.

These findings are consistent with those of previous studies on the relationship between the types of perceived service quality and overall service quality of public sports facility consumers (Kang, Kim & Lee, 2002; Kim& Hur, 1999).

At length, citizens using the Seoul Square Skating Rink showed the similar behavior pattern according to their demographic characteristics.

For this reason, it is necessary to attempt to engage in intensive service marketing that can enhance male consumers’ level of satisfaction to gear the operating time to the time zone when they largely use the rink. And it is necessary to develop the snack corner at the adjacent space or provide information on diverse food & beverage establishments licensed by Seoul City Government. In addition, it is important to secure the more efficient space for the effective traffic line, attached facilities, installation of supplies, and watching and participation for convenience’s sake.

On the other hand, female consumers have a high interest in operating and safety services prepared because they are sensitively responsive to their accompanying children’s satisfaction. Therefore, it is necessary to make exhaustive preparation for the operation of the rink so in order to enhance their level of satisfaction at the time zone of daytime when they largely use it. In addition, it is necessary to attempt the specialized program which family members can get together because they have a high interest in the educational value.

And it is necessary to develop the event and programs tailored to the taste of young, unmarried women in their 20s because they have a high interest in event and programs. For example, the fantastic event could be hosted by presenting the fantastic rink for one couple selected from the random application of those couples dreaming of the meaningful proposal of a marriage.City Government can easily secure the sponsoring company that intends to get the effect of public relations with no charge.

In addition, it is necessary to create the program for the alienated strata and carry forward with the event by investing in it. The program whose timezone is set for the handicapped can accomplish the original function of the square for the members of society. And the elderly, self-employed men and housewives have a high interest in operating services. It is necessary to make thorough preparation for employees’ kindness, manners, countenance, and convenience for use and ice management in order to enhance their level of satisfaction. Especially, students and housewives have high concern for safety services, and so it is necessary to reinforce the placement and service of the employees that can enhance the image of safety at the time zone when they largely use the rink.

Like this, it is necessary to continue making efforts to develop and improve the service quality that can reinforce the psychological and social satisfaction of the citizens using the Seoul Square Skating Rink according to their demographic characteristics.

Second, it was found that the service quality variables of the Seoul Square Skating Rink such as operating service, event and program service and safety service and the like had a significant effect on visiting citizens’ satisfaction. In addition, it was revealed that operating service, safety service and the like had a significant effect on visiting citizens’ word-of-mouth intention. And it was found that operating service, safety service and the like had a significant effect on visiting citizens’ intention to revisit.

These findings are consistent with those of previous studies that analyzed the effect of the service quality of public sports facilities on behavioral intention such as consumers’ satisfaction, image and word-of-mouth intention(Kim & Yun, 2004).

At length, it is necessary to prepare and inspect operating and safety services among other things so as to enhance visiting citizens’ level of satisfaction by ameliorating the service quality of the Seoul Square Skating Rink. That is, many citizens using the Skating Rink can feel satisfied and enjoy themselves by receiving fun from employees’ kindness, good countenance and manners, convenience in use, good ice rink condition management and the preparation of personnel and equipment, the admission of the optimal number of persons, comfortable latrine and the like, which enable them to enjoy themselves.

And to enhance the word-of-mouth intention of visiting citizens who can create the surest public relations effect, it is necessary to reinforce the service related to operation and safety as well. In particular, it is necessary to consider the management plan that can give diverse, careful consideration and benefit to induce their positive word-of-mouth intention because it was found that the transmission of information through the word of mouth by family members, friends and neighbors was most influential.

Because the level of quality service provision enhancing the level of satisfaction may raise people’s word-of-mouth intention and enable them to be indifferent and badly responsive, the plan to captivate their mind should continue to be considered. And seeing that operating service, event and program service , safety service and use service had a significant effect on the image,it is necessary to keep on raising their operation and preparation in a more systematic, sustained way.

At length, the level of using the Seoul Square Skating Rink should be maximized by raising consumer satisfaction with its service quality through the specialized, systematic operation of facilities, equipment and manpower and through the provision of quality service (Lee & Lee, 2002). And it is necessary to guarantee consumers convenience and safety through the periodic inspection and repair of the rink facility, especially to take action to prevent skaters from any injury prone to arise from the blunting of the skate blade. In addition, it is, among other things, important to provide for the system for identifying diverse service needs quickly and reflecting the identified contents quickly.

And active urban marketing oriented towards citizen satisfaction should contribute to raising equity as well as enhancing citizen satisfaction and profitability (Park, 2000). Hotels around the Seoul Square Skating Rink attempted to engage in active marketing in relation to food & beverage services, which received good responses from citizens, and hotel business came to be spurred as they made practical use of marketing with the use of the Seoul Square. This is because thousands of people thronged to the Seoul Square Skating Rink every day, which resulted in the surging sales of food and beverage shops as it came to a forefront as the space for leisure and play.

On the other hand, needs for popular snack corners were high, and the need for them came to be emphasized among youth and housewives. It is necessary to develop and operate the snack corner that can become harmonized with the environment of the Seoul Square while accommodating their diverse needs.

Conclusion

This study attempted to investigate the effect of the service quality of the Seoul Square Skating Rink on visiting citizens’ satisfaction, image and word-of-mouth intention. Ultimately, this study aimed to present the suggestion for effective management plan lovable to citizens.

First, it was found that there was a significant difference in food &beverage service and use service according to gender and that there was a significant difference in operating service and event and program services according to marital status.

It was found that there was a significant difference in event and program services according to educational level and that there was a significant difference in operating services, and event and program services according to age. And it was found that there was a significant difference in operating service, food & beverage services, and event and program services according to occupation and that there was a significant difference in use service according to total monthly household income.

Second, the examination of the effect of the service quality of the Seoul Square Skating Rink on visiting citizens’ behavior showed that its attributes such as operating service, event and program services, safety service and the like had a significant effect on citizen satisfaction. And it was found that operating service, event and program services, safety service and use service had a significant effect on their image and that operating service and safety service had a significant effect on their word-of-mouth intention.

In consequence, it is suggested that it is necessary to improve and reinforce the services related to operation and safety first so that the Seoul Square Skating Rink may be positioned as the noted place appealing to citizens.In addition, it is necessary to select the representative object through the public subscription of the specialized event and program capable of accommodating the needs of diverse social strata and to plan and progress it so that people may share in impression and sympathy.

References

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Static Stretching Versus Dynamic Warm Up: The Effect on Choice Reaction Time as Measured by the Makoto Arena II

ABSTRACT

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to determine whether a dynamic warm up or static stretching had a greater impact on choice reaction time. Methods: Nine recreationally trained subjects (5 males, 4 females) performed single-step choice reaction time trials using the Makoto Arena II testing device, following either a dynamic warm up or static stretching protocol chosen at random for all participants. The static stretching (SS) and dynamic warm up (DWU) protocols the subjects performed lasted ten minutes in duration and were preceded with baseline testing of a sit and reach and a single-step choice reaction time trial. Results: Results of a dependent t-test (p < .05) on sit and reach indicated a significant difference for both baseline to SS (p = .007) and baseline to DWU (p = .000), but not when compared to each other, SS to DWU (p = .246). Dependent t-test results for choice reaction time showed significance(p < .05) for all three categories: baseline to SS (p = .023), baseline to DWU (p = .003) and SS to DWU (p = .009). However, it should be noted that although both SS and the DWU resulted in significance, the greatest difference in the speed for the choice reaction time was found with the baseline to DWU. Conclusion: DWU had a greater impact on a single step choice reaction time and thus should be considered as an element to be incorporated into any athletic training program to enhance athletic achievement.

INTRODUCTION

Prior to working out, training, or any physical activity, athletes typically will warm up the body in preparation for the activity to follow. Throughout the past couple of decades, warm up routines have evolved as more and more scrutiny has been leveled at training modalities in the pursuit of physical excellence.The possibility of improved performance is sought in supplements, training regimens, nutrition, and even the rest periods. Within the past couple of decades multiple studies addressed the effects standard stretching routines have on performance (2-4, 6, 8-10, 11, 13, 14). Because of the continuous quest for improvement through research, stretching and warming up are now effectively considered different modalities and are not just semantically different. Statics stretching (SS) is the more traditional form of preparation for physical activity while dynamic warm up (DWU) is a progressive buildup of the same physical movements required in the exercise the individual will be participating in. Past research has shown that DWUs will have more impact on power production, flexibility, and agility of the muscles while SS reduces explosive muscular output (2-4, 6, 8-10, 11, 13, 14). The research has overwhelmingly demonstrated in physical activity requiring short bursts of power and speed as opposed to long sustained muscle recruitment, a DWU should be utilized to improve athletic performance for multiple individual and team sports (1, 2, 4-6, 8, 9, 11-14). Although DWU has been demonstrated to improve speed and power, very little research has been done to show a DWU has the same effect with reaction time, and no research has utilized a single step choice reaction format. Our intent was to determine if the superiority of DWU versus SS in power production would also hold true for choice reaction time; thus making it much more applicable for sport training purposes. Multiple sport activities require the athlete to react quickly to a stimuli and the speed of the reaction can make a difference in being successful or failing. Therefore any method to enhance the ability to quickly assess and react to the stimuli should be addressed by the coaches in their efforts for attaining peak performance; thus presenting the need for research to study actual choice reaction and not just reaction from a force plate. Therefore with the convincing literature regarding DWU and SS, our hypothesis was that the DWU would produce a quicker choice reaction time as opposed to a traditional SS procedure. Due to the lack of literature in the area of actual choice reaction time it became apparent a pilot study needed to be conducted in order to develop an adequate methodology to allow for future research.

METHODS

Subjects

Subjects were recruited from the United States Sports Academy staff and students. The study included nine subjects, five males and four females, ages ranging from 24-56 years old. Each participant was recreationally active and gave informed consent. The subjects participated in a variety of sport backgrounds including basketball, volleyball, track and field, swimming, badminton, tennis, weightlifting and bowling. The study was approved by an Institutional Review Board for human subjects.

Study Design

Participants arrived and were given consent forms to review and sign. The Makoto Arena II was turned on and allowed time to heat up. Directions for all testing protocols were then explained in detail. Using the Sit & Reach box (Novel Products, Rockton Illinois) to measure flexibility, students were instructed to sit down on the floor with shoes off and put the base of their feet against the box. A researcher put a hand just above the subject’s knees to ensure the knees stayed flat. Subjects put one hand on top of the other one and extended over the box as far as they could reach. Measurements were taken at the tip of the middle finger when the subject was able to hold the stretch. Baseline sit and reach testing was completed in a non-stretched state and recorded in centimeters (cm). Subjects were allowed to do a practice trial and then performed an additional trial as their baseline. The subjects were then instructed to put shoes back on and move over to the Makoto Arena II for demonstration and explanation. The Makoto Arena II uses audio and/or visual cues to test choice reaction time. For the purposes of testing reaction time, a lateral single-step procedure that utilized two of the three towers was employed. Each subject stood behind a line that was exactly equal distance between the two towers and 1.2 m from the edge of the device. Subjects positioned their body in an athletic stance in preparation for movement. The subjects were then given the direction to take one step laterally and hit the target as quickly as possible with the same hand as the direction of the step. The target height was 122 cm from the floor (7). Each subject was given a few practice trials to ensure directions were adequately explained. Then scores were recorded until the participant had completed two tests stepping to their right and two tests stepping to their left to account for true athletic movement. The Makoto Arena II has built in software that both calculates the reaction speed and randomly selects the tower used for each trial; therefore each test had a fifty-fifty chance of being to the left or the right of the subject. Due to the randomness of the trials we settled on recording two scores stepping right and two stepping left for a minimum of 4 trials to ensure an accurate average of reaction time. By utilizing this procedure, no two subjects were alike and each subject had an equal number of trials recorded. Once baseline scores for both the sit and reach and the choice reaction tests were recorded, subjects randomly chose which set of stretches they would perform first by drawing sticks labeled with a D (dynamic) or S (static). Stretching protocols were explained for static and dynamic stretches. The duration for each protocol was 10 minutes. Static stretches were held for 12 seconds, and the same stretch was duplicated on the opposite limb being stretched. SS and DWU protocols are found in Tables 1 and 2. Time was kept using a stopwatch by one of the testers. Each stretch was independent and each subject determined their own levels of discomfort and stretch limitations. DWUs were performed downstairs in a fitness room, approximately 90 seconds from the human performance lab, therefore not impacting the effects of the DWU on the sit and reach or choice reaction tests. Following the SS or DWU protocols, the subjects returned and performed the sit & reach test. Measurements were taken following each testing procedure of SS and DWU and recorded on the subject’s data sheet. Once all subjects’ results were written down, researchers then repeated the same lateral one step choice reaction time testing protocol for each subject, following the second protocol of either SS or DWU, which was done on a separate day.

Statistical Analyses

Baselines for both the reaction time protocols and the sit and reach were analyzed against the two tests of SS and DWU. A timed measurement of the lateral single-step choice reaction time within the Makoto Arena II device was completed following a ten minute session of the SS or DWU protocol. The mean, mean difference, and standard deviation were then calculated for each variable. Dependent t-tests were used to compare the baseline reaction times to both reaction times following the SS protocol and the DWU protocol. An alpha level of p < 0.05 was used to establish significance. Sit and reach data analysis followed the same procedures mentioned above.

RESULTS

The mean and mean differences were calculations done manually by a calculator and the significance (p < .05) was found through the use of IBMSPSS Statistics 19 software. The means for sit and reach testing are as follows: baseline: 27.1 cm, SS: 30.4 cm, DWU: 32.0 cm. The mean differences were baseline to SS: -3.28cm, baseline to DWU: -4.89cm, and SS to DWU: -1.61 cm. Results indicated a significant difference for both baseline to SS (p = .007)and baseline to DWU (p = .000), but not when compared to each other, SS to DWU(p = .246). The mean for the baseline reaction time was .872 s, the mean following the SS protocol was .833 s and the mean following the DWU protocol was .796 s. The difference in the means for reaction time was baseline to SS:.039 s, baseline to DWU: .077 s, and SS to DWU: .038 s. Choice reaction testing for all three categories showed significance (p < .05): baseline to SS (p =.023), baseline to DWU (p = .003), and SS to DWU (p = .009). However, it should be noted that although both SS and the DWU resulted in significance, the greatest difference in the speed for the choice reaction time was found with the baseline to DWU. All results can be found in Tables 3 and 4.

DISCUSSION

At least one study has shown no effect on muscle force production (11), while the majority of studies have shown that a bout of SS produces an inhibitory effect on the contractile force production of a muscle (4,10,11,13). The studies reaching these conclusions were applied to outputs of power such as sprinting and agility drills. From these studies, we hypothesized that the same physiological responses affiliated with SS and DWU would produce similar results in a single-step choice reaction time. We hypothesized that a static stretch prior to a choice reaction timed test would not affect reaction time, whereas a DWU prior to testing would result in a quicker reaction time. Our hypothesis regarding the DWU was supported; however, the static stretching also produced a quicker time compared to the baseline choice reaction time. Results taken from the sit and reach test also showed a significant improvement for both SS and the DWU. From our findings, since both the SS and DWU produced an increase in flexibility from a non-stretched to post stretching protocol, the theory of stretched muscle fibers inhibiting muscle contraction force and thus reaction time is not fully supported. To account for both the SS and DWU producing a faster choice reaction time, there must be some other form of physiological adaptation occurring. It is possible that the concept of postactivation potentiation (PAP), which is defined by Behm and colleagues (2004) as an increase in the efficiency of the muscle to produce submaximal force after a voluntary contraction (4) is the rationale for both protocols producing positive effects. It is possible that the duration of the SS protocol was not long enough to inhibit the force-producing cross bridges that may develop with lower frequency stimulation but enough of a stimulation to actually form a greater number of these cross bridges, which would then result in an ability to create more force similar to the DWU (4). Because the DWU had a greater effect on increasing the choice reaction time than the SS we can infer that a DWU as opposed to a simple static stretch routine for a typical warm up for sports participation would be of a greater benefit. However, a short duration of SS coupled with a DWU certainly would not inhibit performance. Although the results support our hypothesis because this was a pilot study with a diverse and limited number of participants it cannot be generalized. Further research with a larger participant pool of males and females; trained and untrained athletes of varying sports would need to be tested under similar conditions to reach conclusive evidence.

CONCLUSION

The same physiological factors a DWU produces for speed, namely greater force of the muscle contraction, is also prominent with choice reaction time. In this small pilot study a one-step choice reaction utilizes the same physiology of muscle force production as a sprint; the effects of a DWU are similar, resulting in a quicker choice reaction time when compared to a standard static stretch protocol. Therefore those professionals responsible for preparing athletes in sports requiring quick reactions might want to consider incorporating a DWU as part of the athlete or teams’ development and preparation. Since this study was so limited in participants we suggest future research test entire athletic teams of males and females in sports dependent on reaction times. These teams should range in ages and skill level from interscholastic to the professional levels. With this larger pool of participants this hypothesis would be tested adequately allowing for the results to be more generalized, till then it is simply a pilot study with too few participants to conclusively generalize the results.

APPLICATION TO SPORT

Athletes at all levels are trying to develop and gain an edge in their performance, with sports that require a quick explosive movement, a few tenths of a second can mean the difference in getting to the ball first, blocking an attempt at a goal, digging a spike; the difference between success and failure. Personnel responsible for preparing athletes whether it is the coach, the strength coach, or a trainer must be cognizant of how to best prepare for training or competition. The warm up has become a critical component of preparation for athletes and teams dependent on quick, explosive, and reactive movements. Unlike a static stretching protocol, DWU’s has been shown to enhance and better prepare athletes for performance by not stretching the muscles past the point where they can quickly recoil and exert their maximal force. The DWU incorporates an increase in body temperature as well as functional stretching of the muscles. This state of higher body temperature and a slightly stretched muscle has demonstrated better speed and agility times. Therefore, athletes and coaches responsible for their preparation should be utilizing a DWU as a part of their daily training protocol for better athletic performance.

REFERENCES

1. Aguilar, A. J., DiStefano, L. J., Brown, C. N., Herman, D. C., Guskiewicz, K. M., & Padua, D. A. (2012). A dynamic warm-up model increases quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(4), 1130-1141.

2. Alpkaya, U., & Koceja, D. (2006). The effects of acute static stretching on reaction time and force. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 47(2), 147-150.

3. Amiri-Khorasani, M., Sahebozamani, M., Tabrizi, K., & Yusof, A.(2010). Acute effect of different stretching methods on illinois agility test in soccer players. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,24(10), 2698-2704.

4. Behm, D., Bambury, A., Cahill, F., & Power, K. (2004). Effect of acute static stretching on force, balance, reaction time and movement time.Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(8), 1397-1402.

5. Chaouachi, A., Castagna, C., Chtara, M., Brughelli, M., Turki, O., Galy,O., Chamari, K., & Behm, D. (2010). Effects of warm-ups involving static or dynamic stretching on agility, sprinting, and jumping performance in trained individuals. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(8),2001-2011.

6. Gabrett, T., Sheppard, J., Pritchard-Peschek, K., Leveritt, M., &Aldred, M. (2008). Influence of closed skill and open skill warm-ups on the performance of speed, change of direction speed, vertical jump, and reactive agility in team sport athletes. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(5), 1413-1415.

7. Hoffman, J., Kang, J., Ratamess, N., Hoffman, M., Tranchina, C., &Faigenbaum, A. (2009). Examination of a pre-exercise, high energy supplement on exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6(2)

8. Kistler, B., Walsh, M., Horn, T., & Cox, H. (2010). The acute effects of static stretching on the sprint performance of collegiate men in the 60- and 100-m dash after a dynamic warm up. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(9), 2280-2284.

9. Makaruk, H., Makaruk, B., & Kedra, S. (2008). Effects of warm-up stretching exercises on sprint performance. Physical Education and Sport, 52, 23-26.

10. McMillian, D. J., Moore, J. H., Hatler, B. S., & Taylor, D. C.(2006). Dynamic vs. static- stretching warm up: the effect on power and agility performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 20(3), 492-499.

11. Perrier, E. T., Pavol, M. J., & Hoffman, M. A. (2011). The acute effects of warm-up including static or dynamic stretching on counter movement jump height, reaction time, and flexibility. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(7), 1925-1931.

12. Roca, J. (1980). Effects of warming-up on reaction time and movement in the lower extremities. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 11(3), 165-171.

13. Sayers, A., Farley, R., Fuller, D., Jubenville, C., & Caputo, J.(2008). The effect of static stretching on phases of spring performance in elite soccer players. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(5), 1416-1421.

14. Yamaguchi, T., Ishii, K., Yamanaka, M., & Yasuda, K. (2007). Acute effects of dynamic stretching exercise on power output during concentric dynamic constant external resistance leg extension. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(4), 1238-1244.

TABLES AND FIGURES

Table 1

Static Stretches Stretch Hold = 12 seconds 10 minutes
Standing was completed prior to moving onto seated stretches followed
by the stomach
Standing Stretches Sitting Stretches Laying on Stomach
Double Leg hamstring & gluteus. Feet together, bend over at the
waist keeping back straight
Double leg hamstring & gluteus stretch- seated keep back of knees
on ground and bend at the waist forward reaching to touch toes
Quadriceps stretch- with right hand grasp the heel of right leg and
pull to gluteus. Switch to left hand and left leg
Single Leg hamstring and gluteus – right leg over left leg & left
leg over right leg, bend at the waist keeping back straight
Single leg hamstring & gluteus- bend right leg to the inside of
left leg, leaving left leg straight in front, bend at waist forward to
touch toes. Repeat procedure with left leg bent and right forward
Outer quadriceps stretch- with right hand grasp foot of left leg and
pull to gluteus. Switch to left hand and right leg.
Legs spread wide- (right, left & center) Bend at the waist,
keeping back straight not rounded.
Butterfly stretch- bend knees so that feet are sole to sole in front
of body, place elbows on inside of both legs & press down
gently
Quadriceps stretch- leg bent behind try to pull heel to gluteus. Right hand right leg, left hand left leg. Legs spread out wide in front of body- bend at the waist trying to touch toes. Lean to the right, lean to the left and lastly forward or center
Outer quadriceps stretch- leg bent behind try to pull heel to gluteus. Right hand to left leg, left hand to right leg. Butterfly stretch- bend knees so that feet are sole to sole in front of body, place elbows on inside of both legs & press down gently
Gastrocnemius stretch- standing with hands pressed against wall & lower body angled away from wall, both feet, then right foot, followed by left foot. Gluteus stretch- in seated position with bent knee place right leg over the outstretched left leg. With both arms pull the bent knee to your chest, switch sides.

Table 2

Dynamic stretch/ warm ups
Enclosed room length of 44 feet
Order performed:
Jog down & back 2x
Back pedal
Jog down back pedal back
Skipping down & back 2x
High knees down & back 2x
Butt kicks down & back
High knees down butt kicks back
Skipping down & back 2x
Carioca down & back 2x (also known as grapevine)
Walking sumo squats down & back
Defensive slides down & back
Frankenstein walks down & back
Heel walks/toe walks down & back respectively – 2x
Wall assisted leg throws – facing wall 10 rt. leg
Wall assisted leg throws – side to wall 10 rt. leg
Frankenstein – keeping legs straight swing one at a time high up in front with your hands stretched out and chest high 10 rt. leg

Table 3

CHOICE REACTION TIME (Measured in seconds)
PAIRS N MEAN MEAN DIFFERENCE SD P
Pair 1 Baseline 9 .872 .039 .090 .023
Static 9 .833 .079
Pair 2 9 .872 .077 .090 .003
Baseline 9 .796 .073
Dynamic
Pair 3 9 .833 .038 .079 .009
Static 9 .796 .073
vs. Dynamic

Table 4

SIT & REACH
SR= Sit and Reach
Measured in centimeters (cm)
PAIRS N MEAN MEAN DIFFERENCE SD P
Pair 1 9 27.1 -3.28 7.69 .007
Baseline SR 9 30.4 7.77
Static SR
Pair 2 9 27.1 -4.89 7.69 .000
Baseline SR 9 32.0 5.94
Dynamic SR
Pair 3 9 30.4 -1.61 7.77 .246
Static SR vs. 9 32.0 5.94
Dynamic SR