Organizational Structures in Sport Clubs – Exploring the Relationship between Individual Perceptions and Organizational Position


This paper reports on an analysis of individual perceptions of organizational structures in Swedish elite ice hockey with the purpose of studying the relationship with organizational position. Findings are based on structured interviews with 8 individuals who work or are volunteers in 4 different organizational positions in 2 elite ice hockey clubs. Organizational position is defined by hierarchical level, line or staff position, and by paid or volunteer position. Perceptions are studied in relation to the structural dimensions specialization, standardization, and centralization. Results show that perceptions are related to the organizational position occupied and that the various perceptions result in tensions between the different organizational positions. The results are discussed in relation to findings concerning organizational commitment and job satisfaction.

Increasing difficulties in attracting and retaining coaches, administrators and volunteers within Swedish sport (Peterson, 2002) has generated a growing interest in the management and design of sport organizations. Increasing demands for effectiveness have increased the need for more sophisticated organizational structures which in turn have resulted in new, changed, and unknown circumstances for the people involved in sport organizations (Amis, Slack & Berrett, 1995). During these circumstances individual perceptions of organizational structures becomes important to explore.

In the study of organizations, the concept of organizational structure and the structural dimensions specialization, standardization and centralization has long been utilized to describe organizational features and configurations (Hage & Aiken, 1967; Lawrence & Lorch, 1967, Pugh et al., 1968; and Thompson, 1967). The concept of organizational structure has also been studied in relationship to individual variables such as organizational commitment, job satisfaction, job performance, employee turnover etc (see Porter & Lawler; 1964 and Cumming & Berger, 1976 for early reviews).

This text takes its departure in Fahlén (n.d.) where perceptions of organizational structure in two structurally different ice hockey clubs were compared. That study showed, amongst other things, that high levels of the three structural dimensions -specialization, standardization and centralization- were perceived more positively than low levels. The study did however not distinguish between different positions in each organization and as e.g. Payne and Mansfield (1973) point out, representing organizational climate in terms of mean values can be misleading. Payne and Mansfield (1973) showed that people in different positions in an organization have different views about the organizational climate. Rice and Mitchell (1973) have also shown that an individual’s perceptions are related to his or her position within an organization. Thus, studying individual perceptions related to organizational position becomes interesting.

Studying individual perceptions of organizational structure will not only help us to understand some of the mechanisms behind attracting and retaining individuals in a voluntary sport organization but will also contribute to the broader literature on both organizational structure and organizational commitment, organizational climate, job satisfaction, job performance, employee turnover etc.. Since organizations are much too complex for any given variable to have a consistent unidirectional effect across a wide variety of types of conditions (Porter & Lawler, 1965) extending the analysis to the study of variation in perceptions between different positions within an organization will help us broaden our understanding of how organizational structure affects individuals. If voluntary sport organizations are to succeed in delivering programs and events, the reasons behind individual perceptions and behaviors need to be explored. Organizations which fail to attract and retain a voluntary or paid workforce are more likely to spend more time and effort recruiting and training new personnel than furthering the goals of the organization (Cuskelly, 1995).

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between the positions of individuals in an organization and their perceptions of organizational structures. The aim is not to seek incontrovertible proof of cause and effect relationships between organizational structure and individual perceptions but to, in an explorative manor, throw light upon some mechanisms behind mentioned perceptions. The analysis is based on interview data from two elite ice hockey clubs in Sweden.

Theoretical background

In the literature pertaining to the study of organizations it has long been emphasized that research needs to bridge the traditional gap between macro and micro, between the total organization, the group, and the individual (Brass, 1981). While considerable effort has been devoted to both the structures of organizations and to individual attitudes to work less attention has been given the relationship between the two. The relationship has indeed been investigated but, with a few exceptions (e.g. Oldham & Hackman, 1981; Pheysey, Payne & Pugh, 1971), exactly how it functions remains unexplored. What we do know about attitudes towards and perceptions of structural features is based mainly on results taken from industrial and government enterprises and we do not yet know whether that knowledge would hold in a sport organization context (Chang & Chelladurai, 2003).

Research roughly speaking has studied either individual or organizational factors as possible sources of individual perceptions such as e.g. job satisfaction or organizational commitment. Both perspectives have produced results to support their case even if some comparative studies have found perceptions, attitudes and behaviors to be related more to the structural context within which the job occurs than to individual characteristics (e.g. Glisson & Durick, 1988; Oldham & Hackman, 1981).

The basic assumption in this paper is drawn from the Job-Modification Framework where an understanding of the relationship between organizational structure and individuals’ perceptions is sought by looking at structural context and more precisely the characteristics of the job. Organizational structure is seen to affect job characteristics which in turn affect individual perceptions of the work and the organization. The Job-Modification Framework is based on findings concerning the relationship between organizational structure and job characteristics (e.g. Pheysey, Payne & Pugh, 1971) and on the relationship between job characteristics and individual perceptions (e.g. Pierce & Dunham, 1978). Theoretical and empirical work using the Job-Modification Framework offer some understanding of how organizational structure is perceived by individuals in an organization (e.g. Rousseau, 1977; and Oldham & Hackman, 1981).

One significant characteristic of a job is its position within an organization (Rice & Mitchell, 1973). Both hierarchical position and line or staff position have been explored in the literature. In the study of sport organizations the distinction between paid staff and volunteer personnel has also been analyzed. Research into organizational position with regard to the distinction hierarchical level and line or staff function has, broadly speaking, shown that people at higher levels and in line positions are to a greater extent associated with more positive attitudes, such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and with more positive behaviors such as high performance and low absenteeism (Cummings & Berger, 1976; and Porter & Lawler, 1964). No uniform findings regarding the differences between people in paid and volunteer positions are available but some related research shows that the two groups have different perceptions of e.g. organizational commitment and influence in decision making (Cuskelly, Boag & McIntyre, 1999; Auld & Godbey, 1998; and Cuskelly, McIntyre & Boag, 1998).

Using the framework proposed above and supporting empirical findings on the job characteristics mentioned will allow an exploration of and explanations for possible differences in individual perceptions of organizational structure in this study. No causal interpretations of possible relationships will be made since neither sample nor method is appropriate for testing. Nevertheless the findings may be useful in pointing out where further research on sport organizations is needed, how knowledge of these issues can be achieved, and why this knowledge is important for the management of sport organizations in Sweden and elsewhere.



Data were collected in two Swedish elite ice hockey clubs, clubs organized along lines similar to those in many industrialized countries today. The sporting individual is a member of a sport club, which in turn is affiliated to a regional sport federation, which in turn is affiliated to a national sport federation under the Swedish sports confederation (RF). The Swedish elite ice hockey league is the highest division in a system comprising a maximum of seven divisions. The system is hierarchical based on sports merits and the teams are run by membership-based non-profit clubs.

One way of moving away from calculated means and closer to actual perceptions is to analyze interview data from individuals in a variety of positions within an organization. The definition of organizational position, inspired by the Aston Paradigm, comprises the distinction between hierarchical levels (Pugh et al., 1968), the distinction between line and staff personnel as proposed by Porter and Lawler (1965), and the distinction between paid staff and volunteer personnel. No distinction is made between the two clubs.

The lowest hierarchical level (0) according to Pugh, et al. (1968) is the operating level, the direct worker, in this case assumed to be the ice hockey player or the Youth volunteer. Line personnel are the people involved in the organization’s primary output (playing ice hockey) while staff personnel are involved in the coordination, control, and support of those in line positions. Paid staff derive their main income from the organization. Volunteer personnel, while not excluded if paid smaller amounts, are not salaried in the sense that they make their living from their involvement.

Respondents were picked based on organizational position. My aim was to reach individuals on all levels, in both line and staff positions, and both paid staff and volunteer personnel. For those positions where there was more than one individual to choose from interviewees were selected in consultation with the general manager based on accessibility. The selection resulted in 4 interviewees from each club as shown in Table 1: member of the board, coach of the first team, sales manager, and volunteer in the youth program.

Table 1

Organizational Position

 Rank Above Lowest Level Staff Positions Line Positions
Voluntary Position Paid Position Paid Position Voluntary Position
 3 Board Member
 2 Sales Manager
 1 Coach First Team
 0 Youth Volunteer


Inspired by the constructs created by Kikulis, Slack, Hinings and Zimmerman (1989) and Slack and Hinings (1987) a list of interview questions was created that were considered to reflect the three structural dimensions of organizational structure. With a minor modification to the Interview Questions, Organization Design Index (Slack, n.d.) it was possible to adjust the constructs and the questions to fit this particular study.

The concept of specialization was operationalized using questions regarding the extent of the administrative and operative roles together with the division between these. The operationalization of specialization involved questions regarding the number of paid staff versus volunteers and the division of tasks between the two groups (Slack & Hinings, 1992).

The operationalization of standardization involved questions about efforts made to reduce variations in procedures and to promote coordination. These questions were intended to examine how and to what extent activities are governed and regulated by rules, policies and other formal procedures (Slack & Hinings, 1992).

The centralization concept was operationalized through questions regarding where decisions are made and how the decision making is distributed. Centralization was examined in three ways; at which hierarchical level the decisions were made, the extent of participation in decision making on other hierarchical levels, and the involvement of volunteers in the decision-making process (Slack & Hinings, 1992).

No measure of organizational structure other than each interviewee’s perception was used. Contrary to e.g. Oldman and Hackman (1981) where the president or someone similar provided data on organizational structures for the employees to relate to, the present study assumes organizational structure to be partly a function of the perceptions of the organizational members in question. Inherent in the notion of organizational position, as presented earlier, is an assumption that perceptions of organizational structure are affected by an individual’s place in the organizational hierarchy, distance from the core activities, and function as either paid staff or volunteer personnel. It follows with this line of argument that organizational structure is not seen as a constant variable for the interviewees to relate to but as a perceptual concept constructed by each interviewee.

Perceptions of organizational structure were not measured in the way commonly used in the literature on job satisfaction and organizational climate such as job challenge (Payne & Mansfield, 1973), autonomy (Hackman & Oldham, 1975), feedback (Brass, 1981) and similar. Instead, interviewees were asked to speak freely about organizational structures.


The interview questions were designed to study (a) the picture each interviewee had of the respective club’s structural arrangements, (b) each interviewee’s opinion about those same structural arrangements, and (c) how each interviewee were affected by those arrangements. This procedure made it possible to explore both links in the Job-Modification Framework, (1) the relationship between organizational structure and job characteristics and (2) the relationship between job characteristics and individual perceptions. It also allowed for organizational structures to having a direct effect on individual perceptions regardless of any relationships they might have with job characteristics (cf. Brass, 1981).

The structured interviews, lasting approximately one hour, were conducted face to face in each interviewee’s workplace, in private. The interviews were recorded, transcribed in full and then coded for anonymity. Interview data were analyzed using the techniques outlined by Stake (1995).


The results are presented according to organizational position with regard to hierarchical position, the distinction of line or staff, paid or volunteer, as shown in Table 1. The quotations should be read as examples and illustrations of the opinions found in the data rather than complete reflections of all opinions. Quotations are taken from both respondents in each position without any given order.

The Board Member Position on Specialization

I have worked to move the daily operations down to the office. The club has gotten to large to for [us] voluntary forces to run the daily and operative business. I want the financial committee to function more as a sounding board for XX and YY [two individuals working in paid staff positions] who need to take the day-to-day responsibility.

The Board Member Position on Standardization

First of all, you need to have your heart in the club and be interested in ice hockey..In my position I think it is good to have [a degree in business administration]. Issues like balancing the books or discussing things with accountants would be difficult otherwise ..The general level of expertise needs to be raised.

Documented routines are important..I do not see them as paper tigers, I see them as documents that are observed..Who should authorize payments, orders, investments..We try to do things in a corporate way even if we are a club.

The Board Member Position on Centralization

There is always some friction between the employees and the board, everywhere and in all kinds of issues..If this were a company it would be easy, but now it is kind of both you could say..Volunteers against professional staff.of course there is friction in between.

The sport committee is the centre of gravity in the club.handles sports-related issues.[which are] the most important issues.decides on new recruitments [players] and lay-offs.

The Sales Manager Position on Specialization

There should be more people [working at the office], so that each one could focus on his task so to say..You might want a board that works closer to the actual operations..They have more of a supervisory role [now]..We need more people working [administrative] with our youth operations..They have grown too big for one person to handle.

Everything has to go through us [the office].the youth teams can not go around selling advertisements on their own.

The Sales Manager Position on Standardization

There are always courses and classes for all kinds of things but here we try to learn from each other instead..Education and those things are important but I would go according to background and personality more than education..You cannot just go for a theorist with so and so many [academic] credits..It is more to do with relations.

The club has produced a handbook for the operations.fairly detailed as to what we can do and can not do.which issues go up to the board and such..All the way from the youngest youth team.not only on the ice but also journeys, cups and such. It is a must in such a large club as this..In that way we can avoid all questions and rumors in the corridors.just look it up in the book.

The Sales Manager Position on Centralization

You might want some more steering and concrete ideas [from the board]..One shortcoming, in my opinion, is that the board is quicker to question our work than to give us directions..It is very seldom we get concrete assignments. Instead it is us generating proposals and ideas. It ought to be the other way around more often.

More things need to go through us.we cannot leave the decisions to the dads and mums.there are a lot of capable people but you feel that you cannot let things go..Same goes for transports as for away games and team uniforms..More control is needed.

The Coach of the First Team Position on Specialization

My opinion is that the sport manager should have both the competence and power to direct the sport issues..Not as it is now with ideas coming from down here and up..It is problematic to have us [head coach and assistant coach] doing everything..We should be let to focus on our jobs.

The Coach of the First Team Position on Standardization

We must keep ourselves updated. The problem is lack of time..Coaching at top-level leaves little time for education..Of course competence is important but I think you need to calculate from case to case whether courses, degrees, or experience is to be preferred..But you have to adhere to the standards [set by the Swedish Ice Hockey Association (SIF)].

Not everything is written down, it is more like the players know these things..As long as they take care of things there are no problems..It is tacit and unspoken..It is often solved within the group..Policies and routines are important but most important is having strong individuals supporting [the policies and the routines].

The Coach of the First Team Position on Centralization

When it comes to hockey I have all the authority I, organizing traveling, pre-season, cups etc..Outside hockey, very limited..You can have ideas and, for instance, shopping lists for players but when you don’t know all the financial stuff it is problematic..I would like to know the [players’] salaries so that I could evaluate from that.

The sport committee evaluates [the team] during the season.but they do not have the same basis for making decisions as me and ZZ [the assistant coach] have..If I want to get rid of a player it is often impossible since they are bound by contracts.[then] you just have to put up with it.[but] it is not unusual for us to get the blame for it [a less successful recruitment].

The Volunteer in the Youth Program Position on Specialization

I think all sport clubs with a first team in the premier division would benefit from separating the youth and the elite operations..Run the elite operations on business lines.and let the youth operations lead their own life..It is all business [otherwise]..Making ends meet in the youth operations is no problem.

The Volunteer in the Youth Program Position on Standardization

We generally start with the parents.with some kind of interest and/or know-how. After one year we send them to Step 1 [Basic Youth Leader Course at SIF].which is a requirement [if they want to continue].next year Step 2 and so on..It is important for us to educate both kids and parents..How [else] are we supposed to foster our own elite coaches?

I personally think that it is good that the club has that everybody pulls together..Do the right thing at different ages, when to send in the best players etc..I think it is really important for the club’s survival..We have rules for how to practice and play.but more importantly we have policies for behavior and what it means to play ice you best.

The Volunteer in the Youth Program Position on Centralization

We [the youth operations] apply for money each season [from the board]..They set the budget.and we manage ourselves..The board is 98 percent concerned with issues related to the first team and the juniors [Team 18 and Team 20].they trust us to do the best we can.
This club is based on mutual trust…when it comes to money, education, tasks.I need to trust that he or she is doing their best.I have enough to do doing my own job.


This study has examined the relationship between the positions of individuals in an organization and their perceptions of organizational structures. Organizational position was defined by hierarchical level, line or staff position, and by paid or volunteer position. This discussion will show how an individual’s organizational position relates to their perceptions of the structural dimensions specialization, standardization and centralization. On a few occasions, quotations in the Results above overlap into two or more of the analytical paragraphs below.

High vs. low hierarchical positions


People in all positions express a feeling of working to capacity and would rather see someone else doing more. The statements from the interviewees indicate that people in high positions transfer responsibility and tasks downwards and people in low positions refer responsibility and tasks upwards in the organization.

Explaining these findings by means of hierarchical position seems to be difficult but a few pointers can be found in Cumming and Berger (1976) where Meta study results show that people in higher positions derive satisfaction, among other things, from smoothness of workflow while people in lower positions derive satisfaction, among other things, from the amount of work they do. It seems that directing tasks elsewhere might help both groups achieve satisfaction, for people in lower positions as it reduces their workload and for people in higher positions as it makes the workflow smoother.

People in higher positions are argued to be more satisfied with their job than people in lower positions are (Herrera & Lim, 2003). The results in present study however provide no indications to support that view.


Formal education and formal competence is more important at the top and at the bottom of the organization, and is seen in both places as a requirement for the work. At middle levels background, personality and experience are seen as more valuable than formal qualifications.

Standardization, formal structuring, routines, procedures and management practices are often said to be associated with job satisfaction (e.g. Stevens, Philipsen, & Diederiks, 1992). Educational level is also found to be related to job satisfaction, with high educational levels related to high satisfaction levels (Herrera & Lim, 2003). None of these findings however shed any light on the differing perceptions in this study.


People in higher positions express a need to control the activities of people in positions further down in the organization, while the people in lower positions refer to the need for mutual trust. It seems, however, as if the trust mostly works one way – upwards.

The need for control as expressed by people in higher positions can be understood with reference to the findings in Rice and Mitchell (1973) where people in higher positions are found to attach greater importance to external results (turnover, profit, on-ice success and such) than people in lower positions. The reason for this could be found in Inglis (1994) where higher visibility is given as a reason for differences between professionals and volunteers. Likewise, visibility could offer one possible explanation of why people in higher positions are concerned with controlling the activities of people in lower positions. The higher visibility means that the people in higher positions are more strongly associated with the success or failure of the organization, making the need for control understandable.

Another possible explanation could be sought in organizational commitment where Jackson and Williams (1981) have found that higher positions are more positively related to organizational commitment than lower levels are. This commitment in the present study could be illustrated by the greater need for control.

Line vs. staff positions


Differences in opinions regarding specialization between line and staff personnel are not easily separated from differences related to the distinctions paid or volunteer positions and high or low positions. There are nevertheless some expressions which indicate that both groups would like to focus on their “own” tasks, even if some people in staff positions would also like to have some supervision over some of the tasks performed by people in line positions.

It is argued that people in staff positions derive less satisfaction from their jobs than people in line positions (Porter & Lawler, 1965). The results in this study, however, provide no support for more or less satisfaction in either group.


The main difference in perceptions concerning standardization between the people in line and the people in staff positions is how the two groups see the time dimension in formal education and training. The interviewees in line positions talk in terms of continuous training and education during their current appointment while the interviewees in staff positions refer to the level of competence demanded for their respective appointments. In simple terms, line personnel expect training and education on the job while staff personnel expect to have achieved the level of competence required before they take up an appointment.

One possible understanding of this difference is pointed out in Fahlén (n.d.) where historical and cultural reasons are given as explanations of differences in attitudes towards formal education. Sport in Sweden has traditionally, until very recently, been managed solely by volunteers and training and education, where it existed, was delivered by each respective national sport federation with a strict focus on practical coaching (Blom & Lindroth, 1995; Fahlström, 2001). This could have resulted in certain expectations among individuals involved in practical coaching and other expectations with individuals involved in supporting positions.


Comparing the opinions on the locus of control between the board member position and the coach position gives us some insight into the power struggle between line and staff personnel. The sport committee, consisting mainly of board members, is seen by the board members as the main decision maker when it comes to the recruitment and laying off of players. The coach position, on the other hand, hints that the true decision lies with him and his assistant coach but admits that decisions in the sport committee which is beyond his influence throw spanners in the works. It is obvious where the coach position thinks the power should be.

One possible explanation for these differing perceptions could be a conflict between two functions stemming from the clash between two different sources of power. People in staff positions might derive their power primarily from the fact that they perceive themselves as being in charge of acquisition and the control of resources and thus important for the success of the organization and thereby powerful. Similarly people in line positions might perceive themselves as being very central to the organization in terms of being the people who know the game and who should therefore be in charge (cf. Slack, Berrett & Mistry, 1994).

Paid vs. volunteer positions


Both paid and volunteer personnel are fairly unanimous that the other group should do more. The division of tasks, however, between the two does not seem to be all that simple. The paid personnel, perhaps empowered by their salary and their longer hours, seem to think that keeping and/or moving tasks to the office implies a guarantee of quality. Both groups however agree on the need for more paid staff in order to cope with the heavy workload.

Cuskelly, McIntyre and Boag (1998) found similar results where volunteers feel marginalized by the paid staff and paid staff feel frustrated with the volunteers not meeting their deadlines and not doing their jobs. The two groups seem irreconcilable but Farrell, Johnston and Twynam (1998) argue that it is the responsibility of the management to manage facilities and operations in a way that satisfies volunteers in order to make them stay. However that may be it seems that communication and task definition need to be addressed. The easy way would, of course, be to engage more people for both functions, a solution which, needless to say, is easier said than achieved.

It should however be noted that earlier findings have shown that commitment to an organization decreases inversely with level of remuneration and also inversely with number of working hours (Chang & Chelladurai, 2003).


Differences in opinions on standardization between paid and volunteer personnel are not so easy to discern. All positions apart from the coach of the first team position express the importance of routines, guidelines, rules, handbooks etc. The coach position on the other hand refers to traditions, tacit and unspoken knowledge, and group norms. It would take further investigation to reach an understanding of why perceptions within the paid positions differ.


Not only is the division of tasks a source of conflict between paid and volunteer personnel but perhaps even more evident is the division in opinions about where decisions should be made. The volunteers in the youth operations want to mind on their own business whereas the people in the office cannot accept decision making being in the hands of parents.

This finding conflicts with some findings in Auld and Godbey (1998) where both professionals and volunteers agree that professionals have more influence over decision-making. Both groups also agree that the relationship should be more balanced, the professionals even more than the volunteers. The commitment to voluntary governance is stronger among professional staff than volunteers. The professionals want the involvement of experienced volunteers with more insight and knowledge about the particular sport. As a comment on these disparities Cuskelly, Boag and McIntyre (1999) argue that it seems that the opinions and behavior of volunteers do not integrate into the explanatory system of organizational behavior as easily as those of employees do.

One possible explanation for the differing perceptions can however be found in the findings of Amis, Slack and Berrett (1995) where the professionals’ need for control is explained by financial dependence. Since professionals are dependent on the success of the organization for their own financial wellbeing their need for control is assumed to be greater.


The present analysis can offer a few pointers on how organizational structure is perceived by individuals in a sport organization and how their organizational position is related to these perceptions. In these conclusions I will also try to elaborate on the implications these perceptions may have for the development of these organizations..

Regarding the structural dimension specialization most people would like somebody else to do more, making their own focus narrower. The indications are the same, whether you compare high and low, line and staff, or paid and volunteer positions. The exception is the people in paid staff positions at the upper middle level who would like to keep more tasks in the office, as they put it. It would seem that the organization is perhaps too thin around the middle, needing more people on the upper middle level to carry out managerial and administrative duties.

Perceptions of standardization show that formal education is seen as being more important at the top and at the bottom of the organization and that people in staff positions see formal education as a prerequisite while people in line positions see training and education as a part of their job. It would seem that prospective educational measures should be directed towards the upper middle hierarchical level, or simply that formal education is not needed to the same extent at that level. Another possible implication is that there should be an attempt to raise the requirement for formal education among people in line positions and to extend on-the-job training and education among people in staff positions. Why routines, guidelines, rules, handbooks etc. are considered less important by people in paid line positions at the lower middle level than by the rest of the interviewees remains to be explored. It might be implied, however, that the operations around the first team are dependent on the specific person in the position at the time rather than on the performance of the organization.

Centralization of control and decision making is where the differences in perceptions are most obvious. All groups want to have control over decisions concerning their own tasks but people in high, staff, and paid positions would also like to have control over people in low, line, and volunteer positions. The implications of this seem to be that decision making, control, and power are moving from volunteer board members to paid administrators, away from the actual line operations to the staff positions, and from both high and low levels to the upper middle level of an organization. Auld and Godbey (1998) have however shown that balance, between paid staff and volunteers, regarding control, power, and decision making is not necessarily needed in order for an organization to be successful.

The extension of these findings and their contribution to our knowledge on the interplay between organizations and individuals in general and sport organizations more specifically is primarily that organizational structure affects individuals within an organization and that organizational position is related to the perceptions these individuals express.

Secondly, this study has shown how the distinctions high and low, line and staff, and paid and volunteer can be used to define organizational position and how the concept of organizational position could be used in illustrating how different positions in an organization relate to each other and to internal and external influences, pressures and phenomena.

Finally, these results can be used to gain an understanding of some of the reasons behind personnel (primarily volunteers) turnover in sport organizations and what the organization in question could do about this. While it is already recognized that volunteers are indispensable to both Swedish and international sport not much effort has so far been spent on finding out how they can be attracted and retained.

Even if organizational factors have been found to be more important than individual ones in other studies (Cuskelly, 1995), generalizations from this study should be made with care. Since such a small and specific sample as the one used in this study is sensitive to such variables as age, gender and income and not just to hierarchical position, line or staff function, or paid or volunteer position (cf. Ebeling, King & Rogers, 1979). The linear relationships assumed on a few occasions in this text should also be read critically. Even if earlier findings have shown results at one end of the scale it is not always correct to assume the opposite results at the other end of the scale (cf. Porter & Lawler, 1965). Similarly it is hard to tell separate and combined effects apart. While some perceptions can be the result of one organizational distinction others can certainly be result of two or three.


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2015-03-24T10:15:13-05:00June 10th, 2005|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Facilities, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Organizational Structures in Sport Clubs – Exploring the Relationship between Individual Perceptions and Organizational Position

Load Carriage Force Production Comparison Between Standard and Anti-shock Trekking Poles



To compare the use of standard, anati-shock, and no hiking poles on medio-lateral (Fx), anaterio-posterior (Fy) and vertical (Fz) ground reaction forces for the foot and hiking poles while during load carriage walking at 0% grade. Methods: Subjects were solicited from experienced backpackers who had used hiking poles for at least 5 years. Each subject was fitted with an 18 kg internal frame backpack and allowed to practice walking with and without hiking poles to a metronome cadence equal to a walking speed of 4.42 During each successful trial the subjects contacted a piezoelectric force plate positioned in the floor with the foot and contralateral hiking pole. Three trials were conducted in random order 1) without hiking poles (NP), 2) with standard (SP) hiking poles, and 3) with anti-shock (AP) hiking poles. For each trial the following data were recorded: 1) Medio-lateral (FFx), anterior-posterior (FFx), and vertical (FFz) ground reaction force for the foot medio-lateral (PFx), anterior-posterior (PFx), and vertical (PFx) pole forces.


No significant differences in foot reaction forces were found among the three conditions (NP, SP, and AP) for any of the recorded dimensions (medio-lateral, anterior-posterior, and vertical). Also, no significant differences in force parameters was evident between the two types of hiking poles.


No significant weight transfer from lower to upper body was evident regardless of pole design indicating that dependency on hiking poles during load carriage walking on level ground is negligible.

The use of hiking or trekking poles has become popular with both the weekend recreational hiker as well as the serious hiker. As early as 1996, 49% of hikers in the Austrian and Italian Alps were using “trekking poles” (Rogers et al, 1995). Over the last few years, hiking poles have evolved from simple, single walking sticks to dual, spring-loaded, telescopic poles equipped with wrist straps and carbide tips. Manufacturers of hiking poles have made largely unsupported and anecdotal claims of the benefits of employing hiking poles while hiking. Such claims as extra balance, surer walking, and reduction of stress are common (Jacobson et al, 2000). The claim supporting “reduction of stress” on lower limbs (Haid and Koller, 1995; Wilson et al, 2001) stems from the belief that part of the load is transferred from the legs to the arms and shoulders Neurether, 1981).

Previous studies involving hiking poles have included mixed protocols. For instance, some hiking poles with such names as Exerstriders® and Power PolesT are marketed for the purpose of increasing fitness parameters and caloric expenditure rather than for hiking activity by suggesting exaggerated arm swing. In a study using Power PolesT, Porcari and associates (1997) measured selected physiological variables during a 20 minute treadmill test at self selected speed and grade and found significant increases in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange, caloric expenditure, and heart rate. In another study Rodgers and associates8 found that using Exerstriders® while walking for 30 minutes, at 6.7 on 0% grade with exaggerated arm swing significantly increased VO2, and HR by 12% and 9% respectively.

However, in two separate studies utilizing hiking poles in a traditional hiking manner and without excessive arm motion, both groups of researchers found no significant differences in oxygen consumption between pole and no pole use during a 1 hr, 5% inclined treadmill walk with a 22.4 kg backpack (Knight and Caldwell, 2000) or during a 15 min. inclined (10%-25%) treadmill walk while carrying a 15 kg back pack (Jacobson et al, 2000). Also Jacobson and associates (2000) found no differences in minute ventilation (VE) or caloric consumption (Kcal.min-1 ) between pole and no pole conditions. Some authors have found greater heart rate (Neurether 1981; Procari et al, 1997; Sklar et al, 2003) with pole use, while others have reported no significant differences in heart rate between pole and no pole use (Jacobson and Wright, 1998; Jacobson et al, 2000). It has been suggested that discrepancies in results may be due to the variations in research protocols among the studies.

While there is general agreement that hiking poles do not reduce energy utilization and may, if used in an exaggerated manner, increase energy utilization as illustrated by caloric consumption, ventilation, and heart rate. With respect to rating of perceived exertion (RPE), the predominance of literature (Jacobson and Wright, 1998; Jacobson et al, 2000; Knight and Caldwell, 2000) suggest that walking with hiking poles provide an impression of reduced exertion when compared to not using hiking poles. It is possible that the perception of reduced exertion when using hiking poles results from an increase in stability provided by the additional points of contact (Neurether, 1981). Jacobson and associates (1997) found that stability and balance was significantly improved with the use of both one and two hiking poles.

Early claims that hiking poles reduces the overall stress on the limbs by transferring the weight to the arms and ultimately to the poles (Haid and Koller, 1995; Unione Internazionale, 1994) were largely unsupported until recently. Schwameder et al (1999) examined external and internal loads on the knee joint during declined (25%) walking with and without hiking poles and found significant differences in peak and average magnitudes of ground reaction forces, knee joint movement, an dtibiofemoral compressive and shear forces with pole use. Wilson and associates (2001) found a decrease in average vertical ground reaction force (Fz) while using walking poles at self-selected speeds. This decrease in vertical ground reaction force was evident for two separate poling conditions when compared to using no poles.

The purpose of this study was to compare differences in load bearing, three dimensional foot and hiking pole ground reaction force between standard, anti-shock or no hiking poles while during 0% grade walking.



Twelve healthy males (mean age = 35.3, SD + 10.3yr.; mean mass = 81.6, SD + 5.4 kg; mean height = 177.8, SD + 12.6 cm) with a minimum of 5 years of hiking and hiking pole experience volunteered to participate in the study. Only those subjects known as active and current hikers/mountaineers were solicited for the study and all were briefed on the protocol and signed an informed consent document approved by the University IRB committee. These subjects had no history of orthopedic pathology of lower or upper extremities and were active year-around. Following, the oral briefing, subjects’ weights and heights were recorded and a medical history was obtained. No subject was unable to participate due to medical or physical constraints.


Subjects were tested under three randomly assigned conditions: 1) without hiking poles (NP), 2) with two standard hiking poles (SP), and 3) with two anti-shock hiking poles (AP). Subjects were instructed to maintain an easy pace to replicate a typical long-term hike. A walking speed of approximately 5.0 Km·hr-1 as determined by photo-electric cells located immediately before and after the force plate was used to standardize the pace for each trial. The testing area consisted of an18 m runway with a piezioelectric force-plate positioned midway at ground level. Pre-test trials were conducted in order to assure consistent pace and contact with the force plate by the subjects’ foot and pole during testing. Subjects were instructed to walk so that pole plant coincided with contralateral heel strike (Wilson, et al. 2001).

Trials consisted of walking from each subject’s predetermined starting point and culminating by walking 3 meters beyond the force plate contact. Before testing, subjects were given ample opportunity to practice walking to the cadence along the runway in order to consistently and naturally contact the force plate.

Prior to each testing session a commercially made backpack, (Gregory Mountain Products, Inc.) including a load weighing 20 kg and consisting of an internal-frame and equipped with sternum strap, hip belt, and load lifters, was individually adjusted for each subject according to the manufacturer’s suggestions. Fitting the backpack involved shoulder strap adjustments to torso length, hip belt positioning, and sternum strap width and tightness. Two separate pairs of similarly weighted (~ 300 g) hiking poles, one standard pair (Cascade Designsâ Inc. Seattle, WA) and one pair with anti-shock capabilities (Leki-Sport USAâ Inc., Williamsville, NY) equipped with adjustable, telescopic sections and wrist straps, were individually fitted for each subject according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and previously conducted studies ( Jacobson and Wright, 1998; Jacobson et al. 2000; Wilson et al. 2001).


A piezoelectric force plate (Kistler Instruments AG Winterthur, Schweis. 9287BA) interfaced with Bioware Analysis System Tym 2812A1-3 computer software capable of recording medio-lateral (Fx), anterior/posterior (Fy) and vertical (Fz) forces on contact was situated midway in the runway, level with the ground, and covered by a rubber mat extending the length of the runway. For each trial the following peak force data were recorded:

Foot Ground Reaction Force – Medio-lateral (FFx), anterior-posterior (FFy),
and vertical (FFz).

Pole Ground Reaction Force- Medio-lateral (PFx), anterior-posterior (PFy),
and vertical (PFz).

Following backpack/hiking pole fittings and practice sessions, subjects were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions (NP, SP, AP). Three successful trials were recorded for each condition for a total of nine trials. Data for each trial was spot-checked to assure consistency among results.

Statistical Analysis

Repeated measures of analysis for variance techniques were used to compare differences in medio-lateral, anterior-posterior, and vertical ground forces among the three conditions. Significant pair-wise differences were determined by the Newman-Keuls post-hoc test. An alpha level of P< 0.05 was required for statistical significance.


The repeated measures analysis of variance analysis of foot ground force reaction among the three groups (NP, SP, AP) for the three dimensions (medio-lateral [FFx], anterior-posterior [FFy]and vertical [FFz]) yielded significant differences (Table 1) within the three dimensions, but no significant differences between groups (p= 0.87) and no significant interaction effect (p=0.95). Simply stated, these results indicate no modification in foot ground reactions forces for any of the pole conditions (NP, SP, or AP). Analysis of pole ground reaction force yielded significant differences (Table 2) within the three dimensions, but no significant group (SP and AP) difference (p=0.56) and no significant interaction effect (pp=0.65). These results provide no evidence that one pole design is more beneficial than the other in the transfer of ground reaction force from the foot to the pole.

Table 1

ANOVA for Foot Ground Reaction Force by Group (NP, SP, AP) and Dimension (FFx, FFy, FFz).

Source df MS F p
 Within Group 2 15.2 .130 0.874
 Between Group 2 315395.8 5077.044 0.000
 Interaction Effect 4 10.8 .173 0.951

Table 2

ANOVA for Pole Ground Reaction Force by Group (SP, AP) and Dimension (PFx, PFy, FPz).

Source df MS F p
 Within Group 1 41.49 .341 .561
 Between Group 2 8404.83 105.91 0.000
 Interaction Effect 2 36.12 .455 .635


No significant differences in foot ground reaction forces were found among the three conditions (no poles, standard poles, and anti-shock poles) for medio-lateral (Fx), anterior-posterior (Fy), or vertical (Fz) dimensions. Also, no significant force differences were found between the use of standard poles and anti-shock poles while walking on flat ground. A previous study (Schwameder et al., 1999) involving down-hill walking found significantly less peak and average magnitudes of ground reaction force was produced when walking with hiking poles in comparison to not using hiking poles. The authors concluded that the reduction of ground reaction force was primarily due to the forces applied to the hiking poles in a breaking action. Another study involving uphill walking (Knight and Caldwell, 2000) concluded that hiking pole use reduced activity in several lower extremity muscles thereby reducing stress from lower extremities. These authors also suggested that such stress reduction was because of the transfer of propulsion force from the lower to the upper extremity.

In a study using level ground walking at self-selected speeds, Wilson and associates (2001) found that “walking” poles produced significantly faster walking, greater stride length and stance time, along with an average 2.9% reduction in vertical ground reaction forces. In comparison, the current study produced smaller ground reaction force (FFz) means with the employment of either of the two hiking pole designs while walking 4.42 Km·hr-1 at 0% grade. The current study yielded a decrease in foot reaction force (FFz) of .91% for the standard poles and 1.21% while using the anti-shock poles (Figure 1). The anti-shock poles (AP) group recorded 12% greater vertical ground reaction force (PFz) when compared to the standard poles (Figure 2).


In contrast to the current study, Wilson and associates sampled novice subjects and instructed them to utilize the hiking poles in two distinct manners: 1) plant pole to coincide with contralateral foot strike, 2) same pole/foot plant with pole angled backward at ground contact, and 3) same pole/foot plant with pole angled forward at pole plant (Wilson et al, 2001). The subjects for the current study were not given special instructions on pole use, rather, subjects employed the poles with the technique they had previously developed through their outdoor hiking experiences. It appears by these data that experienced hikers depend minimally on hiking poles while walking on flat gournd, in that no significant transfer of force between upper and lower extremities was evident. In contrast to up-hill and down-hill walking which requires increased propulsion (Knight and Caldwell, 200) and breaking force (Schwameder et al, 1999) respectively, 0% grade seems to require no additional dependency on hiking poles, specifically through the transfer of force away from the lower to the upper extremities.

It is plausible that the ground reaction variables measured in the current study were compromised by the short duration of testing. In contrast to actual hiking, the average testing duration for the current study involved a practice period and thee successfully completed trials, which lasted a total of betwenn15 and 20 minutes. In normal hiking situations, the duration of walking is extended by several hours and as fatigue becomes a factor, the reliance on the hiking poles is likely to become greater in order to reduce the demand on the lower extremities. Further, greater dependency on hiking poles may become evident as the terrain changes from flat to incline, decline or lateral slant. Recommendations for future studies should encompass longer walking durations, inclined/declined walking, and lateral slant in order to more closely resemble actual hiking activity.


Equipment furnished by Gregory Mountain Products, Inc., Cascade Designsâ Inc. Seattle, WA., Leki-Sport USAâ Inc., Williamsville, NY


1. Haid C, Killer A. Hiking sticks in mountaineering. Lancet 1995; 346: 1502.

2. Jacobson BH, Caldwell B, Kulling FA. Comparison of hiking pole use on lateral stability while balancing with and without a load. Percept. Motor Skills 1997; 85: 347-350.

3. Jacobson BH, Wright TA. A field test comparison of hiking stick use on heart rate and rating of perceived exertion. Percept Motor Skills 1998; 87: 435-438.

4. Jacobson, B.H., Wright, T., and Dugan, B. Load carriage energy expenditure with and without walking poles during inclined walking. Int J Sports Med 2000; 21: 1-4.

5. Knight CA, Caldwell GE. Muscular and metabolic costs of uphill backpacking: are hiking poles beneficial? Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000; 32(12): 2093-2101.

6. Neurether G. [Ski poles in the summer.] Landesarszt der Bayerischen Bergwacht Munich Medicine Wacherts 1981; 13: 123.

7. Rodgers CD, Vanheest JL, Schachter CL. Energy expenditures during submaximal walking with Exerstridersâ. Med Sci Sports and Exerc 1995; 27: 607-611.

8. Porcari J, Hendrickson T, Walter R, Terry L, Walsko G. The physiological responses to walking with and without Power PolesT on treadmill exercise. Res Q Exerc Sports 1997;68: 161-166.

9. Roeggla M, Wagner A, Moser B, Roeggla G. Hiking sticks in mountaineering. Wild Environ Med 1996; 3: 258.

10. Schwameder H, Roithner R, Müller E, Niessen W, Raschner C. Knee joint forces during downhill walking with hiking poles. J Sports Sciences 1999; 17(12): 969-978.

11. Sklar J, DeVoe D, Gothall, R. Metabolic effects of using bilateral trekking poles whilst hiking. 2003; 44: 173-185.

12. Unione Internazionale delle Associazoni Alpinistiche Medical Commission Official Standards of the. Hiking poles in mountaineering, vol. 3. Swiss Medical Commission of UIAA, 1994.

13. Wilson J, Torry MR, Decker MJ, Kernozek T, Steadman JR. Effects of walking poles on lower extremity gait mechanics. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2001, 33(1): 142-147.


2015-03-24T10:13:50-05:00June 9th, 2005|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Exercise Science|Comments Off on Load Carriage Force Production Comparison Between Standard and Anti-shock Trekking Poles

The Effects of the Speed Function on Some Technical Elements in Soccer


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the speed function on some technical elements (dribbling, slalom and agility) in soccer, and to determine the effect ratio of these elements on one another. Some information regarding the purpose of this research is given by means of literature review. The subjects of the study, 177 soccer players selected from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd League, amateur and two youth teams in Ankara, Turkey, has undergone a performance test including one each of a sprint 0-15-30 m, slalom 0-15-30 m, and dribbling 0-15-30 m, and an agility test. Sprint, slalom and dribbling tests were applied twice, with the players resting between each trial. Finally, the agility test was performed. The reliabilities of the tests (Sprint = .74; Slalom = .61; Dribbling = .76; Agility = .81) were determined for the players (n=40). The performance values of the subjects examined showed that while speed function does affect the agility competency, it had no effect on slalom and dribbling competency. The other findings showed that slalom and dribbling competencies affect each other positively.


In soccer, in addition to mental, psychological, physiological and coordinational features, the improvement of conditional features is important as well. Peak conditional features in soccer players provide an advantage. Much of what affects the results of a match occurs during or after the high intensity sprint. Analysis of the specific movements and activities performed by football players during games can provide much relevant information on which suitable training programs can be designed (Dawson, 2003).

Success in soccer is dependent upon a variety of factors including the physical characteristics and physiological capacities of the players, their level of skill, their degree of motivation, and tactics employed by them against the opposition. Some of these factors are not easily measured objectively, but others can be tested using standardized methods and can provide useful information for coaches (Mosher, 1985).

In soccer, speed plays an important role; the accelerated pace of the game calls for rapid execution of typical movements by every member in a team. In many instances, successful implementation of certain technical or tactical maneuvers by different team members is directly related with the degree of velocity deployed (Kollath & Quade, 1991).

According to the Dawson study (2003), the large majority of sprints performed in soccer take six seconds or less to complete, over distances of only 10-30 meters, and many of the sprints involve at least one change of direction.

As running speed increases, longer strides are taken. In this instance, the swing phase involves greater knee flexion and hip extension, and greater hip flexion in the latter part of the phase (Howe, 1996).

During soccer games, many actions affect the result of games. These actions are characterized by intermittent and multi-directional movements, as well as the movements of changing intensity and time.

Reilly and Ball (1984) stated that each game typically involves about 1000 changes of activity by each individual in the course of play, and each change requires abrupt acceleration or deceleration of the body or an alteration in the direction of motion.

Specific physical and physiological characteristics of soccer players can be used by coaches to modify training programs and to help players prepare for the game strategy. The modern soccer relies on the ability of all players to attack and defend whenever necessary. Therefore, it is important that all players achieve a high level of performance in the basic skills of kicking, passing, trapping, dribbling, tackling and heading. Analysis of the physical and physiological characteristics of the players and determination of the specific requirements for optimal performance are thus a necessity (Tiryaki et al., 1996).

Technique refers to the relationship and harmony a player demonstrates with the ball and describes the performance of a solitary action in isolation from the game, e.g. pass or dribbling (Bate, 1996).

Dribbling a ball was chosen in this study as this represents one of the most exciting aspects of the game for spectators, and a great deal of time is devoted in training to its practice (Reilly & Thomas, 1979).

When running with a ball, much shorter strides are taken as the player must be ready to change direction and speed. At the toe-off phase, the leg may not be as extended heel stride may not be as pronounced, rather the foot may land in a more neutral position or be plantarflexed (Howe, 1996).

It is known that players with sprint skills have advantage over other players. However, the degree of effect has not been determined. In this study, we wanted to determine the degree of effect of sprint on technical elements. In other words, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of the speed function on some technical elements in soccer, and to determine the effect ratio of these elements on one another. Thus, soccer-training programs could specify and propose the degree, frequency, intensity and volume of sprint and technical elements.



This investigation was performed during the 1999-2000 season and included players from different league group teams competing in Ankara, Turkey (177 soccer players selected from 1st, 2nd, 3rd League, amateur and two youth teams). All subjects were informed about the purpose of the study and of its voluntary nature, and all provided their consent to participate. The study involved analyses of performance of these players. We examined the literature for related investigations.

Apparatus and Task

To establish reliability, the tests were applied to 40 players in ‘on season’ and ‘off season’. Paired sample t – test statistical tests were used. The reliability values were determined as follows:

According to match analysis, in match situation maximum sprint distance is approximately 20 – 30 m. However, the soccer players run about 100 sprints in the match (Kelly et al., 1982).

The subjects ran 30 m to measure their sprint performance. Crossing values (15 m and 30 m) were recorded by photocell (sprint 0 – 15; = .67 ; sprint 0 – 30; =.74).

The subjects ran between nine slalom sticks located 1.5 m apart. With photocell, 15 m and 30 m crossing values were recorded. Slalom – dribbling tests established by Kunts were applied (1991). Van Rossum practiced the test over 15 m, and reliability was determined as approximately .51. In this investigation, we determined reliability for slalom 0 -15 m as = .53; and for slalom 0 -30 m as = .61. The subjects dribbled the ball between the nine slalom sticks located 1.5 apart. With photocell, 15 m and 30 m crossing values were recorded, and reliability for dribbling 0 -15 m was determined as = .68; and for dribbling 0 -30 m, = .76.

“Agility refers to the capability to change the direction of the body abruptly. The ability to turn quickly, dodge and sidestep calls for good motor coordination and is reflected in a standardized agility run test.” (Reilly, 1996). Agility tests comprise different directional movements with changes between 35 m and 142 m in area (Haywood, 1986). Wilmore (1992) has defined agility as the ability to change movement direction, and it constitutes conjunction of sprint, strength, stability and coordination factors.

The agility test used was that developed by Lindquist and Bangsbo (1994), and its formation and dimension included the football penalty area. The reliability was found as .81 (n=20). We conformed to the elements of this agility test, in which the athletes ran as fast as possible through the tests with this sequence: sprint (40 m), back sprint (8.25 m), sprint (8.25 m), sprint (8 m), slalom (70 m), sprint (8 m), side sprint (8.25 m), side sprint – opposite direction (8.25 m).

Testing Procedure

The tests included one each sprint 0-15-30 m, slalom 0-15-30 m, and dribbling 0-15-30 m, followed by the agility test. Sprint, slalom and dribbling tests were applied twice, with the players resting between trials. Finally, the agility test was performed. Descriptive statistics of the subjects are presented in Table 1.

Data Analysis

The acquired data was transferred to the computer and evaluated with SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences). The descriptive statistics (f, %) and Pearson Moments Multiple Correlation and Paired sample t-test statistical tests were used. Significance level was determined at .05.


All participants completed the test procedure. Results attained from the subjects were classified according to the mean, standard deviation, minimum, maximum and range, and are presented in Table 2.

Correlations between sprint, slalom, and dribbling were tested with bi-variate Pearson Moments Multiple Correlation, and results are given in Table 3. As can be seen, statistically significant positive (p.05) correlation was determined between the following: agility and sprint 15; agility and sprint 30; dribbling 15 and dribbling 30; slalom 15 and slalom 30; sprint 15 and sprint 30; dribbling 15 and slalom 15; dribbling 30 and slalom 15; dribbling 30 and slalom 30; and dribbling 15 and slalom 30.

Apart from the above, other relation among the variables was statistically insignificant. No statistically significant relation was determined between sprint and dribbling and slalom values, but there was a positive correlation between slalom and dribbling.


We determined participants’ mean age as 23.72 3.4 years, mean height 179 6.5 cm, mean weight 72.4 6.7 kg, and mean training years as 8.5 3.4 years. In this study 0-15 m sprint value was approximately 2.25 sec, 15-30 m 1.85 sec and 0-30 m 4.14 sec. Winkler (1991) reported 0-15 m sprint value as approximately 2.43 sec, 15-30 m as 1.71 sec, and 0-30 m as 4.14 sec. These findings support our study.

In subjects with good sprint values, agility values were significantly more meaningful (r = .49) (P < .05). Although according to Balsom (1994), soccer players who have good sprint ability cannot also be skilled in agility. In this study, players having good sprint values also had significantly more meaningful agility values. Similar results were also found in the study done by Herm (1993). He found that there was a correlation between 30 m sprint value and agility (r =.65), and this data support our findings.

According to the Little & Williams study (2003), there is a significant correlation between maximum speed and agility ( r = 0.34 p< 0.05). There is a notion that maximum speed and agility are distinctly specific attributes. The specificity may be attributable to differences in the musculature utilized strength qualities required and complexity or of motor control, between the different speed components.

To find the relationships between dribbling and slalom, one study was conducted by Van Rossum and Wijbenga (1991). According to the statistical analysis, correlation value was found (r=.59). In this investigation, a statistically meaningful relationship (r=.55) was determined between dribbling and slalom. High perception skills are needed in slalom and dribbling skills; however, perception does not affect sprint and agility skills. The participants who did well in the slalom test also performed well in dribbling tests. This high correlation between slalom and dribbling can be explained by the similarity among step frequencies, movement and dynamic changes, and specific and compulsive concentration.

No significantly meaningful relation was found between sprint and dribbling and slalom values. According to the definitions of sprint and dribbling elements (Howe, 1996), it is seen that while the anatomical movements resemble each other, angle and velocity of the extremities differ. We assume this is why speed had no affect on dribbling.

According to the study, it is seen that performance of acyclic speed and dribbling are affected by performance of cyclic speed run. In soccer, the importance of cyclic running has decelerated because of changes in the structure of play. Because action is limited to a narrow field, acyclic speed and dribbling can be more important in taking opponents out of play and gaining an advantage. It is suggested that speed drills should be formatted with both acyclic and different dribbling, which more directly supports the necessary qualities of modern soccer.


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  10. Lindquist, F., & Bangbo J. (1991). Do young soccer players need specific physical training. In T. Reilly, J. Clarrys, & A. Stibbe (Eds.), Science and football II. London E & FN Spon.
  11. Mosher, R. E. (1985). Interval training: The effects of 12-week programme on elite, prepubertal male soccer players. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 25, 84-86.
  12. Reilly, T. (1996). Fitness assessment. In T. Reilly (Eds.), Science and soccer (pp. 42-43). London: E & FN Spon.
  13. Reilly, T., & Ball, D. (1984). The net physiological cost of dribbling a soccer ball. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 55, 267-271.
  14. Reilly, T., & Thomas, V. (1979). Estimated daily energy expenditures of professional association footballers. Ergonomics, 22, 541-548.
  15. Tiryaki, G., Tuncel, F., Yamaner, F., Agaoglu, S. A., Gmsdag, H., & Acar, M. F. (1996). Comparison of the physiological characteristics of the first, second and third league Turkish soccer players. In T.Reilly (Eds.), Science and Football III (p. 32). London: E & FN Spon.
  16. Wilmore, J. H. (1992). Training for sport and activity: The physiological basis of the conditioning process. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  17. Winkler, W. (1991). Computer-controlled assessment and video – Technology for the diagnosis of a player’s performance in soccer training. In T. Reilly, J. Clarrys, & A. Stibbe (Eds.), Science and football II (pp. 73-80). London: E & FN Spon


Table 1. Height, Weight and Training Years of the Football Players

Variable ( n = 177 )Height (cm)Weight (kg)Training (year) Mean (sec.)1.7972.48.55 SD (sec.).066.753.40 Min. (sec.)1.6560.01.0 Max. (sec.)1.9892.020.0 Range (sec.).3332.019.0

Table 2. Agility, Sprint, Slalom and Dribbling Results,

Variables ( n = 177 )AgilitySprint 0-15Sprint 15-30

Sprint 0-30

Slalom 0-15

Slalom 15-30

Slalom 0-30

Dribbling 0-15

Dribbling 15-30

Dribbling 0-30

Mean (sec.)41.902.251.85








SD (sec.)








Min. (sec.)35.871.981.67








Max. (sec.)51.862.502.11








Range (sec.)








Table 3. Correlation Results

Agility Dribbling15 Dribbling30 Slalom15 Slalom30 Sprint15 Sprint30
Agility ———– .33p.117 .35p.107 .36p.105 .35p.107 .45*p.019 .49p.011
Dribbling15 .33p,117 ———– .67*p.000 .53*p.000 .45*p.019 .31p.119 .29p.201
Dribbling30 .35p.107 .67*p.000 ———– .51*p.001 .55*p.000 .26p.227 .35p.107
Slalom15 .36p,105 .53*p.000 .51*p.001 ———- .84*p.000 .33p.117 .26p.227
Slalom30 .35p.107 .45*p.019 .55*p.000 .84*p.000 ———– .29p.201 .34p.112
Sprint15 .45*p.019 .31p.119 .26p.227 .33p.117 .29p.201 ———– .74*p.000
Sprint30 .49*p.011 .29p.201 .35p.107 .26p.227 .34p.112 .74*p.000 ———-

*(P< .05)

2016-04-01T09:49:40-05:00June 8th, 2005|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Coaching, Sports Exercise Science, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on The Effects of the Speed Function on Some Technical Elements in Soccer

Outdoor Recreation Participation: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior


Behavioral factors were investigated in a real outdoor setting, in order to explain one’s intention and actual behavior of participating in outdoor recreational programs. This paper used an extended model of the Theory of Planned Behavior, with the addition of the self-identity variable, aiming to predict intention to participate and then actual participation in a specific outdoor recreation program including activities like: lake canoe/kayaking, orienteering, and archery. Three hundred and twenty-nine adult individuals participated in the study. Manifold correlations existed between all the variables of the study. The results also indicated that perceived behavioral control, role identity, and attitudes toward participation significantly predicted individuals’ intention to participate in the specific outdoor recreation program (R = .597; p < .001). Furthermore, intention toward participation was a significant predictor of the actual behavior (R = .390; p < .001). These findings are discussed with reference to academic literature, the improvement of outdoor activity programs by emphasizing the need of suiting customers’ needs and the practical implications for recreation programs’ provision.


The popularity of outdoor recreation has been rapidly increased the last years, as more and more people are realizing the multiple benefits of outdoor recreation participation (Priest & Gass, 1997). It is widely accepted that outdoor recreational programs contribute to participants’ physical and psychological health by offering opportunities for excitement, new challenges, risks, growth and human development, as well as opportunities for social interaction.

A variety of theoretical approaches have been applied for the study of outdoor recreation participation, with the objective to identify the factors that facilitate or limit participation in outdoor recreational activities (Holden, 2003; Kyle, Graefe, Manning & Bacon, 2003). In the present study, we used an extended version of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) with the inclusion of the role identity variable, aiming to test the degree to which intention to participate as well as actual participation can be predicted by the elements of the theory.

According to the TPB (Ajzen, 1988; Ajzen & Madden, 1986), human behavior is a function of an individual’s intention to perform the behavior in question. In its turn, intention is determined by a combination of three conceptually independent factors: (a) attitude toward the specific behavior, (b) subjective norms, and (c) perceived behavioral control. More specifically, the model proposes that behavior is a function of beliefs, which are related to the behavior. Attitudes are defined as one’s positive or negative predisposition towards a specific behavior, and determined by an individual’s behavioral beliefs toward the behavior (Ajzen, 1988). On the other hand, subjective norm expresses the social pressure that is placed on the individual to perform the specific behavior. Perceived behavioral control has been introduced to enhance the prediction of behaviors in which volitional control may be incomplete (Ajzen, 1988). Irrespectively of a person’s intention, there may be some obstacles preventing him / her from caring out the behavior. These obstacles may be internal factors, such as, skills, abilities, knowledge, and adequate planning, as well as, external factors, such as, time, opportunity, and cooperation with other people (Ajzen & Madden, 1986), and expresses individual beliefs about the ease or difficulty in performing a specific behavior. The TPB postulates that perceived behavior control influences behavior both directly and indirectly through an independent effect on behavioral intention (Ajzen & Madden, 1986). The more it is perceived that the behavior in question is not under control, the more it is expected that a direct link, between perceived behavioral control and behavior, not mediated by intention, will be present.

In the context of outdoors, the more positive attitude an individual holds, the higher the societal pressure placed on him. Furthermore, when the behavior is perceived to be controllable, behavioral intentions are more likely to be positive. Participation in outdoor recreation programs has unique characteristics, since it requires for individuals to invest time, effort and energy. Furthermore, there are many internal (e.g., injury risk and perceived fitness and skill levels) and externals factors (e.g., weather conditions, transportation, availability of opportunities) that limit individuals’ choices and make perceived behavioral control an important variable (Godin, 1993; Michels & Kugler, 1998).

Several researchers applied the theoretical framework of planned behavior to examine intention to participate in sporting activities (Courneya & Friedenreich, 1999; Papaioannou & Theodorakis, 1996; Theodorakis, 1992; 1994). In most of the studies, attitudes toward a behavior appeared to be a stronger determinant of intention (Biddle, Goudas & Page, 1994), whereas subjective norm was a weaker one (Bourdreau, Godin, Pineau, & Bradet, 1995; Courneya & McAley, 1995; Dzewaltowski, 1989). These results were not supported by studies using children and teenagers (Theodorakis, 1992).

While there have been plenty of studies that used the TPB, very few researchers applied the model in the context of outdoor recreational participation, and especially in a real-life outdoor setting. Ajzen and Driver (1991; 1992), who conducted two of the very few studies, used a laboratory setting, which limits the application of their findings. In these two studies, Ajzen and Driver (1991; 1992) reported that individuals’ beliefs and active participation in outdoor activities, such as running, biking, climbing and sailing, were not strong determinants of one’s intention towards participation in these activities.

Theodorakis (1994) extended the theoretical model of planned behavior, by adding a new variable, named role identity. The entry of the role identity variable was based on the theories of ‘identity’ and ‘symbolic interaction’ (Burke, 1980). It was first used in a study conducted by Theodorakis (1994), who attempted to predict adolescent women’s participation in a recreational exercise program. Role identity pertains to an individual’s behavior which, appears to be in accordance with a set way, as it is part of the person’s identity, his/her role within the society, as well as it is an element of him/herself. Theodorakis (1994) concluded that the Planned Behavior model was slightly more successful in predicting exercise behavior with the inclusion of the role identity variable. This variable has not been used by previous studies in the context of recreation participation. We argue that it is meaningful in this setting, considering that behavior / participation in outdoor recreational activities can be developed through an individual’s role.

In the present research, we attempted to investigate how behavioral factors influence an individual’s decision to participate in an outdoor recreational program, which included lake canoe/kayak, orienteering, and archery. The Planned Behavior Model enhanced with the role identity variable provided the theoretical framework for our investigation.


The data were collected in two stages:

a) Data collection about intention to participate in the outdoor program In order to recruit participants, a series of presentations were made by the researchers in a University campus targeting University students, in a local fitness clubs, and in a local cultural association. Three hundred and twenty nine (N=329) individuals attended these presentations. They were informed about the program, the place, the activities included (lake canoe/kayak, orienteering, and archery), and the dates, and were invited to participate. They also completed the questionnaire with the elements of the TPB, and they were asked to report if they intend to participate in the programs.

b) Data collection about actual participation One hundred and eighty seven (N=187) individuals of those reported intention to participate (56%) showed up at Lake Plasteera, where the program took place. This was the sample of the second stage of the study.

Assessment of Variables

The variables from the planned behavior model were based on the original work of Ajzen and Madden, (1986), modified for the Greek language and culture by Theodorakis (1992; 1994), and re-modified by the researchers for the purposes of this research project.

Attitude towards Participation, in outdoor activities was assessed with one item: “For me to participate in next week’s excursion at Lake Plasteera which, includes canoe, archery, and orienteering activities, is..” Responses were given on a 7-point scale, using ten (10) bipolar adjectives (e.g., good-bad, healthy-unhealthy, interesting -boring, useful – of no-use, pleasant – unpleasant, wise – foolish). Cronbach’s reliability coefficient was .72.

Subjective Norms, were determined with four items. Example: “If I participate in next week’s excursion at Lake Plasteera which, includes canoe, archery, and orienteering activities, individuals who are important to me.”. Responses were given on 7-point scales, ranging from ‘will disagree’ to ‘will agree’. Cronbach’s a reliability coefficient was .81.

Perceived Behavioral Control. The total score of three items was used to estimate participants’ perception of control on the specific behavior. Examples: “If I wanted to, I could participate in next week’s excursion at Lake Plasteera which, includes canoe, archery, and orienteering activities”, “How much control do you exert over your participation in next week’s excursion at Lake Plasteera which, includes canoe, archery, and orienteering activities?”. Participants’ responded on 7-point scales, ranging from ‘likely’ to ‘unlikely’ and ‘complete control’ to ‘no control’, respectively. Cronbach’s a coefficient was .73.

Role Identity. This variable was added to the model by Theodorakis (1992). Seven items were used to measure role identity. Examples: “It’s in my character to participate in next week’s excursion at Lake Plasteera which, includes canoe, archery, and orienteering activities”, “Generally, I am the type who is going to participate in next week’s excursion at Lake Plasteera which, includes canoe, archery, and orienteering activities”. Responses were given on a 7-point scale, ranging from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. Cronbach’s a was .86.

Behavioral Intention. The mean score of three items estimated participants’ intention to exhibit the behavior of participating. Example: “I will try to participate in next week’s excursion at Lake Plasteera which, includes canoe, archery, and orienteering activities.” Responses were given on a 7-point scale, with endpoints labeled ‘possible’ and ‘impossible.’ Cronbach’s a for this subscale was .91. Actual Behavior, was measured by actual participation in the program.


Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were computed for all variables used in this study. Table 2 shows the Pearson Product-Moment correlations among all variables.

Table 1

Descriptive statistics and reliability analysis for the planned behavior scales.

Number of items Mean SD Min Max Coefficient alpha
Attitudes toward behaviorSubjective norms

Role identity

Perceived behavior control

Intention toward behavior


























Table 2

Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficients among variables.

Variables 1 2 3 4 5
1. Intention Toward Behavior
2. Attitudes Toward Behavior .431**
3. Subjective Norm .237** .240**
4. Perceived Behavioral Control .536** .465** .184**
5. Role Identity .427** .526** .342** .392**
6. Behavior .390** .137* .057 .265** .206**

* p < .01, ** p < .001

Significant correlations existed between intention toward the behavior of participation and the following variables: attitude towards participation (r = .431, p < .001), subjective norm (r = .237, p < .01), perceived behavioral control (r = .536, p < .001), role identity (r = .427, p < .001), and the actual behavior of participation (r = .390, p < .001). Actual behavior of participation also significantly correlated with attitudes towards the behavior (r = .137, p < .01), perceived behavioral control (r = .265, p < .001), and role identity (r = .206, p < .001). Moreover, significant correlations existed between perceived behavioral control and attitudes, perceived behavioral control and role identity, attitudes and role identity, subjective norm and role identity.

Prediction of Intention

Stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to predict intention for participation. The variables from the planned behavior model served as predictors (i.e., independent variables). The results are presented in Table 3. The analysis showed that perceived behavioral control, role identity factor, and attitudes toward the behavior were significant predictors of participants’ intention towards the behavior. More specifically, in step 1, perceived behavioral control contributed to the prediction, R = .53, (F = 132.1, p < .001). In step 2, role identity increased predictability to .58, (F = 85.1, p < .001). In step 3, attitudes toward behavior further increased the prediction to .59 (F = 60.0, p < .005). Hierarchical regression analyses were also performed. The results matched the stepwise analysis.

Table 3.

Stepwise Multiple Regression Analysis for Prediction of Intention.

Variables R F Change p
1. Perceived Behavioral Control2. Role Identity

3. Attitude Toward Behavior

4. Subjective Norm










Prediction of Behavior

Stepwise multiple regression analysis was also used to predict actual behavior of participation. The results of this analysis are presented in Table 4. In step 1, intention toward the behavior contributed to the prediction, R = .39 (F = 58.6, p < .001). Perceived behavioral control, attitudes toward the behavior, and role identity did not contribute to the prediction beyond intention. Once again, a hierarchical regression analysis was performed and results matched the stepwise analysis.

Table 4.

Stepwise Multiple Regression Analysis for Prediction of Behavior.

Variables R F Change p
1.Intention Toward Behavior2.Perceived Behavioral Control

3.Attitudes Toward Behavior

4.Role Identity

Excluded Variables

1. Subjective Norm











Explaining participation in outdoor recreational activities appears to be a complex task. The primary purpose of this study was to predict intention towards participation as well as actual participation in outdoor recreational activities. Role identity was included as an extra variable in an effort to strengthen the prediction of intention and actual participation.

The results provided support for the applicability of the TPB in the context of outdoor recreation. First of all, actual behavior was significantly predicted by participants’ intention. It should, however, be noted that the prediction was not very strong. Almost half of the individuals that reported intention to participate in the activity did not turn up, and did not participated in the program. This finding shows the difficulties in predicting outdoor recreation participation. Individuals reported intention to participate but for some reasons did not. It is of theoretical and practical importance to find out these reasons. This is where constraints research could give answers and clarify the lack of correspondence between intention and behavior (Alexandris & Carroll, 1997a). Future research should be conducted in this direction. As previously discussed, outdoor recreation participation requires considerable investment by individuals in terms of time, effort, and resources. It is subsequently expected that individuals should overcome a variety of constraints in order to reach to participation.

These arguments are supported by the important role of perceived behavioral control in predicting intention to participate. It was shown to be the most important contributor. This is in line with the majority of the previous studies in sport and exercise settings (e.g., Ajzen & Driver 1992; Courneya & Friedenreich, 1999; Dzewaltowski, 1989; Michels & Kugler, 1998; Papaioannou & Theodorakis, 1996; Theodorakis, 1994) that reported perceived behavioral control as the most important determinant of intention to participate in sport and exercise activities. Once again, it is of practical important to further explore the personal meaning of this variable. For some individuals it might mean perceived constraints (e.g., perceived lack of time), while for some others it might mean real constraints (e.g., lack of financial resources). The meaning of perceived behavioral control is personal but it is also contextual. It is expected that different factors will limit individuals’ participation in exercise activities in comparison with outdoor activities.

The results also supported the inclusion of role identity within the model since it significantly predicted intention to participate. As previously discussed, role identity refers to an individual’s behavior, which appears to be in accordance with a set of specific images and an individual’s role within the society. It is an interesting finding, since role identity has not been included in previous studies in the area of outdoor recreation. It clearly has a personal meaning, and further research is required in order to clarify how this identity is formed, and what are the factors that influence it. Positioning outdoor recreation based on customers’ self-identity might be a good suggestion for those working on the promotion and marketing of the programs. Subsequently, further clarifying the role of identity and its meaning is of practical importance, since it could help program providers to design more effective marketing strategies.

Attitude was the last variable that contributed in the prediction of intention. Individuals with more positive attitudes are more likely to express a positive intention towards participation in outdoor recreational programs. This supports findings of previous studies in sport setting (Michels & Kugler, 1998; Theodorakis, 1994). Attitudes are usually formed on the basis of previous experience or by information that is provided by formal (e.g.,advertising) and informal (e.g., friends) sources.

Finally, subjective norm did not have a significant role in explaining one’s intention to participate in outdoor activities. Once again, this finding is in line with previous research. The majority of previous studies (Boudreau at al., 1995; Courneya & McAuley, 1995; Dzevaltowski., 1989; Godin, 1993) did not report significant relationships between subjective norm and intention to participate. Ajzen & Driver (1992), and Dzewaltowski, (1989), argued that social influence-pressure has a small effect on one’s intention to exercise. It seems however that the age of the participants might play a significant role. We used a sample of adult individuals, where the influence of the social environments seems not to be important. Previous studies that used adolescents, however, led to different results. Theodorakis (1992), for example, found that subjective norm was the stronger predictor of intention to participate in sport activities among young students.

In conclusion, the present study applied the TPB in an outdoor recreation setting. The results provided support for the value of the theory. They also indicated the difficulties in predicting actual participation in outdoor recreation based on intentions to participate. Future research should focus on the identification of the factors that intervene between intention and actual participation. Perceived behavioral control, attitudes towards outdoor recreation and role identity were the three variables that significantly contributed to the prediction of intention.


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2016-04-01T09:49:08-05:00June 7th, 2005|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Outdoor Recreation Participation: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior

Predictors of Academic Achievement Among Student-Athletes in the Revenue-Producing Sports of Men’s Basketball and Football


Researchers have examined input or precollege and individual characteristics of student-athletes and on this basis have attempted to predict the student-athletes academic success. Much of this work has attempted to relate these predictions to demographic factors. Some studies suggest that differences in academic performance are influenced by academic criteria, while other studies reveal that psychological factors have a greater impact on the variation in academic achievement among student-athletes. Although these studies yield a considerable amount of relevant information with regards to selected predictors of academic performance among college student-athletes, few scholars have examined how student-athletes are impacted by the environmental influences within their college experience. The present study examines interaction with faculty measures as predictors of college Grade Point Average (GPA) for male student-athletes in revenue-producing sports. Data are drawn from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program’s 2000 Freshman Survey and 2004 Follow-Up Survey. The sample includes 459 football and basketball players attending predominantly white institutions. Regression results indicate that the impact of the contact or interaction between faculty and student-athletes is to some extent contingent upon the specific nature of the interaction. For example, faculty who provided help in achieving professional goals makes a relatively strong contribution to student success whereas faculty who provided encouragement for graduate school did not benefit male student-athletes equally for this study. Finally, the implications of these findings should be discussed among student-athletes, faculty, and advisors in order to improve the communication between faculty members and male student-athletes, enrich student-athletes’ academic productivity as well as their overall college experience.


A substantial amount of research in past years has been conducted in an effort to determine significant predictor such as demographic, academic criteria, and psychological variables of academic achievement among student-athletes (Adler & Adler, 1985; Lang, Dunham, & Alpert, 1988; Lawrence, 2001; Purdy, Eitzen, & Hufnagel, 1985). Although these studies yield a considerable amount of relevant information with regards to selected predictors of academic performance among college student-athletes, few studies examine the life experiences or environmental factors that influence the academic success of the student-athlete while on campus (Comeaux & Harrison, 2001; Sellers, 1992). The environment encompasses all that happens to student-athletes during the course of their educational programs, which may affect and influence the desired intellectual outcome-to matriculate and graduate (Astin, 1993a).

The present study thus examines both demographic (input) and environmental variables in the prediction of academic achievement for student-athletes in the revenue-producing sports of men’s basketball and football. Specifically, this study examines selected demographic and faculty interaction measures of academic achievement among male student-athletes in revenue-generating sports. The results of the analysis are discussed in terms of their demand for future investigation on how demographic and interaction with faculty measures influence student-athletes’ academic success, as well as implications for present and future National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) programming and policy.

Methodology and Research Design


The data in this study are drawn from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) 2000 Student Information Form (SIF) and 2004 College Student Survey (CSS) that is sponsored by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and their Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Although the reliability of the instrument has not been formally measured “during the past 30 years the CIRP has generated an array of normative, substantive, and methodological research about a wide range of issues in American higher education” (Sax, Astin, Korn, Mahoney, 1996). Research based on CIRP data was found to be most widely cited in American higher education research (Budd, 1990).

The specific sample analyzed for this study included 459 football and basketball student athletes attending predominantly white institutions. Given the longitudinal nature of this study only students who completed all items of interest (demographic and environmental measures) on both surveys were included. The sample was composed only of students attending four-year, predominately white institutions. While the sample was not randomly selected and is not nationally representative of the population, it does represent a large number of students from various higher education institutions.

Data Analysis

This study employs the Input-Environment-Outcome (I-E-O) model for studying college impact variables on students (Astin, 1993). “Inputs” refer to the students’ entering characteristics, “environment” is that which the student is exposed to during college, (i.e., faculty, peers, diverse views, etc.) and “outcomes” are the students’ characteristics after interacting with the environment (Astin, 1993). The power of Astin’s I-E-O model is its ability to allow researchers to measure student change during college by comparing outcome characteristics with input characteristics. In short, this framework examines the impact of various college environments on student outcomes, by controlling for inputs or students’ entering characteristics and environmental experiences.

Block stepwise regression was conducted to separate both input and environmental characteristics as the independent variables for the dependent measure, which is academic achievement. Within each block, (significant at p < .05) variables entered the regression in a stepwise fashion. The value of using a stepwise procedure design is that it allows for an examination of changing beta coefficients as each variable enters the equation.

Outcome Variable

The outcome variable focused on in this study is college Grade Point Average (GPA), a quantitative measure for academic achievement. Although there is only one dependent variable used, college GPA is a crucial variable for the purpose of this study, and a common outcome when investigating student and student-athlete achievement in higher education (Astin, 1993a; 1993b).

Input Variables

Achievement and academic characteristics (Block 1) consist of students’ characteristics before entrance to college. Achievement measures include the Verbal and Math SAT and high school grades, followed by an academic measure, studying and homework (pre-test). This is seen as an important input variable after previous exploratory analysis using study and homework as an intermediate outcome (See appendix A for variable list).

Demographic characteristics (Block 2) include measures on race and family background. For race, this study includes whites and African-American/black. Controlling for these two races was imperative, as there are a disproportionately high number of these races involved in revenue generating sports. Of the two races, blacks are expected to have the most significant effect on academic achievement compared to whites (Sellers, 1992). For family, measures include parental status (defined as the number of parents in the household of student). In addition, parental income is included as a measure, which is defined as an estimate of parents’ income by the student. Lastly, the mother’s and father’s education is included as a measure, which is defined as a composite of the mother’s and father’s educational attainment. It is anticipated that these input characteristics would have an influence on academic achievement among male revenue athletes because of strong indications from previous research (Sellers, 1992).

Environmental Variables

Measures of environmental characteristics (Block 3) are categorized into two groups: faculty support and academic characteristics (see appendix A for a complete description of the faculty and academic variables).

Table 1

Predicting Academic
Achievement (College GPA) among Male Revenue Athletes (N = 459 Freshmen
Entering in 2000)

Input Entering:
1 High School GPA 47 47 47 39 36 36
2 SAT Verbal 50 35 21 21 21 20
Environment Entering:
3 Faculty provided help in achieving pro goals 54 22 18 18 18 14
4 Faculty provided respect 55 25 18 17 13 13
Not Entering:
Studying/HW (pretest) 13 04 04 04 04
Race: White 00 00 -03 -05 -05
Race: Black -08 -04 -02 -01 -01
Status of Parents 06 05 03 04 03
Parental Income -06 -01 -06 -05 -06
Father’s Education 09 05 00 00 00
Mother’s Education 09 06 01 02 01
SAT Math 26 08 -03 -02 -02
Studying/HW 21 11 16 08 06
Talking W/Teachers Outside Class 4
Studied W/Other Students 11
Faculty Provided Encourage for Grad School 22 18 15 09 07
Faculty Gave Advice About Education Program 15 12 11 01 -03
Faculty Provided Assistance W/Study Skills 02 04 06 -02 -04


Data Source: 2000 Freshman Survey (CIRP) & 2004 College Student Survey (CSS); Higher Education Research Institute, UCLA


Input Effects

This study represents an attempt to investigate the relative input characteristics on academic achievement among male revenue athletes enrolled in colleges and universities. Table 1 lists the input characteristics which reveals that high school GPA is the most powerful predictor of college GPA, a proxy for academic achievement (r = .47). This suggests that student with high GPAs in high school tend to get high GPAs in college. Such a finding was not surprising since high school GPA is the indicator that is more similar to college GPA in its composition. Moreover, the data reveals that the Verbal score on the SAT continues to have an influence on college GPA (r = .35). Similar to high school GPA, the data suggests that student-athletes who score high on the SAT Verbal tend to achieve higher academically in college. These two input variables do not change much as each step entered the regression. This indicates that these variables, as stated previously, are important in predicting academic achievement on male revenue athletes. Although SAT Math had a strong association to college GPA (r = .26), it did not enter the regression equation. However, once high school GPA entered at step 1 it dropped from (.26 to .08), suggesting the strength of high school GPA. Black students also did not enter the regression equation (r = -. 08), however, the data reveals that black student-athletes generally tend to enter college less prepared than whites (r = 0) in revenue generating sports.

It is of interest to note that parental status and income, and father’s and mother’s education, these variables did not enter the regression equation. The data suggests that there were no significant affects of these variables on academic achievement. Interestingly enough, the findings on mother’s and father’s educational attainment go against previous findings by Lang and her colleagues (1988).

Environmental Effects

Listed in Table 1, the entry of environmental experiences indicates some impact on academic achievement. This was largely because much of the effect of the environment is already accounted for by the input characteristics. However, the faculty support characteristics does give meaning to its relationship with academic achievement.

The data reveals that the environmental variable, faculty provided help in achieving professional goals, had a positive relationship with college GPA (r = .22). This suggests that students’ who receive assistance from faculty in achieving professional goals tend to performance higher academically in college. In addition, the data shows that there was a positive relationship between the environmental variable, faculty provided respect, and college GPA. This suggests that students’ who were respected by faculty tend to do better academically in college. While others faculty characteristics did not enter the regression equation, two variables did have strong relationships with college GPA (see table 1). Lastly, the academic characteristics, studying and homework, had a strong relationship with college GPA (r = .26), however, after step 1, it dropped (from .26 to .08), indicating the strength of high school GPA.


The present investigation provides evidence that both input and environmental characteristics do impact academic achievement among male revenue athletics participation in intercollegiate sports. Both high GPA and Verbal scores on the SAT continued to be strong predicators of academic achievement in college for both athletes and nonathletes. Moreover, this study showed that the impact of the contact or interaction is to some extent contingent upon the specific nature of the interaction. For example, faculty who provided help in achieving professional goals makes a relatively strong contribution to student success whereas faculty who provided encouragement for graduate school did not benefit male student-athletes equally for this study.

Given the relationship between input variables, academically oriented interactions and student-athletes’ success, the results have important implications for program design that can be used to assist college and university-level student-athletes in improving their academic performance. Beyond that, this study argues for institutions encouraging a wide range of forms of faculty communication and mentoring that are responsive to the needs of male student-athletes of different abilities. When developing such programs attention must be paid, within the structures, practices, and processes of the programs, to specific factors. Since some student-athletes enter college performing at lower academic levels than their peers, faculty, advisors and administrators must be well advised to appreciate their situation and work closely with these students in identifying factors that may impede or facilitate their academic talent development and/or self-identity. It is apparent, moreover, that programs in this area should involve faculty members as possible mentors to student-athletes to offer support and instructions about the importance of their academic pursuit. Further, since the quality and nature of formal and informal communication and faculty interactions with student-athletes is also essential to both academic achievement and overall college experience, mandatory academic and social activities (e.g. research projects, faculty attendance at sporting events and team lunches, etc.) between student-athletes and faculty members should be encouraged (Comeaux and Harrison, 2001). In doing so, faculty members will become more exposed to the culture of this special population of students and begin to cultivate meaningful relationships.


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Appendix A

Dependent Variable: College GPA

I. Input Block
Academic Background Characteristics

  • High School GPA
  • SAT verbal
  • SAT math
  • Studying/HW (pretest)
  • Talking w/ teacher outside class (pretest)
  • Studied with other students (pretest)

II. Input Block
Demographic Characteristics

  • Race: white
  • Race: black
  • Parental status
  • Parental income
  • Father’s education
  • Mother’s education

III. Environment Block
Faculty & Academic Support Characteristics

  • Study/HW
  • Faculty encouragement toward grad school
  • Faculty gave advice about educational program
  • Faculty respect
  • Faculty assistance with study skills
  • Faculty helped in achieving pro goals
2015-03-24T10:00:17-05:00June 6th, 2005|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Management, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Predictors of Academic Achievement Among Student-Athletes in the Revenue-Producing Sports of Men’s Basketball and Football