Solutions to Declining Participation Rates in United States Male Fastpitch Softball

Authors: Timothy Hatten, Adrian Thomas and Shaine Henert

Corresponding Author:
Timothy L. Hatten, Ph.D, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, DCT
3301 N. Mulford Road
Rockford, IL. 61114
t.hatten@rockvalleycollege.edu
815-921-3816

Timothy Hatten is a Full Professor and  Academic Chair in the Department  of Fitness, Wellness and Sport at Rock Valley College.   Dr. Hatten has over 30 years of experience, playing, managing and sponsoring male fastpitch softball.

Adrian Thomas, Helford Endowed Chair of Psychology, is currently the Director of Industrial and Organizational Psychology Ph.D. Program and a Full Professor at Roosevelt University.

Shaine Henert is an Associate Professor and Program Director in the Deparment of  Kinesiolgy and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University.

Solutions to Declining Participation Rates in United States Male Fastpitch Softball 

ABSTRACT

The sport of fastpitch softball (FS) has been popular in American sports and recreation dating back to at least 1933 with the formation of the Amateur Softball Association (ASA), the sport’s governing body (5).  In the United States, after a meteoric rise in participation through most of the century, more recently male fastpitch softball (MFS) has seen an equally dramatic downward trend in participation rates.  

The purpose of the current study was to obtain baseline beliefs about the etiology of the decreasing participation rates in MFS from current participatory stakeholders.  A survey of nine questions was distributed to the FS community via Survey Monkey through two softball websites that disseminate information about MFS.  The survey was placed on Al’s Fastball and Fastpitch West FS internet sites for one month and (n=415) current and former participants, coaches and/or sponsors completed the survey.  The current study participants felt strongly that the major reasons for the decline in participation included the importance of local adult leagues (95.9%), lack of media exposure (88.9%), loss of boy’s youth FS programs (88.6%) and the increasing costs (88.2%) associated with MFS.  When asked how the governing body of softball might address these reasons for the observed decline in participation respondents deemed increasing youth involvement (42.4%) as the number one potential solution.  In order, the other areas that participants felt were important were developing new pitchers (36.9%), improving grassroots programs (29.6%), and increasing media exposure (27.1%).  Declining participation rates in MFS has been an ongoing issue for many years and many rationales for the decline have been offered by both experts and novices.  By going directly to the real stakeholders, in MFP, it is hoped that outcomes of the current study include empirical confirmation for some oft voiced reasons for the decline in participation as well as providing some real solutions for reversing the trend.  

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2019-07-08T09:55:08-05:00July 11th, 2019|Research, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Solutions to Declining Participation Rates in United States Male Fastpitch Softball

Stakeholder Evaluation of the Policy Effects of University Decisions Regarding Athletics

Authors: Brad Stinnett1, Scott Lasley2, and Josh Knight2

1School of Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport, Western Kentucky University, United States
2Department of Political Science, Western Kentucky University, United States

Corresponding Author:
Dr. Brad Stinnett
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11089
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270.745.4329
E-mail: brad.stinnett@wku.edu

Stakeholder Evaluation of the Policy Effects of University Decisions Regarding Athletics

ABSTRACT

At public universities across the country, key stakeholders see intercollegiate athletics as a mechanism to raise the profile of their institution. Specifically, many universities have identified moving up in level of athletic competition as one part of a strategy to enhance a school’s visibility and reputation. Like all decisions made by public institutions, these are policy choices made by public officials that have consequences for institutions of higher education. The purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes of two stakeholder groups (faculty and staff) at a Southern regional public university that has made the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Specifically, this study examined and compared how key stakeholders evaluate the decision to move from the FCS to FBS level of competitions. An electronic survey was administered to university faculty and staff to collect data on their attitudes relative to intercollegiate athletics. Aggregate faculty and staff evaluations of the transition from FCS to FBS football and other strategic changes to athletics were compared to each other.  Additionally, faculty and staff opinions on the emphasis placed on academics, athletics, and the arts at the university were explored. Results indicate that staff generally view the impact of transitioning to the FBS level more favorably than faculty. Additional findings reveal that faculty, more so than staff, feel that too much emphasis is placed on athletics. This study draws attention to the apparent division that exists on how faculty and staff view decisions made regarding athletics. This divide between faculty and staff relating to decisions and outcomes can make policy questions involving athletics difficult to address. This study can help shape future research on university athletics and how it influences higher education policy. University administrators, such as directors of athletics, can utilize the findings for more effective decision making and to build a bridge with key constituents such as faculty and staff.

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2019-05-16T10:17:09-05:00May 16th, 2019|Research, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Stakeholder Evaluation of the Policy Effects of University Decisions Regarding Athletics

An Exploration of Female Athletes’ Experiences and Perceptions of Male and Female Coaches: Ten Years Later

Authors:Melissa Rima, Rory Weishaar, Brian McGladrey, Erica Pratt

Corresponding Author:
Brian McGladrey, Ph.D.
400 E University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926
brian.mcgladrey@cwu.edu
509-963-1972

Dr. Brian McGladrey is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Education, School Health, and Movement Studies at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.

An Exploration of Female Athletes’ Experiences and Perceptions of Male and Female Coaches: Ten Years Later

ABSTRACT

 Athletes’ experiences and perceptions of their coaches will be different based on differing lifestyles, personalities, and characters (16), and gender may be a mediating factor for the building of effective relationships between athletes and their coaches (11,12). The purpose of this study was to explore six female athletes’ experiences and perceptions of both male and female head coaches, and to compare results to those reported by Frey, Czech, Kent, and Johnson (4), who investigated the same issue 10 years prior. In this study, four prevalent themes emerged from semi-structured interviews with participants: (1) structure and communication; (2) personal relationships; (3) positivity and aggressiveness; and (4) coach preference. Although the results specific to coach gender preference were split (three participants stated they preferred a male coach, and three stated they preferred a female coach), other differences emerged with regard to different coach qualities. Results are discussed from the perspective of the participants, and compared to the 2006 study.

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2019-05-08T11:28:29-05:00May 9th, 2019|Research, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on An Exploration of Female Athletes’ Experiences and Perceptions of Male and Female Coaches: Ten Years Later

Endurance masters athletes: A model of successful ageing with clinically superior BMI?

Authors: Mike Climstein, PhD, FASMF, FACSM, FAAESS, Joe Walsh, MSc, Ian Timothy Heazlewood, PhD, Mark DeBeliso, PhD, FACSM

Corresponding Author:
Dr. Mike Climstein
Clinical Exercise Physiology, School of Health and Human Sciences
Southern Cross University (Gold Coast Campus)
Bilinga,  Qld 4225
Australia
michael.climstein@scu.edu.au
+617 5509 3330

Dr. Mike Climstein (FASMF, FACSM, FAAESS, AEP) is with Clinical Exercise Physiology, Southern Cross University, School of Health and Human Sciences, Bilinga, Queensland, Australia; Adjunct Associate Professor with The University of Sydney, Exercise, Health and Performance Faculty Research Group, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Joe Walsh is affiliated with the Faculty of Engineering, Health, Science and the Environment, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

Ian Timothy Heazlewood is Associate Professor and Theme Leader Exercise and Sport Science in The College of Health and Human Sciences, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

Mark DeBeliso is Professor, Department of Physical Education and Human Performance, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, USA

Endurance masters athletes: A model of successful ageing with clinically superior BMI?

ABSTRACT

Master athletes (30yrs and older) are aged individuals who exercise regularly and compete in organized competitive sport.  The long-term physical activity/exercise should afford these individuals health benefits, one of which should be apparent in body mass index (BMI), a simple index for identifying overweight and obese athletes. 

Purpose: To investigate the BMI of endurance masters athletes and determine if this cohort demonstrated clinically favourable BMI as compared to sedentary controls or the general population.    A systematic review of electronic databases (CINAHL, Cochrane, Medline, PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, Web of Science) for studies where BMI was measured in either masters athletes, World Masters Games athletes or veteran athletes.

Results:  Database searches identified 7,465 studies, of which nine met our inclusion criteria.   The mean BMI of all the studies was found to be significantly (p<0.001) lower in masters athletes as compared to controls (23.4 kg/m2 (±0.97) versus 26.3 kg/m2 (±1.68)).   Additionally, for all studies mean masters athlete BMI was classified as normal (BMI >18.5 to <25.0 kg/m2) whereas the majority (77.8%) of the controls BMIs were classified as overweight (BMI >25.0 to < 30 kg/m2).  In all studies, masters athletes had lower BMI compared to controls, this difference was found to be significant in 44.4% of the studies, where significance was not found masters athlete BMI was -2.6% to -18.6% lower than controls.    In all studies, the mean BMI was lower in masters athletes (as compared to controls) and this favourable BMI would afford masters athletes reduced risk with regard to the development of a number of cardiometabolic diseases, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer.

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2019-05-20T09:30:30-05:00April 25th, 2019|Research, Sports Health & Fitness|Comments Off on Endurance masters athletes: A model of successful ageing with clinically superior BMI?

Positive and Negative Events Predict Burnout and Engagement in Athletes and Non-Athletes

Authors: Donna Webster Nelson, Merry J. Sleigh, & Alyssa M. Nelson

Corresponding Author:
Donna Webster Nelson, Ph.D.
801 Oakland Avenue
Rock Hill SC, 29733
nelsond@winthrop.edu
803-323-2636

Positive and Negative Events Predict Burnout and Engagement in Athletes and Non-Athletes

ABSTRACT

The researchers compared predictors of engagement and burnout in adolescent athletes and non-athletes by focusing on daily positive and negative performance-related events (e.g., performing well in team practice) and interpersonal events (e.g., sharing a laugh with teammates). Participants were recent high school graduates who retrospectively reported participation in high school sports or heavy investment in alternate activities (e.g., marching band). The athletes and non-athletes were similar in how many hours they practiced and competed each week, frequency of activity-related travel, and performance level. In addition, the two groups did not differ in the extent to which their high school identity and self-esteem were based on their participation. Results revealed no overall differences between the two groups on engagement or burnout. For both groups, positive performance events predicted activity engagement (characterized by dedication, vigor and enthusiasm).  However, the experiences of athletes versus non-athletes differentially predicted burnout (marked by emotional and physical exhaustion). In athletes, burnout related to both performance and interpersonal events. In non-athletes, burnout was only related to performance events. In addition, burnout was positively associated with coach focus on winning (a situation more common for athletes) and negatively associated with coach focus on fun (a situation more common for non-athletes). These findings indicate that experiencing positive and negative events is a precursor for engagement and burnout in high school athletes and non-athletes. Promoting positive (relative to negative) events during training, practice, competitions or performances could enhance benefits and prevent maladaptive outcomes of participation in extracurricular activities. Positive social interactions may be particularly important for preventing burnout in adolescent athletes.

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2019-03-01T09:13:45-05:00March 1st, 2019|Research, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Positive and Negative Events Predict Burnout and Engagement in Athletes and Non-Athletes