Local sport club structures and their effect on athletic performance: The relationship between formalization and athletic performance in swimming
Authors: Douglas Wharam, Ed. D., Sandra Geringer, Ed. D., Roch King, Ph. D., Mickey Kerr, DSM
Doug Wharam, Ed.D.
222 25th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37203
Doug Wharam is the Associate Head Coach of the Nashville Aquatic Club in Nashville, Tennessee, and a three-time USA Swimming National Team and four-time USA Swimming National Junior Team coach.
Dr. Sandra Geringer is the Director of Recreation Management and Sports Studies at the United States Sports Academy.
Dr. Roch King is the chair of Sports Coaching at the United States Sports Academy.
Dr. Mickey Kerr is the Associate Dean of the School of Exercise and Sport Science at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Local sport club structures and their effect on athletic performance: the relationship between formalization and athletic performance in swimming
The purpose of this study applies an organizational structure perspective to athletic performance in competitive swimming in the United States. This research examines via survey the top USA Swimming clubs in the country as defined by their Club Excellence Program ranking. The Club Excellence Program is a voluntary program administered by USA Swimming that ranks teams based on the achievements of their elite 18 years and younger performers. The research focused on collecting contextual variables and structural variables relating to formalization. The relationship between the level of club formalization and elite athletic performance was examined.
Surveys were collected via Survey Monkey and were distributed to 241 teams who appeared on the 2018 and 2019 USA Swimming Club Excellence list. There were 128 responses received, a response rate of 52.6% and 121 cases were selected for analysis. A Spearman’s rho correlation was run to assess the correlation between the total formalization score a club attained and their Club Excellence ranking. There was no statistically significant correlation between the ranked data of Club Excellence Ranking and Total Dimension score, rs(112) = .113, p = .237. A multiple regression analysis was run to determine whether the survey questions could predict Club Excellence ranking. The multiple regression model statistically significantly predicted Club Excellence ranking, F(21, 90) = 1.824, p < .05, adj. R2 = .135. Variables that added statistically significance to the prediction included: Does your club have formal work plans? Does your club have a policies and procedures manual? and How often are athlete training programs, progress, and competition plans evaluated?
The results are relevant for coaches and team administrators and suggest the existence of a positive relationship between elements of organizational formalization and athletic performance within the sample. USA Swimming club teams, as well as other local sport clubs wanting to have athletes perform at a consistently high level should assess their current level of formalization and determine whether it meets the baselines established in this survey.(more…)