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Makayla Hipke and Frauke Hachtmann

This study used a case-study approach to develop an understanding of how social-media strategy is developed and deployed in Big Ten Conference athletic departments and to explore the issues associated with it. Based on in-depth interviews with department officials, the following 6 themes emerged: connecting with target audiences, varied approaches in coordination of postings, athletic communications as content gatekeepers, desire to incorporate sponsors and generate revenue, focusing on building fan loyalty through engagement, and challenges of negativity and metrics. The social-media strategy in Big Ten Conference athletic departments appears to be driven by athletic communications/sports information departments as opposed to marketing departments. The greatest benefit of social media has been the ease of engagement and instantaneous connection between fans and the teams they love, which can lead to building greater loyalty to a team. Some of the challenges departments face include having to deal with the reality of crises and negative attention around programs more quickly than with traditional media and to measure social-media success accurately.

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Howard L. Nixon II

This paper addresses how parents encourage or discourage sports involvement by their visually impaired offspring, the types of sports involvement these children pursue, and the effects of parental encouragement on sports involvement. It analyzes new evidence from a study of parental adjustment to a visually impaired child. The evidence was derived mainly from open-ended, in-depth interviews of parents of 18 partially sighted and totally blind children who had attended public school. There were 15 mothers and 9 fathers in the 16 families who were interviewed, and 2 of the families had 2 visually impaired children. Additional data were provided through interviews with 14 professionals and volunteers from various fields who had sports-related experiences or observations of visually impaired children and their families. Four major forms of parental encouragement and discouragement were identified: strong encouragers, weak encouragers, tolerators, and discouragers. The predominance of the latter three helped explain the dominant patterns of limited involvement in sport by visually impaired children. Implications of these findings for mainstreaming and appropriate integration also are considered.

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Katherine A. Beals and Melinda M. Manore

The purpose of this study was to delineate and further define the behavioral, psychological, and physical characteristics of female athletes with subclinical eating disorders. Subjects consisted of 24 athletes with subclinical eating disorders (SCED) and 24 control athletes. Group classification was determined by scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), the Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ), and a symptom checklist for eating disorders (EDI-SC). Characteristics representative of the female athletes with subclinical eating disorders were derived from an extensive health and dieting history questionnaire and an in-depth interview (the Eating Disorder Examination). Energy intake and expenditure (kcal/d) were estimated using 7-day weighed food records and activity logs. The characteristics most common in the female athletes with subclinical eating disorders included: (a) preoccupation with food, energy intake, and body weight; (b) distorted body image and body weight dissatisfaction; (c) undue influence of body weight on self-evaluation; (d) intense fear of gaining weight even though at or slightly below (-5%) normal weight; (e) attempts to lose weight using one or more pathogenic weight control methods; (g) food intake governed by strict dietary rules, accompanied by extreme feelings of guilt and self-hatred upon breaking a rule; (h) absence of medical disorder to explain energy restriction, weight loss, or maintenance of low body weight; and (i) menstrual dysfunction. Awareness of these characteristics may aid in more timely identification and treatment of female athletes with disordered eating patterns and, perhaps, prevent the development of more serious, clinical eating disorders.

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Nico Schulenkorf and Deborah Edwards

Building on the evidence of social impacts generated by sport events, there is a need for research to identify strategies suitable for maximizing event benefits for disparate interest communities. This paper investigates the opportunities and strategic means for sustaining and leveraging social event benefits arising from intercommunity sport events in the ethnically divided Sri Lanka. Following an interpretive mode of inquiry, findings are derived from the analysis of two focus groups and 35 in-depth interviews with Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and international event stakeholders. To maximize event benefits, findings suggest that event organizers and host communities focus strategically on children as catalysts for change; increase ethnically mixed team sport activities; provide event-related sociocultural opportunities; combine large-scale events with regular sport-for-development programs; and engage in social, cultural, political and educational event leverage. By implementing these strategies and tactics, intercommunity sport events are likely to contribute to local capacity building and inclusive social change, which can have flow-on effects to the wider community. These findings extend the academic literature on strategic event planning, management and leverage, as they provide a focus on community event leverage for social purposes in a developing world context—an area which has thus far received limited empirical research.

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Ian O’Boyle and David Shilbury

This study explores how trust is manifested and impacts on the levels of collaboration that take place in sport governance networks. A case study approach was used as the guiding method to examine the contributing factors that facilitate or inhibit trusting relationships between boards within sporting networks. Three sports from Australia were employed as the population for the study and 36 in-depth interviews were conducted with participants from national and state organizations operating within those networks, two federated and one partially unified. Interviews were analyzed using an interpretive process, and a thematic structure relating to the issues and impact of trust and distrust within the three networks was developed. Extant levels of trust, transparency, the capacity to build trust, and leadership emerged as the key themes in the study. The degree to which each of these dimensions was embedded in the cultures and processes of each network varied significantly. Leadership specifically, as a key finding, was shown to be an important factor in fostering collaborative relations at the governance level of these systems. A number of implications for sport governance practice and possible extensions for sport governance research based on these findings conclude the article.

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Daryl Marchant and Patrick McLaughlin

Innovative strategies were used to inform coaching practices regarding the skill of set-shot goal kicking in Australian Football (AF). An action learning approach was adopted including planning, data gathering, analyses and dissemination phases. Three distinct approaches were used to inform AF coaches of evidence and strategies to guide implementation, a) applying statistical trend data, b) applying expert knowledge, and c) applying biomechanical principles. Trend data from a full AFL season consisting of over 4,000 set-shots was used to inform coaches on numerous performance related parameters (e.g., distance, angle). Expert insider perspectives were generated through in-depth interviews with eight retired AF goal kicking champions. The past players had all kicked over 500 goals at the elite level and four had obtained AFL Hall of Fame or AFL Legend status. The related analyses produced six primary themes (a) correct technique (b) incorrect technique, (c) pre-kick routine, (d) mental skills (e) challenges/choices and (h) training. Third, biomechanical principles were applied to set-shot kicking with accompanying images and drills provided to coaches. A two year follow-up indicated the results were highly transferable to training and competitions. Coaches in sports that include closed skills may benefit from transferring where applicable these strategies to their sports.

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Nick Takos, Duncan Murray and Ian O’Boyle

To learn more about effective leadership of sport organizations, this study explored board member interactions in nonprofit sport boards and specifically the construct of authentic leadership and its impact on board functioning. This somewhat contrasts with the extant research on governance and boards, which has often focused on elements, such as structure, process, and policy. Scholars have often explored the leadership theme within sport at the individual, coach, team, and sport department level. Limited attention has been afforded to studying leadership within the sport governance domain, although the importance of gaining a greater understanding of this area has been noted by both industry and researchers alike. A case study investigation of the Australian Football League exploring authentic leadership in Australian Football League club boards is presented in this paper. Ten Australian Football League clubs took part in the study, and 51 in-depth interviews were conducted with participants (board members) from clubs located across Australia. Interviews were analyzed using an interpretive process, and a thematic structure relating to leadership, board dynamics, and authenticity was developed. Ultimately, three key components of authenticity emerged as highly influential on board effectiveness: relational orientation, self-awareness, and balanced processing. These findings suggest that the nature of relationships between board members, particularly the chair and chief executive officer, is more positively influential on board functionality if characterized by authenticity and likely to lead to higher levels of trust, reduced disharmony, and limiting the formation of harmful subgroups.

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Aaron Smith

Although it is well accepted that organizational stories communicate cultural meaning, little is known about their optimal composition for memorability and subsequent transmission. This interpretive study sought to explore the features of organizational stories which contribute to their cognitive optimality. Boyer’s (1994, 2001) cognitive optimality hypothesis was employed, which predicts the presence of minimally counter- intuitive (MCI) concepts in culturally recurrent stories. Employing a sample of nine Australian sport organizations, 27 in-depth interviews were conducted. The organizational stories collected in this research, when defined by Gabriel’s (2000) criteria, contained MCI concepts. The data analysis revealed three emergent codes that reflect the cognitive structure of MCI concept organizational stories: Agency, Membership Markers, and Ritual. This article extends cognitive optimality theory by demonstrating how it can be employed to understand the mechanisms underpinning the cultural transmission of concepts. It adds to theoretical explanations seeking to explain the construction and composition of sport organizational culture by predicting a heavier density of counterintuitive content in stories and other cultural content.

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Laura Cousens and Martha L. Barnes

The social embeddedness of economic interaction has emerged at the forefront of economic sociology over the last 15 years. In the context of sport, however, little research has been undertaken to enhance our understanding of how the socialized context surrounding sport organizers, local governments, and corporate sponsors impact decisions affecting sport delivery. Therefore, the purpose of this case study is to explore the social embeddedness of decision makers in sport organizations and the local government that shape sport delivery in one community. An embedded perspective of economic interactions considers the continuity of relationships that generate particular behaviors, norms, and expectations. In-depth interviews with the leaders of this community’s sport organizations and the members of its local government were undertaken to gain insight into the nature of how decisions pertaining to sport delivery were shaped and constrained by the social context in which they were bounded. The results of this research suggest that the informal interaction among community leaders in sport and politics served to inhibit change in the way sport programs were delivered in this community. Further, taken for granted assumptions of city leaders about the type, number, and quality of sports delivered to the residents resulted in fewer opportunities for sport participation, despite an awareness of the limitations of the existing programs.

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Marte Bentzen, Nicolas Lemyre and Göran Kenttä

The purpose of the current study was to provide insights in how and why four head coaches in elite football experienced being either high or low in burnout symptoms (BS) during a competitive season. A longitudinal sequential quantitative-qualitative mixed method approach was used to enhance the understanding of coaches’ experiences. First, data were collected using online questionnaires at the start and at the end of the competitive season with all coaches working at the Norwegian Elite Football League level. Second, in-depth interviews were conducted with four head coaches who were purposefully selected based on having the two highest and the two lowest burnout scores across the season compared with the overall sample. A quantitative approach was used to explore whether these four coaches differed when compared with the overall population on the associated variables: performance, budget, quality of motivation, perceived workload, work-home-interference (WHI), and recovery. A qualitative approach helped gain more insight in the experiences these four coaches had with possible onset variables. Analyses comparing the two sets of coaches, indicated no difference related to performance, budget and workload. However, the motivational profile, WHI, and ability to meet recovery demands were variables that contributed to explain differences in coaches’ BS.