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Jess C. Dixon, Laura Chittle and Sean Horton

The relative age effect (RAE) has become a well-studied consequence of organizations utilizing a cutoff date to establish age cohorts. Within this case study, students will explore and learn how to perform various statistical analyses (i.e., chi-square, effect sizes, standardized residuals) to determine whether the RAE exists among those who competed in the 2011 and 2012 Little League World Series (LLWS). Students will learn about the mission and history of Little League Baseball (LLB) and discuss potential changes and/or strategies that could be used by the organization to make the LLWS more inclusive. Furthermore, students can use the knowledge gained from this case study to critically analyze the current status of various other sport organizations to help develop potential strategies to ensure fairness and equality for all participating athletes.

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Gary Alan Fine

Team sports typically depend for their meaning on the existence of a season—a string of games which, taken together, constitute the basis of success or failure. Further, teams are organized into leagues that compete against each other to see which team will gain the highest ranking, that is, which team can win one more game than any of its competitors. In this analysis, based on a 3-year participant observation study of five Little League baseball leagues, I suggest some ways in which teams sports has a historical focus. Specifically I point to the important role of statistics and records, the role of collective expectations in constructing the meaning of a season, and the role of important games and events in structuring recall. Seasons are structured like plays or novels in that they have beginnings and climaxes, or at least definite endings that can be referred to after the season. The essence of sport is not exercise, but memory.

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Dong-Rour Lee and Laurentius Jongsoon Kim

Context:

Many studies have explored closed kinetic chain (CKC) shoulder exercises (SEs) with a sling because they are safer and more effective than open-chain exercises, especially in early stages of treatment. However, the application of CKC SE in youth baseball players has rarely been attempted, although teenage baseball players also experience shoulder pain.

Objective:

To investigate the effects of CKC SE on the peak torque of shoulder internal rotation (IR) and external rotation (ER) in youth baseball players.

Design:

Single-group pretest, posttest.

Setting:

Biomechanics laboratory.

Participants:

23 Little League Baseball players with subacromial impingement syndrome.

Interventions:

The CKC SE with a sling was CKC shoulder-flexion exercise, extension exercise, IR exercise, and ER exercise. This exercise regimen was conducted 2 or 3 times/wk for 8 wk.

Main Outcome Measures:

The peak torque of shoulder IR and ER was measured using an isokinetic dynamometer. Concentric shoulder rotation was performed, with 5 repetitions at an angular velocity of 60°/s and 15 at 180°/s.

Results:

The IR and ER peak torque significantly increased at each angular velocity after the exercise program. In particular, the increase in IR and ER peak torque values was statistically significant at an angular velocity of 180°/s.

Conclusions:

CKC SE was effective in increasing shoulder IR and ER strength, demonstrating its potential benefits in the prevention and treatment of shoulder injury. In addition, increased IR peak torque appears to improve throwing velocity in baseball players.

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Ashley N. Weingartz and Stacy Warner

Tournament of State Champions, in which eight different state champion Little League Baseball teams to travel to Greenville, NC. Allyson saw this as an opportunity that would coincide with her semester long internship. She knew that GLL was unusual in that the supporters they were trying to engage were

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Angus H. Thompson, Roger H. Barnsley and George Stebelsky

The records of 837 major league baseball players were examined in order to determine whether the Little League age eligibility criterion, based on the month of birth, affected participation rate at the professional level. The results indicated that major league players were more likely to have been born in the first months of the year, if that year corresponded to the one used for eligibility for Little League baseball (i.e., beginning in August and ending in July). A reanalysis of data presented in the literature (which suggested no effect) produced a similar result. These data are interpreted in terms of the relative age effect. That is, because of age cutoffs used in Little League baseball, some players gain a developmental advantage when competing against other youngsters who are considerably younger, although they are placed in the same age category for league play.

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Larry Noble and Hugh Walker

This study examined the relationship between selected mechanical characteristics of aluminum baseball bats and sensations on the hands resulting from impacts. Sixteen skilled male Little League baseball players held each of two bats while they were impacted at the following locations by baseballs at speeds of approximately 27 m/s: near barrel end, center of percussion (COP), distal node of the fundamental mode, and 4 in. toward the hands from the COP. Results of a questionnaire regarding annoyance and discomfort were correlated with selected bat characteristics and vibrational characteristics associated with each impact condition. Results indicated that perceptions of annoyance and discomfort were related to the level of excitation of the fundamental mode and first overtone mode and that annoyance and discomfort were less with impacts on the COP and fundamental vibrational node.

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Nancy P. Barnett, Frank L. Smoll and Ronald E. Smith

A field experiment was conducted to examine the impact of the Coach Effectiveness Training program on athlete attrition. Eight Little League Baseball coaches attended a preseason sport psychology workshop designed to facilitate desirable coach-athlete interactions. A no-treatment control group consisted of 10 coaches. Children who played for both groups of coaches were interviewed before and after the season and were contacted again the following year. At the end of the initial season, children in the experimental group evaluated their coaches, teammates, and the sport of baseball more positively than children who played for the control-group coaches. Player attrition was assessed at the beginning of the next baseball season, with control-group youngsters withdrawing at a significantly higher rate (26%) than those in the experimental group (5% dropout rate). There was no difference in mean team won-lost percentages between dropouts and returning players, which indicates that the attrition was not due to lack of team success.

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Gary Alan Fine

Despite the tendency to think of leisure activity in terms of personal preferences, leisure can also be understood in terms of the ability of organizations to provide resources for participants. Drawing on the resource mobilization approach to social movements, I outline a theoretical approach, labeled Provisioning Theory, which attempts to explain how leisure organizations use resources to attract and retain participants. Organizations must mobilize “fun” for members if they are to continue over time and the leisure activity is to increase in popularity. After describing how Provisioning Theory applies to a voluntary leisure subculture (mushroom collecting), I examine two special cases of the provisioning of resources: games that are “owned” or controlled by a corporation (Dungeons & Dragons) and voluntary sports activities organized with multiple levels of authority (Little League baseball).

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Ryan King-White

In this project I will trace former Little League Baseball star, Danny Almonte’s, celebrity identity and flexible citizenship with particular regard to the way that he has been used as both an exemplary Dominican immigrant and later a cautionary tale. As such this critical biography of Almonte’s rise and fall in American popular culture—informed by Henry Giroux’s extensive theorizing on youth culture, Ong’s concept of flexible citizenship, and Steven Jackson’s understanding of “twisting”—will critically interrogate the mediated discourses used to describe, define, and make Almonte into a symbol of a (stereo)typical Dominican male. In accordance with contemporaneous hyper-conservative and neoliberal rhetoric pervasive throughout the United States, I posit the notion that Almonte’s contested celebrity was formulated within the popular media as the embodiment of the minority “assault” on white privilege.

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Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll and Bill Curtis

Little League Baseball coaches were exposed to a preseason training program designed to assist them in relating more effectively to children. Empirically derived behavioral guidelines were presented and modeled, and behavioral feedback and self-monitoring were used to enhance self-awareness and to encourage compliance with the guidelines. Trained coaches differed from controls in both overt and player-perceived behaviors in a manner consistent with the behavioral guidelines. They were also evaluated more positively by their players, and a higher level of intrateam attraction was found on their teams despite the fact that they did not differ from controls in won-lost records. Children who played for the trained coaches exhibited a significant increase in general self-esteem compared with scores obtained a year earlier; control group children did not. The greatest differences in attitudes toward trained and control coaches were found among children low in self-esteem, and such children appeared most sensitive to variations in coaches' use of encouragement, punishment, and technical instruction.