Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a rapidly growing combat sport with unique development procedures unlike most traditional sports. In this study the development processes at an exemplar MMA gym were examined. Institutional work theory was used to understand how and why the sport is being developed in this setting. The results provide a microlevel account of the processes and operation of the sport as it develops, and indicate that traditional sport development models may not adequately represent all sports. Subcultural values reflecting what it takes to be a fighter along with a fighter’s duty to the gym influence recruitment, retention, and transition strategies of athletes. Two forms of institutional work, refinement and barrier work, were identified as simultaneously aiding and hindering the development of the sport. Along with furthering institutional theory research, this study contributes to the discourse on alternative ways of sport development for MMA and emergent sports.
Jules Woolf, Brennan K. Berg, Brianna L. Newland, and B. Christine Green
Marlene A. Dixon, B. Christine Green, Arden Anderson, and Peter Evans
levels of dropout in adolescents, particularly girls ( Hyman, 2012 ). Building and sustaining new sport opportunities falls within the theoretical and practical realm of sport development. Sport development systems are built by creating and sustaining pathways by which athletes enter a sport, find
The United States is struggling to hold its own in international competitions. The Amateur Sports Act mandates that the USOC and its NGBs should build American sport performances by fostering sport participation throughout the country, and by enabling sport research. However, data from the past 16 years of sport participation demonstrate that participation is declining in many of our key sports, while others show inconsistent or merely ephemeral growth. Further, sport research is no longer pursued by the USOC, and it is not funded by any U.S. government agency or private American foundation. Consequently, the American sporting culture is eroding, and the United States is becoming a client nation when it comes to sport research. A review of the formation of The Amateur Sports Act shows that it was formulated to address Cold War concerns. Consequently, the Act failed to consider sport development, as the Act’s primary purpose was to engender a rationalized private sport system through which to build teams that could beat communist athletes. A reassessment of The Amateur Sports Act in light of contemporary conditions, suggests that greater attention to participation and research are necessary, but that such attention will require establishment of a foundation to nurture sport participation and to fund sport research. The foundation’s mandate would include creation of clubs and leagues to enable year round and lifelong sport participation, enhancement of the availability of sport facilities for club and league use, guidance for grassroots development of sport, and establishment of clear pathways for athletes. The template for such a foundation was created in the 1960s but never implemented. The time is ripe for it to be implemented now either by incorporating its mandates into the new Foundation for Fitness, Sport, and Nutrition, or by establishing a foundation that specifically targets sport development.
Kalliopi Sotiriadou, David Shilbury, and Shayne Quick
The purpose of this study was to explore and map the sport development processes in Australia. A grounded theory approach identified sport development processes by examining 74 annual reports from 35 national sporting organizations (NSOs) over a period of 4 years, before and after the Sydney Olympic Games. The 3 frameworks presented in this article representing the attraction, retention/transition, and nurturing process illustrate the generic processes and strategies described by NSOs. The results show that each sport development process requires human and financial input from various stakeholders. These stakeholders initiate or implement sport development strategies for each process and each process has different sport development outputs. These results contribute to the extant literature of sport development by demonstrating that sport development is more complex and encompassing than previously described. It is proposed that the generic frameworks derived from this study be subject to more specific testing using other sport systems, as context and case studies could lead to tailoring the frameworks to represent specific sport development processes and systems.
South African society is a complex mix of first- and third-world components. Urgent socio-economic and political problems must be addressed to avoid chaos. Sport may be a key factor in bringing about change. Sport training strategies should form an integral part of affirmative action and sport development programs in South Africa. The overall aim of this research was to develop a structured scientific approach to the training and development of human resources in South African sport. The research was conducted in four phases over a 2-year period. The aims of the respective phases were to determine the current standard and scope of sport management in black developing townships, to compile a profile of competencies and training needs of sport managers, to develop an in-service training model for the aforementioned sport managers, and to design a comprehensive sport development strategy for South African sport. Research methodologies included questionnaires on general and functional managerial variables and training needs, content analysis of job descriptions, and personal interviews. Results revealed an insufficient standard of sport management in developing townships. A competency-based training and development model was proposed and positioned in an overall strategy for sport development in South Africa.
B. Christine Green
Sport development has become a leading issue for sport policymakers and sport managers worldwide. Sport development systems have two main objectives: to increase the number of participants actively engaged in sport and to enhance the quality of performances in sport. This is the foundation of the much used, but rarely examined, pyramid analogy in sport development. In this article, the pyramid model of sport development is explored, and its underlying assumptions are critiqued. Three tasks necessary for an effective pyramid model are identified: athlete recruitment, athlete retention, and athlete transitions. Recruitment requires the assistance of significant others, as well as the proliferation of many smaller, local-level sport programs. Retention requires a focus on motivation, socialization, and commitment. Advancement requires that programs be linked vertically and that athletes be aided in processes of locating and socializing into new levels of involvement. Although specific strategies for enhancing recruitment, retention, and transition of athletes can be identified from the literature, further research is needed.
This paper contributes to research on and theories of the state’s role in Canadian sport development by examining factors that led the Alberta government to create the Alberta Sport Council, Canada’s only Crown corporation with a sport mandate. The data used were collected from interviews and numerous documentary sources. The analysis drew from theories of the welfare state and from Claus Offe’s discussions of corporatism and the attribution of public status to private interest groups. Accordingly, the study identified key individuals, organizational factors, and the unique political and economic characteristics of Alberta that influenced the council’s creation. The paper concludes that despite this organization’s uniqueness, it reflects the same contradictory form of sport intervention found in other Canadian governments.
Stacy Warner, Jacob K. Tingle, and Pamm Kellett
Referees are key sport personnel who have important responsibilities both on- and off- the field. Organized competition would not survive without referees, yet little is known about what cause referees to discontinue in the role. This research examines the experiences of former referees so that managers may better understand strategies that might encourage more referees to be retained. Fifteen previous basketball referees were interviewed about their refereeing experience. Ten themes emerged that were related to the sport development stages of referee recruitment, referee retention, and referee advancement. The results indicate that issues experienced during the retention phase (Problematic Social Interaction, Training/Mentoring, and Lack of Referee Community) and then at the advancing stage (Lack of Administrator Consideration, Administrator Decision Making, and Sport Policies) are linked to eventual departure from the role. Interestingly, off-court factors were reported as more influential in the decision to leave. Managerial strategies and implications are discussed.
Mathew Dowling and Jimmy Smith
This investigation examined how Own the Podium (OTP) has contributed to the ongoing development of highperformance sport in Canada. In adopting an institutional work perspective, we contend that OTP’s continuance has not been the sole product of Canada’s success at the Olympic and Paralympic Games or lobbying efforts to secure additional funding. Rather, OTP’s permanence can also be explained as the by-product of the activities and actions of OTP itself and its supporting stakeholders to embed and institutionalize both the organization specifically and high-performance sport more generally in the Canadian sport landscape. In short, OTP’s continued existence can, in part, be explained by ongoing institutional work. To support our contentions, we draw on and analyze documentation that was either produced by, or significant to the development of, OTP. Our analysis identifies a number of OTP-related practices (e.g., tiering, hiring of high-performance advisors, and the creation and support of new high-performance sport programs) that have further institutionalized OTP and the norms, routines, and practices associated with high-performance sport. More broadly, our investigation draws attention to the importance of individual and collective actors in shaping institutional settings in sport.
Jeffrey A. Graham, Marlene A. Dixon, and Nancy Hazen-Swann
Youth sport organizations traditionally have focused their concern on training parents in sport and coaching skills, but have largely ignored their parent role. However, an increasing body of work exploring the phenomenon of fathering through sport has highlighted the need for youth sport organizations to become aware of and understand the dual roles of father and coach/volunteer and the potential impact on the participant and the sport organization of using sport as a site and mechanism for fathering (Kay, 2009; Messner, 2009). The purpose of this article is to examine recent literature about the ways—both positive and negative—that fathers use sport as a way to fulfill fatherhood responsibilities and the implications for sport management scholars and practitioners, particularly in voluntary youth sport organizations.