Monthly Archives: November 2015

Modern Trends in Sports Administration and Management

modOne of the major factors militating against the development of sports in Nigeria today is lack of effective management. A lot of solutions are being proffered by concerned and patriotic Nigerians daily to bail us out the quagmire. One of such solutions is this text entitled “Modern Trends in Sports Administration and Management”. It is written by Dr. Joseph Awoyinfa, a lecturer in the Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Nigeria; a researcher and educational consultant. I was the person invited by the author and the university to review the book when it was presented to the public on December 4, 2008 in Nigeria.

According to Awoyinfa, it is a truism all over the world that sport is now a reference issue which can no longer be ignored at various sectors of the economy and spheres of life. The author adds that this text thus takes a critical look at topical issues in sports administration and management, dwelling on theories and principles of modern trends in sports administration and management such as leadership, organisation, planning, motivation, etc.

The text contains 16 chapters. Chapter one is christened “the concept of sports management”. Here, Awoyinfa says management is a concept that implies different things to different people at different times, thus leading to its multiplicity of definitions. He explains that management has been variously described as an art, a science, a person or people, a discipline and a process.

This author expatiates that as an art, sports management is all about carrying out sports organisational functions and tasks through people; while as a science, sports management is about establishing sports philosophy, laws, theories, principles, processes and practices. As an organisation, according to him, sports management is defined as a means of creating formal structures and an establishment based on a mission, objectives, targets, functions and tasks.

Awoyinfa says as a person or group of people, sports management may refer to the head alone or to all the senior staff, committee, etc.; while as a discipline, management is a field of study with various subjects and topics. The author illuminates that sports management as a process is about a systematic way of doing things. Awoyinfa highlights management functions in sports administration as planning, organising, staffing, directing/leading, controlling, coordination, budgeting and evaluation. On whom a sports manager is, this author educates that a sports manager is anyone at any level of sport organisation who directs
the efforts of other people towards the achievement of organisational goals sport-wise.

Chapter two is based on the subject matter of evolution and trends of sports management thought. Here, Awoyinfa discloses that the development of thoughts on sports management dates back to the days when people first attempted to accomplish goals by working together in a group. In his words, “There was serious thinking and theorising about managing many years before the dawn of the twentieth (20th) century, which marked the beginning of modern sports management thought. Major efforts to develop theories and principles of sports management began from the early twentieth (20th) century with the work of Frederick Taylor and Henri Fayol. The industrial revolution of the nineteenth (19th) century probably provided the climate for this very serious theorising.”

Awoyinfa adds that since the turn of the 20th century, writers on sports management and business theory have been propounding different theories about how to manage work and personnel more efficiently and effectively. This author educates that the three main schools of management thought are: the classical; the human-behavioural; and the integrative. Awoyinfa also highlights early sports management theorists; principles and characteristics of scientific management; appraisal of the scientific management theory, etc., in this chapter.

Chapter three is thematically labelled “principles of sports management”. In this chapter, the educational consultant explains that sports principles are the basic laws on which the practice of sports management is built. He adds that management principles must therefore be based on general terms for them to be applicable within sport organisations of varying sizes and character. “Modern sports managers and administrators are expected to be able to identify and use appropriate principles that are relevant to particular situations. This is because no single principle can suit all administrative situations,” submits Awoyinfa.

He says the fundamental principles of sports are those applicable to all sports organisations and as a result of their general acceptability, they are sometimes referred to as “universal principles of sports management”. This author expatiates that some of these principles are: responsibility; delegation of authority and communication. As regards humanitarian principles of sports management, Awoyinfa identifies these as democracy, justice, human relations, sympathy, empathy, consideration and humility.

In chapter four based on the concept of behavioural and motivational theories in sports organisation, the author says human beings are unique creatures as they behave differently under different conditions and are mostly difficult to predict. Awoyinfa stresses that since human beings constitute the most important element in sports organisation, sports managers need some understanding of why people behave in one way or the other, so that they (sports managers) can influence people to perform exactly the way sports organisations find desirable.

One potent instrument this author suggests that can be used to elicit performance in athletes is motivation. In his words, “Motivation is something needed in sports organisations to make employees perform.
However, it has been an important and a puzzling subject for sports managers.” Awoyinfa further discusses development of motivational concepts in sports organisation; application of motivational theories to sports management; methods of behaviour modification, etc., in this chapter.

In chapters five to ten, the author beams his analytical searchlight on subject matters such as management techniques in sports organisation; the concept of sports organisation; setting design in sports organisation; the concept of planning in sports administration; making sports organisations more effective in Nigeria and staffing in sports organisations.

Chapter 11 is based on communication strategies in sports organisation. According to Awoyinfa here, communication is a crucial factor in any organisational effectiveness because organisations cannot function effectively when communication skills are lacking among members. “Since communication is the moving spirit in an organisation, its absence may make organisations standstill,” asserts this author.
In chapters 12 to 16, Awoyinfa X-rays concepts such as organisational changes and development in sports administration; leadership in sports administration and management; administration and management of soccer as a coach; teaching human kinetics and health education in schools and colleges; and organisation and administration of schools at various levels of education.

As regards mode of presentation, this text scores a pass mark. For instance, the language is comprehensible and the ideas are brilliantly articulated. The simplicity of the language is expected, given the author’s dual professional background as a lecturer and pastor. To ensure easy study of the text on readers’ part, Awoyinfa highlights the objectives of each chapter at the beginning and ends with review/revision questions.

What’s more, he creatively embroiders the text with graphics (pages 50, 97, 317, 330, 338, 395, etc.) to enhance readers’ understanding through visual communication. Awoyinfa includes references at the end of each chapter to fulfil academic obligation of source disclosure and offer readers opportunities to read more. Inclusion of many references also confirms the depth of his research. His use of visual distinction for the phrase “Modern Trends” in the title is emphatically creative.

If there are chapters that really make this text qualified as a compendium of modern solutions to the administrative and management problems plaguing our sports development in Nigeria, they are chapters four, eight, 11 and 13. This is because they discuss motivation, planning, communication and leadership respectively.

Meanwhile, the thematically greatest chapter of all is chapter four. The fact that it is consciously or unconsciously taken to be the greatest chapter finds practical expression in the deeper communication and cohesion between its subject matter on the one hand and the outer front cover’s allegorical visuals or metaphorical images such as goal post, cyclists racing, a lawn tennis player poised for action with her bat, sprinters competing and footballers struggling for ball possession, on the other hand. These are images used for illustration in motivational discourse.

However, some errors are noticed in this text. The errors are “Acknowledgement” (page iii), instead of “Acknowledgements”; non-paragraphing of the natural first few paragraphs of “Preface”; “Loosing” (pages 396 and 404), instead of “Losing”, etc. These errors need to be corrected in the next edition.

On a note of analytical finality, this text is a compendium of irresistible sports management tips. It is a must-read for all stakeholders in the sports sector, especially managers and administrators. It is simply fascinating.

How Can Playing Sports Contribute To A Child’s Development

chChildren spend most of their day time at school, albeit they are deprived of time for sports and fun. The main reason for this is that either the schools do not have enough facilities to organize sports or the management does not realize the importance of sports and other physical activities. In schools, the break time is hardly of 20 to 30 minutes. Children can either play games with friends or have their lunch during this short time. They do have games session, but that is just once in a week. Even on that day the children cannot play sports as there is nothing for them to play. All they do is to spend that time in either learning a test or doing their homework. Teachers and parents both emphasize on doing homework and learning lessons after school. There are only a few parents and educators who understand that a child should have a balance routine, and get time for studies, games, and proper rest. Education is not just reading, memorizing, and writing homework, it is, in fact, the development of one’s personality. Importance of sports and games should not be neglected, when it comes to educating children and teenagers. Sports contribute on a child’s physical, emotional and psychological development.

Why Is Sports Essential?

Sports is essential for a healthy living, as Hippocrates said, “Sport is a preserver of health.” Let’s see what different benefits we can get from playing and physical activity.

  • Sports reduces body fat, controls body weight, prevents Cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
  • Playing outdoor games enhance endurance, flexibility, improves balance as well as strengthens bones and muscles.
  • Sports help in developing better hand-eye co-ordination and fast foot movement.
  • It reduces risks of getting injured and quickens recovery and healing.
  • The children who play sports are less likely to get arthritis and diabetes than their peers who do not exercise or play games.
  • Sports plays pivotal role in child mental development. It is a proven fact that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Sports makes one both physically and mentally fit. According to a research, the children who play sports, do better in their academic studies. Involving in physical activities improve concentration and enables mind to focus properly. This helps students in their studies. They can understand and learn their lessons effectively and quickly than those who do not play sports. Beside this, sports also teaches children problem-solving skills and enables them to set and accomplish goals.

1. How Sports Contribute In Character And Personality Building?

“Sports is human life in microcosm,” said a sports broadcaster. Apart from benefiting their physical health, sports also play an important role in psychological development and social well-being of a child. Playing inculcate values like values like discipline, responsibility, self-confidence, sacrifice, and accountability. By playing sports, children how to get along with their peers and interact positively with their coaches and elders. It builds sportsmanship spirits in them, whether they win or lose. The losing team shake hands with the winning one and pat on their shoulders as a gesture of appreciating them.

2. Sports Reduces Stress

Sports help one combat anxiety, depression and stress. Sports trains one to accept defeat gracefully and move one. They learn that winning and losing are parts of life, one should not feel depressed and dishearten on losing, but move on and strive more for the next time. Rita Mae Brown, an author says, “Sports strips away personality, letting the white bone of character shine through. Sports gives players an opportunity to know and test themselves.” The children who play sports get more chance of meeting and interacting with people of similar interests and make new friends, this boosts their confidence. Sports inculcates the spirits of sportsmanship and sharing. Children playing together as a team, share and celebrate their victory together. This has a positive affect on a child’s psychology and behavior. Players are less likely to become selfish when they grow up; they are caring and readily to work as a team and get along better with others. Dr. Keith and Rebecca White, conducted a research which reveals that middle-school teenagers who are physically active and play sports are more contented with their lives and feel healthier than those who do not participate in sports and physical activities. “Our study demonstrates the benefits of youth sports participation on self-rated health and life satisfaction among young youth at a critical juncture in adolescent development. Our findings suggest that sports team participation may enhance school connectedness, social support and bonding among friends and teammates,” says Dr. Keith and Rebecca White.

3. Why Girls Should Be Encouraged To Play Sports?

Most parents discourage their daughters from participating in sports and performing physical activities at school. This is mainly, because they fear that their complexion would become dark. The fact is that playing sports will make them look younger than those girls who do not play. Yes, that’s right! Playing slow down the aging process and make skin healthy, beautiful and glowing. Girls who play sports are less likely to become over-weight. Sports make girls physically fit, attractive, energetic and confident. They can socially interact better with others as compared to the girls who do not play sports or exercise. A research has found that girls who play sports have positive physical image and high self-esteem. According to a report, physical activity can help to prevent hip fractures among females and reduce the effects of osteoporosis. Parents should not stop their girls from playing sports only because they do not want them to become dark. Girls can prevent their skin complexion from becoming dark, tan or sunburn by using a sunblock before they go out.

Sport and the Russian Revolution

ree“People will divide into “parties” over the question of a new gigantic canal, or the distribution of oases in the Sahara (such a question will exist too), over the regulation of the weather and the climate, over a new theatre, over chemical hypotheses, over two competing tendencies in music, and over a best system of sports.”
– Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution

At the start of the twentieth century sport had not flourished in Russia to the same extent as in countries such as Britain. The majority of the Russian population were peasants, spending hours each day on back-breaking agricultural labour. Leisure time was difficult to come by and even then people were often exhausted from their work. Of course people did still play, taking part in such traditional games as lapta (similar to baseball) and gorodki (a bowling game). A smattering of sports clubs existed in the larger cities but they remained the preserve of the richer members of society. Ice hockey was beginning to grow in popularity, and the upper echelons of society were fond of fencing and rowing, using expensive equipment most people would never have been able to afford.

In 1917 the Russian Revolution turned the world upside down, inspiring millions of people with its vision of a society built on solidarity and the fulfilment of human need. In the process it unleashed an explosion of creativity in art, music, poetry and literature. It touched every area of people’s lives, including the games they played. Sport, however, was far from being a priority. The Bolsheviks, who had led the revolution, were confronted with civil war, invading armies, widespread famine and a typhus epidemic. Survival, not leisure, was the order of the day. However, during the early part of the 1920s, before the dreams of the revolution were crushed by Stalin, the debate over a “best system of sports” that Trotsky had predicted did indeed take place. Two of the groups to tackle the question of “physical culture” were the hygienists and the Proletkultists.

Hygienists
As the name implies the hygienists were a collection of doctors and health care professionals whose attitudes were informed by their medical knowledge. Generally speaking they were critical of sport, concerned that its emphasis on competition placed participants at risk of injury. They were equally disdainful of the West’s preoccupation with running faster, throwing further or jumping higher than ever before. “It is completely unnecessary and unimportant,” said A.A. Zikmund, head of the Physical Culture Institute in Moscow, “that anyone set a new world or Russian record.” Instead the hygienists advocated non-competitive physical pursuits – like gymnastics and swimming -as ways for people to stay healthy and relax.

For a period of time the hygienists influenced Soviet policy on questions of physical culture. It was on their advice that certain sports were prohibited, and football, boxing and weight-lifting were all omitted from the programme of events at the First Trade Union Games in 1925. However the hygienists were far from unanimous in their condemnation of sport. V.V. Gorinevsky, for example, was an advocate of playing tennis which he saw as being an ideal physical exercise. Nikolai Semashko, a doctor and the People’s Commissar for Health, went much further arguing that sport was “the open gate to physical culture” which “develops the sort of will-power, strength and skill that should distinguish Soviet people.”

Proletkult
In contrast to the hygienists the Proletkult movement was unequivocal in its rejection of ‘bourgeois’ sport. Indeed they denounced anything that smacked of the old society, be it in art, literature or music. They saw the ideology of capitalism woven into the fabric of sport. Its competitiveness set workers against each other, dividing people by tribal and national identities, while the physicality of the games put unnatural strains on the bodies of the players.

In place of sport Proletkultists argued for new, proletarian forms of play, founded on the principles of mass participation and cooperation. Often these new games were huge theatrical displays looking more like carnivals or parades than the sports we see today. Contests were shunned on the basis that they were ideologically incompatible with the new socialist society. Participation replaced spectating, and each event contained a distinct political message, as is apparent from some of their names: Rescue from the Imperialists; Smuggling Revolutionary Literature Across the Frontier; and Helping the Proletarians.

Bolsheviks
It would be easy to characterise the Bolsheviks as being anti-sports. Leading members of the party were friends and comrades with those who were most critical of sport during the debates on physical culture. Some of the leading hygienists were close to Leon Trotsky, while Anotoli Lunacharsky, the Commissar for the Enlightenment, shared many views with Proletkult. In addition, the party’s attitude to the Olympics is normally given as evidence to support this anti-sport claim. The Bolsheviks boycotted the Games arguing that they “deflect workers from the class struggle and train them for imperialist wars”. Yet in reality the Bolshevik’s attitudes towards sport were somewhat more complicated.

It is clear that that they regarded participation in the new physical culture as being highly important, a life-affirming activity allowing people to experience the freedom and movement of their own bodies. Lenin was convinced that recreation and exercise were integral parts of a well-rounded life. “Young people especially need to have a zest for life and be in good spirits. Healthy sport – gymnastics, swimming, hiking all manner of physical exercise – should be combined as much as possible with a variety of intellectual interests, study, analysis and investigation… Healthy bodies, healthy minds!”

Unsurprisingly, in the aftermath of the revolution, sport would play a political role for the Bolsheviks. Facing internal and external threats which would decimate the working class, they saw sport as a means by which the health and fitness of the population could be improved. As early as 1918 they issued a decree, On Compulsory Instruction in the Military Art, introducing physical training to the education system.

This tension between the ideals of a future physical culture and the pressing concerns of the day were evident in a resolution passed by the Third All-Russia Congress of the Russian Young Communist League in October 1920:

“The physical culture of the younger generation is an essential element in the overall system of communist upbringing of young people, aimed at creating harmoniously developed human beings, creative citizens of communist society. Today physical culture also has direct practical aims: (1) preparing young people for work; and (2) preparing them for military defence of Soviet power.”

Sport would also play a role in other areas of political work. Prior to the revolution the liberal educationalist Peter Lesgaft noted that “social servitude has left its degrading imprint on women. Our task is to free the female body of its fetters”. Now the Bolsheviks attempted to put his ideas into practice. The position of women in society had already been greatly improved through the legalisation of abortion and divorce, but sport could also play a role by increasingly bringing women into public life. “It is our urgent task to draw women into sport,” said Lenin. “If we can achieve that and get them to make full use of the sun, water and fresh air for fortifying themselves, we shall bring an entire revolution in the Russian way of life.”

And sport became another way of conveying the ideals of the revolution to the working classes of Europe. The worker-sport movement stretched across the continent and millions of workers were members of sports clubs run mainly by reformist organisations. The Red Sports International (RSI) was formed in 1921 with the express intention of connecting with these workers. Through the following decade the RSI (and the reformist Socialist Worker Sports International) held a number of Spartakiads and Worker Olympics in opposition to the official Olympic Games. Worker-athletes from across the globe would come together to participate in a whole range of events including processions, poetry, art and competitive sport. There was none of the discrimination that marred the ‘proper’ Olympics. Men and women of all colours were eligible to take part irrespective of ability. The results were very much of secondary importance.

So, were the Bolsheviks anti-sport? They certainly did not seem to go as far as Proletkult’s fervent ideological opposition and, as we have seen, were prepared to utilise sport in the pursuit of wider political goals. No doubt there were many individual Bolsheviks who despised sports. Equally many will have greatly enjoyed them. Indeed, as the British secret agent Robert Bruce Lockhart observed, Lenin himself was a keen sportsman: “From boyhood he had been fond of shooting and skating. Always a great walker, he became a keen mountaineer, a lively cyclist, and an impatient fisherman.” Lunacharsky, despite his association with Proletkult, extolled the virtues of both rugby union and boxing, hardly the most benign of modern sports.

This is not to say that the party was uncritical of ‘bourgeois’ sport. It is clear that they tackled the worst excesses of sport under capitalism. The emphasis on competition was removed, contest that risked serious injury to the participants was banned, the flag-waving nationalist trappings endemic to modern sport disappeared, and the games people played were no longer treated as commodities. But the Bolsheviks were never overly prescriptive in their analysis of what physical culture should look like.

The position of the Bolsheviks in those early days is perhaps best summarised by Trotsky in the quote that opens this chapter. It was not for the party to decide what constituted the “best system of sports” or produce the correct line for the working class to follow. Rather it was for the mass of people to discuss and debate, experiment and innovate, and in that process create their own sports and games. Nobody could foresee exactly what the play of a future socialist society would be like, but equally no one could doubt that the need to play would assert itself. As Trotsky said, “The longing for amusement, distraction, sight-seeing and laughter is the most legitimate of human nature.”

Stalinism
The hopes of the revolution died, alongside thousands of old Bolsheviks, with the rise of Josef Stalin. The collectivist ideals of 1917 were buried, replaced by exploitation and brutal repression. Internationalism was jettisoned in favour of “socialism in one country”. As the values and imperatives of the society changed so too did the character of the country’s physical culture. By 1925 the Bolsheviks had already turned towards a more elitist model of sport. Around this time Stalin is reported to have said: “We compete with the bourgeoisie economically, politically, and not without success. We compete everywhere possible. Why not compete in sport?” Team sports reappeared, complete with capitalist style league and cup structures. Successful sportspeople were held up as heroes in the Soviet Union and the quest for records resumed. Many of the hygienists and Proletkultists who had dared to dream of new forms of physical culture perished in the purges.

Eventually sport became a proxy for the Cold War. In 1952 the Soviet Union was re-integrated into the Olympic movement ensuring that the medal table at each Games became a measure of the relative strength of East and West. As the country was inexorably compelled into economic, political and military competition on the international stage, so it also found itself drawn into sporting competition with the West.

Just as it would be a mistake to judge the ideals of the Russian Revolution by the horrors of Stalinism, so we should not allow the latter days of Soviet sport to obscure those remarkable early experiments in physical culture. Sport in Russia may have ended as a steroid-enhanced caricature, but how far removed that was from the vision of Lenin when he said: “Young men and women of the Soviet land should live life beautifully and to the full in public and private life. Wrestling, work, study, sport, making merry, singing, dreaming – these are things young people should make the most of.”

Are You A Sports Fan Or Sports Fanatic

wasI’m here to ask a very good question are you a sports fan or a sports fanatic? I looked up both definitions and the dictionary states for a fan the meaning is “an enthusiastic devotee or follower of sports or sports team” the meaning of a fanatic is “a person with an extreme enthusiasm or zeal for sports or sports team”. The difference between a sports fan and a sports fanatic is a very fine line. I consider myself a fanatic, and I will give you my opinion of the fine line that separates a fan and a fanatic.

A sports fan will have a favorite team that they follow when they have the time. The fan will know some facts or history about their favorite team. The fan will try to go and see their favorite team when they have some free time, and it fits in their schedule.

A sports fanatic eats, sleeps and breaths everything about sports. A sports fanatic will know every single fact or history detail about every sport. They know every rule, every player of a team, and every detail that has to do with that team or sport. A fanatic will try their hardest to go to every game of their favorite team, and if they can’t go to the game they will have a hand device or smart phone that can access the latest news or updates of the game.

The major necessity for a sports fanatic that doesn’t go to the game is a huge obnoxious movie cinema size flat screen TV that takes up half of their living room. It must have surround sound stereo speakers, so it sounds exactly like sitting in the sports stadium. The furniture in the living room must consist of a large comfortable sofa, with a couple of reclining chairs and foot rests. There must be plenty of sitting room for the fanatic to invite all his or her friends over for the “big” game.

The final necessity for a sports fanatic is the food. There needs to be plenty of food so it feels like they are tailgating in their own kitchen. There must be plenty of potato chips, dips, tortilla chips, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs, and much more available for the game. The most important is the beverages which consist of a case of beer that would fit in the refrigerator or they have their own personal little refrigerator that will hold the beers, and other beverages.

Sports fanatics will also have a lot more sports team gear and memorabilia than a sports fan. A sports fanatic needs every little sports memorabilia of their favorite sports teams from the sports team jersey to a little sports team spoon. The fanatics are also most likely the ones that dress up in hideous sports team gear, and have face paint all over them in the stadiums.

These are my personal opinions on the difference between a sports fan and a sports fanatic. If you have something to add that I left out, please feel free to leave your own opinion of the difference from the two. Thank you very much for taking a look at my article, and I hope to hear some of your own opinions of the question “Are you a sports fan or a sports fanatic?”