Barriers and Strategies for Recruiting Officials in Victorian Swimming

This post is my presentation from the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (SMAANZ) 2012 Conference. The post contains the abstract and slides.

Hodgetts, D., & Tate, C. (2012). Barriers and Strategies for Recruiting Officials in Victorian Swimming. Paper presented at the Sport Management Association of Australia New Zealand Conference, Sydney, Australia.


Abstract Officiating plays a crucial role in sport. Recruiting and retaining people to perform this vital task is a continuing challenge for sport organisations (Cuskelly & Hoye, 2004), with a national decline of 27,000 referees and umpires across all sports between 2001 and 2010 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2001, 2012). Sports such as swimming require a large number of officials to conduct their events, making officials a particularly important resource. Swimming Victoria (SV) sought to understand why people become swimming officials, what were the barriers to becoming an official and what SV could to overcome any barriers. An online survey was sent to all of SV’s 7,974 members. The survey included demographics, swimming background and open-ended questions about motivations, barriers and strategies for recruiting swimming officials. The qualitative data from open ended questions was analysed for common themes using inductive coding. There were 1007 complete responses received, including 329 currently accredited officials. Respondents self identified multiple roles including: parents of swimmers (n=592), club administration or committee member (n=198), swimmer (n=127), currently accredited officials (n=166), lapsed officials (n=118), coach (n=59), team manager (n=48) and other (including timekeeper, swim teacher; n=48). Current and lapsed officials listed their predominant reasons for becoming an official were: family involvement; to assist the club; and, because they were asked. Barriers identified by non-officials included that they were already contributing in another capacity (predominantly as a parent), time commitment and the difficulty in gaining accreditation. Respondents recommended strategies to address these issues, including: providing more information about officiating, simplifying the accreditation process and actively inviting people to become officials. From the survey responses, eight recommendations were made to Swimming Victoria. A representative from the organisation will discuss the response to and implementation of the research findings.

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Danya Hodgetts

Dr Danya Hodgetts is a Sport Management consultant, educator and researcher with more than 25 years experience in the sport industry. Danya specialises in developing and implementing innovative education, training and professional development programs for national and state sporting bodies, TAFE and University.

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