Will the Olympics really inspire more people to play sport?

Originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Did watching the Olympics inspire you to get out and play sport? Perhaps the gold-medal-winning effort of our men’s K4 kayaking team inspired you to take to the water. Or maybe Anna Meares’ gold in the cycling sprint inspired you to head to your local veldrome.

If so, you might have been experiencing the “trickle-down effect”. This phrase has been used for roughly 40 years and refers to an increase in sports participation at a grass-roots level following a major sporting event. It’s a term that existed long before the fancier, all-encompassing term “event legacy” became de rigueur.

Even in the 1970s, the first chair of the Australian Insitute of Sport John Bloomfield was suggesting the trickle-down effect doesn’t work, and that physically gifted athletes may actually discourage us average participants.

Today, the trickle-down effect serves as a wildly inaccurate justification for the funding of elite sport, with Federal Minister for Sport Kate Lundy recently stating:

“Olympic sport inspires people to get involved at a grassroots level – driving increased participation in community sport”.

No minister.

Kate Lundy’s comments show a lack of understanding about sports legacy.

Sure, Professors Tony Veal, Kristine Toohey and Stephen Frawley found some signs of increased grassroots sport participation after the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. But, crucially, they couldn’t attribute the participation increases to the events in question.

So, if we can’t use major sporting events held in our own backyard to motivate the masses to get moving, what hope do we have when the event’s held in old Blighty?

It’s also overly simplistic to consider the Olympics as a mass media campaign for physical activity. There is a whole area of research examining the complex range of variables that are required to convert the viewing of sport into the doing of sport.

There are two reasons why I find the term “trickle-down effect” disappointing. First, a trickle is a passive, osmotic process. We need to be active in leveraging sports events, to use them as a catalyst and drive the increase in participation.

Second, a trickle is a trifling and unimportant quantity – to justify this expensive inspiration, we need a flood of participation, not an intermittent drip.

But it’s not all bad.

Some research by British professor of sport in society Mike Weed, suggests elite success in sporting events may have some effect on those already engaged or experienced in sport, but little or no impact on those who rarely or never participate.

Sports clubs need to do more to attract would-be members.
Greg L. photos

Sporting bodies leverage this opportunity and encourage interested parties to participate. For many sports this is the only time they feature in mainstream media. National sport organisations need to prepare their clubs to promote themselves locally and make their sport accessible to aspiring Olympians.

Sporting organisations need to consider their potential customers. What are the barriers preventing them moving from indirect consumer to a consumer? How can we move light consumers into medium or heavy consumption?

The Olympics has provided an awareness of sport but sports now need to promote themselves and their products to prompt us into action.

If your child has been running around all week twirling ribbons, and the local gymnastics club offered introductory packages right now, chances are you’d be more likely to sign up.

Weed’s work shows that lapsed participants are especially influenced by major events. So now’s a great time for sporting to invite lapsed members to make an Olympics-influenced comeback.

For a trickle effect to work, we need sporting organisations at all levels to provide the plumbing that will divert potential participants into the catchment.

Further reading:

The Conversation

Danya Hodgetts does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Rocking the Pomodoro

I came across the Pomodoro technique from John Birmingham via Twitter (where I seem to find all of my good ideas these days).

I liked it because it fitted well with a workshop I had just completed about self-sabotage and writing, and how beneficial snack writing could be (as opposed to binge writing).

I duly re-tweeted about this fruity little number on #phdchat, and Thesis Whisperer picked it up.

Then this twitter conversation happened last week, and the Pomodoro playlist was born!

I don’t like music all of the time when I am writing, but there are some Pomodoros that need every bit of encouragement you can muster.

There are more IT-minded boffins around than me who can show you how to make a playlist, and it’ll depend on your library. I used a Smart Playlist on iTunes.

My only hints are to skip genres that won’t rock you. For me that is comedy, holiday and children (I have wayyy to much Wiggles in my library). I’ve also found that it will err on the side of caution, so I make my list 26 minutes – just to squeeze every drop of tomato-ey goodness out of my time.

What’s your rockin’ Pomodoro got in it?

Liking a lemon? All I want is a one night stand

Abbotsleigh: Find us on Facebook

I found this in my fridge.

My initial thought was what the …?!

My second thought was of a relationship marketing article from 1998 by Dennis Cahill: “Relationship Marketing? But all I really wanted was a one night stand”.

Cahill argues that he doesn’t want a relationship or a shared sense of community with fellow soap and cereal buyers. No hard feelings Abbotsleigh Citrus, but I feel the same way about lemons (and mandarins, oranges and grapefruit).  Continue reading Liking a lemon? All I want is a one night stand

Football kicked into touch on the Gold Coast

Read, B., McDonald, M. (2012, March 24).Football kicked into touch on the Gold Coast. The Australian. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/football-kicked-into-touch-on-the-gold-coast/story-e6frg6z6-1226308607783?nk=f9124e984807bdc92fbbe0245ff80e64#page

No, Minister! Olympic medals won’t get us off the couch

Photo: Boris Sosnovyy, Shutterstock

Following Mark Arbib’s resignation as the Federal Minster for Sport earlier this month, The Age published a farewell message.

The article’s four main topics were: sport’s ability to transform lives, funding of elite sport, the need for a national curriculum for sport and the ongoing challenge to uphold the integrity of sport.

Continue reading No, Minister! Olympic medals won’t get us off the couch

Leave @jamieoliver Alone!

CC image courtesy of Stacey H. via PicasaCreative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Just been through winter and carrying some excess baggage?

Come through Christmas with too much festive cheer?

Got a young baby and things are a bit hectic?

Simply carrying some extra kegs for no reason other than… it’s none of your business?

There’s very few of us who haven’t been there at some stage.  Continue reading Leave @jamieoliver Alone!

The yes whens and no buts of finishing your PhD

Before starting a PhD myself, I remember attending a lot of drinks to celebrate various and often baffling milestones of colleagues’ candidature: being accepted and/or getting a scholarship; confirmation (which always sounded Catholic to me); thesis submission; examination; and finally, graduation. I didn’t really think too much about it – I was happy enough to go along to the drinks. Continue reading The yes whens and no buts of finishing your PhD

Six reasons why doing a PhD is the same as being a parent

My Research Assistant and Thesis Babies

1. Sleepless nights
Both will give you a super hero-like resistance to fatigue that you would not have thought was previously possible.

2. Good organisation skills never go astray
There is little difference in the skills required to have 400+ journal articles filed with consistent naming conventions and getting to swimming lessons on time every week.

Continue reading Six reasons why doing a PhD is the same as being a parent

Reflection on #SMAANZ 2011 – the value of tweeting from a conference

#SMAANZ Conference Twitter feed

I have been both a Tweep and an attendee at the conference of the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand (#SMAANZ) since 2007. I have been itching to have a go at combining the two after watching others tweeting from conferences. I had a bit of a go in 2009, but it was only @GeoffSchoenberg and I, so it was a bit lonely. This year there was a critical mass of tweeps in attendance.

Continue reading Reflection on #SMAANZ 2011 – the value of tweeting from a conference

Four reasons why doing a PhD is the same as being pregnant

Just about to submit
The last picture of the twins “on board” – one month before I submitted my PhD thesis

Having had three babies during my candidacy, I feel reasonably qualified to comment on the commonalities between confirmation, confinement and completion.

1. Everyone is asking you when it’s due
Have you submitted your thesis? Are you a doctor yet? Have you had those babies yet? Finishing a pregnancy is probably more obvious to spot, but don’t think I won’t be sharing either of these things with you. Repeatedly.

Continue reading Four reasons why doing a PhD is the same as being pregnant