One of the major factors militating against sports development in Nigeria today is the lack of effective management. Concerned and patriotic Nigerians are proffering many solutions daily to bail us out of the dilemma. One such solution is the text “Modern Trends in Sports Administration and Management”.
It is written by Dr. Joseph Awoyinfa, a lecturer in the, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos, Nigeria, a researcher and educational consultant. The author and the university invited me on December 4, 2008, in Nigeria.
According to Awoyinfa, it is a truism worldwide that sport is now a reference issue that can no longer be ignored in various sectors of the economy and spheres of life. The author adds that this text thus critically examines topical issues in sports administration and management, dwelling on theories and principles of trends, such as leadership, organization, planning, Motivation, etc.
The text contains 16 chapters. Chapter one is christened “the concept of sports management”. Here, Awoyinfato different people at other times, thus leading to its multiplicity of definitions. He explains that management has been variously described as an art, a science, a , a discipline, and a process.
This author expatiates that as an art, sports management is all about, while as a science, sports management is about establishing sports philosophy, laws, theories, principles, processes, and practices. According to him, sports management is defined as creating formal structures and an establishment based on a mission, objectives, targets, functions, and tasks.
The author illuminates that sports management as a process is a systematic way of doing things. Awoyinfamanagement may refer to the head alone or all the senior staff, committee, etc. In contrast, as a discipline, of study with various subjects and topics.
Awoyinfa highlights management functions in sports administration as planning, organizing, 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 a sports organization that directs other people’s efforts towards achieving organizational goals sport-wise.
Chapter two is based on the evolution and trends of sports management thought. Here, Awoyinfa discloses that the development of ideas on sports management dates back to when people first attempted to accomplish goals by working together in a group.
He said, “There was serious thinking and theorizing 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 sports management theories and principles began in the early twentieth (20th) century with Frederick Taylor and Henri Fayol. The nineteenth (19th) century industrial revolution probably provided the climate for this very serious theorizing.”
This author educates that the three primary schools of management thought are: classical, human-behavioral, and integrative. Awoyinfa adds that since the turn of the 20th century, writers on sports management and business theory have been propounding different ideas about managing work and personnel more efficiently and effectively. Awoyinfa also highlights early sports management theorists, scientific management principles and characteristics, appraisal of the scientific management theory, etc., in this chapter.
Chapter three is thematically labeled “Principles of sports management”. In this chapter, the educational consultant explains that sports principles are the fundamental laws on which sports management is built. He adds that management principles must therefore be based on general terms applicable within sports organizations of varying sizes and characters. “Modern sports managers and administrators are expected to be able to identify and use appropriate principles relevant to particular situations. This is because no single principle can suit all administrative situations,” submits Awoyinfa.
He says the fundamental principles of sports apply to all sports organizations. 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. Regarding 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 behavioral and motivational theories in a sports organization, the people behave in one way or another so that they (sports managers) can influence people to perform precisely how sports organizations do find desirable.human beings are unique creatures as they behave differently under different conditions and are mainly challenging to predict. Awoyinfa stresses that since human beings constitute the most crucial element in a sports organization, sports managers need to understand why
One potent instrument this author suggests that can be used to elicit performance in athletes is Motivation. He says, “Motivation is needed in sports organizations to make employees perform. However, it has been an important and puzzling subject for sports managers.” Awoyinfa further discusses the development of motivational concepts in sports organizations, the application of motivational theories to sports management, methods of behavior 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 organizations; the concept of sports organizations; setting the design in sports organizations; the idea of planning in sports administration; making sports organizations more effective in Nigeria and staffing in sports organizations.
Chapter 11 is based on communication strategies in sports organizations. According to Awoyinfa, communication is crucial to organizational effectiveness because organizations cannot function effectively when communication skills are lacking among members. “Since communication is the moving spirit in an organization, its absence may make organizations standstill,” asserts this author.
In chapters 12 to 16, Awoyinfa X-rays concepts such as organizational changes and development in sports administration; leadership in sports administration and management; administration and management of soccer as a coach;.
As regards the mode of presentation, this text scores a pass. 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. Awoyinfa highlights the objectives of each chapter at the with review/revision questions to ensure the easy study of the text on the readers’ part.
Moreover, 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 fulfill the academic obligation of source disclosure and offer readers opportunities to read more. The 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 creative.
Suppose chapters qualify this text as a compendium of modernproblems plaguing our sports development in Nigeria. In that case, they are chapters four, eight, 11, and 13. This is because they discuss Motivation, planning, communication, and leadership.
Meanwhile, the thematically most significant chapter of all is chapter four. The fact that it is consciously or unconsciously taken to be the most crucial 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 symbolic images such as goal post,, 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.