Athletics is a hot commodity for some college institutions, but recruiting top scholars with a strong sports background is imperative to combining the managerial skillset with great athletic talent. Coaches, scouts and the institution itself manifest this train of thought.
Traditionally, the success of most athletic programs in colleges and universities is the ability for teams to have winning seasons. A strategic approach should consist of ascertaining the perceptions of athlete’s expectations at the conclusion of their careers.
Research shows successful athletic departments provide huge benefits to colleges and universities, such as increased student enrollment, valuable media exposure, and better alumni funding (USA Today, 2010). The validity that collegiate athletic programs are growing research has examined different aspects of athletes such as the relationship between the athlete and academic performance (DeVitis, Freud, Adler, and Women, 1985) and motivation toward academic and graduation rates of whites and minority athletes (Gaston-Gayles, 2004). Alpert (2015) examined the minds of the world’s best athletes and the role that physical attributes play in their success. However, there has been very little research on identifying the athlete’s perceptions as to what they consider ultimately important components of winning.
The question to ponder – will this winning perception help the athlete’s ultimate plan of leading a long and successful life when their athletic careers are done?
During and after their college careers, athletes like educators should be viewed as multidisciplinary in focus. The intent should be to examine the physical body, which includes the five components that makes up the senses, the inner person (the soul), and the spirit of the athlete. The soul includes the inner thoughts and perceptions and the spirit includes the higher force, the essence, or ethos of the person.
Can an athlete’s ultimate plan of being successful and a winner in life be accomplished without the spirit that motivating force, extraordinary energy, power or ethos component? The embodiment of all three, the body, soul, spirit can help the athlete’s ultimate plan of leading a long and successful life even after completing their athletic careers.
The principles of sports management and training with insights from psychology and continuing empirically based perceptions can help athletes begin centering their participation in sports in relation to their body, soul, and spirit. This perception will guide community and intramural involved sports for aspiring athletes and contribute valuable data to the medical and nutrition/dietary fields. This perception can acquaint individuals how the soul and spirit plays an important role in the successful development of an athlete’s present life and in his or her future.
Fundamentally, developing a multidisciplinary program that provides a strong research base for the sportsperson’s college matriculation and life after college is imperative.
By Dr. Joseph C. Spears Jr.
Dr. Spears held positions as a sport chaplain, adjunct professor of sport and religion, and currently serves as the faculty athletic representative, assistant professor of sport management and MAT coordinator at Bowie State University. Dr. Spears understands the need and importance of spiritually, socially and economically developing families and communities.
Alpert, R. (2015). Religion and Sports. United States: Columbia University Press.
DeVitis, J. L. (1985). Freud, Adler, and Women: Powers of the “Weak” and “Strong.” Educational Theory, 35(2), 151-60.
Gaston-Gayles, J. L. (2004). Examining Academic and Athletic Motivation among Student Athletes at a Division I University. Journal Of College Student Development, 45(1), 75-83.