One of the major factors militating against the development of sports in Nigeria today is lack of effective management. Many solutions are being proffered by concerned and patriotic Nigerians daily to bail us out the quagmire. Among such solutions is this text entitled “Modern Trends in Sports Administration and Management”. It really 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 individual invited by the writer and the university to examine the book when it had been presented to the general public on December 4, 2008 in Nigeria.
According to Awoyinfa, it is just a truism around the world that sport is currently a reference issue which can no more be ignored at various sectors of the economy and spheres of life. The writer adds that 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 idea of sports management”. Here, Awoyinfa says management is a concept that implies various things to different people at different times, thus resulting in its multiplicity of definitions. He explains that management has been variously referred to as an art, a science, a person or people, a discipline and an activity.
This author expatiates that firstrowsports as an art, sports management is about undertaking sports organisational functions and tasks through people; while as a science, sports management is approximately establishing sports philosophy, laws, theories, principles, processes and practices. Being an organisation, according to him, sports management means a means of creating formal structures and an establishment predicated on a mission, objectives, targets, functions and tasks.
Awoyinfa says as an individual or group of people, sports management may make reference to the head alone or even to all of the senior staff, committee, etc.; while as a discipline, management is a field of study with various subjects and topics. The writer 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 a sports manager is anyone at any degree of sport organisation who directs
the efforts of other folks towards the achievement of organisational goals sport-wise.
Chapter two is founded 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 times when people first attempted to accomplish goals by working together in a group. In his words, “There is serious thinking and theorising about managing many years prior to the dawn of the twentieth (20th) century, which marked the beginning of modern sports management thought. Major efforts to build up theories and principles of sports management began from the first twentieth (20th) century with the task of Frederick Taylor and Henri Fayol. The industrial revolution of the nineteenth (19th) century probably provided the climate because of 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 exactly to manage work and personnel better 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 will be the basic laws which the practice of sports management is made. He adds that management principles must therefore be based on general terms to allow them to be applicable within sport organisations of varying sizes and character. “Modern sports managers and administrators are anticipated to identify and use appropriate principles which are relevant to particular situations. For the reason that no single principle can suit all administrative situations,” submits Awoyinfa.
He says the essential principles of sports are those applicable to all sports organisations and as a result of their general acceptability, they are sometimes known 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 using the idea of behavioural and motivational theories in sports organisation, the author says human beings are unique creatures because they behave differently under different conditions and are mostly difficult to predict. Awoyinfa stresses that since human beings constitute the most important aspect in sports organisation, sports managers need some understanding of why people behave in one way or the other, so they (sports managers) can influence people to perform exactly the way sports organisations find desirable.
One potent instrument this author shows that can be used to elicit performance in athletes is motivation. In his words, “Motivation is something needed in sports organisations to create employees perform.
However, it has been a significant 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.