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Umpire participation: is abuse really the issue?

journal contribution
posted on 01.11.2007, 00:00 authored by P Kellett, David ShilburyDavid Shilbury
Umpires (or referees) are essential for the ongoing production of organised sport. It has been widely argued that abuse of umpires by players, coaches, and spectators is ubiquitous and aversive, therefore engendering attrition. Cognitive behavioural theory specifies that attrition and continuation are best understood by identifying the ways that stimuli are interpreted. In this study, 22 umpires of professional and semi-professional Australian Rules football were interviewed to determine what they think of abusive behaviour, and what they find to be rewarding about umpiring. Findings showed that umpires routinely reframe abuse, considering it to be a normal part of their role. Abuse was not deemed to be particularly aversive, and there was no evidence that it contributes to attrition. On the other hand, umpires enjoyed the social world they share with other umpires, and identified social interactions among umpires as a key reason for continuing to umpire. This study highlights the important role that socialisation into the social world of umpiring plays in helping umpires to reframe abuse, and the importance of socialising with other umpires in maintaining their commitment to umpiring. It is suggested that the social rewards of umpiring should be stressed in umpire recruitment, and that the social world of umpiring should be incorporated into umpire training and retention.

History

Journal

Sport management review

Volume

10

Issue

3

Pagination

209 - 229

Publisher

Elsevier Ltd

Location

Oxford, England

ISSN

1441-3523

eISSN

1839-2083

Language

eng

Notes

Available online 22 July 2008.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2007, Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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