Podium’s Podcast of the Week – An interview with Samantha Monda
Dr. Aimee Kimball, UPMC Center for Sports Medicine was the lead researcher on this study, and was ably assisted by graduate students Samantha Monda (West Virginia University), Dana Voelker (Michigan State University), and Sarah Compton of Argosy University. The group conducted a research project commissioned by the Pennsylvania State Alliance examining the status of scholastic sport in the state of Pennsylvania for the purpose of understanding and clarifying the similarities and differences amongst motivational factors amongst athletes, coaches, and parents actively engaged in high school sports programs. Twelve focus groups were conducted in a statewide sample. Groups used in the study included separate assemblies of athletes, parents and coaches with six to eight participants in each. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association is the governing body for all high school sports statewide and have taken an active role in assessing what shifts in priority are being considered as a result of the information obtained.
The results of this study provided an empirical basis which has served to clarify several myths often related to youth sport experiences.
Focusing on the purpose of sport in general, parental involvements, sport specialization at any age, the overall importance of winning, and, the practice of athletes being ‘cut’ from teams at the middle school, JV and varsity levels are all discussed. The results of this research and the interview ably proffered by Samatha Monda is compelling, insightful, and provides ample food for thought from each of the different perspectives on how high school sports are conducted, and who they serve best.