Why bowl? Exploring competitive bowlers’ experiences and perspectives within bowling associations : a multiple case study.


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The sport of bowling encompasses recreational, youth, competitive, amateur, collegiate, and professional bowlers. Although researchers have investigated motivations that influence individuals to participate in the sport, studies have not separated experiences by the aforementioned type of bowler within research. The bowling community includes various organizations that work to serve bowlers through resources, events, and member participation. There is a lack of literature that focuses on the benefits and culture these organizations provide bowlers. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study is to investigate the experiences of competitive bowlers within bowling organizations. This study focuses specifically on participants’ experiences in three bowling associations: The United States Bowling Congress, The National Bowling Associations, and the Underground Bowling Association. This study explores competitive bowlers' experiences by examining their motivations to pursue the sport, their influences to join bowling associations, and their participation as competitive bowlers related to the culture of these associations. The study utilizes theories of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1954; Oxford & Shearin, 1994), Self-Determination (Anderman & Leake, 2005; Deci & Ryan, 1980; Deci & Ryan, 1985), and Organizational Culture (Cruickshank & Collins, 2012; Janicijevic, 2011; Scott, 1997; Warrick, 2017) to investigate the construct of motivation. Multiple data collection techniques are used to analyze the experiences of competitive bowlers through qualitative questionnaires and interviews. Participants in the study self-identified as competitive bowlers who are members of various bowling organizations. Data analysis includes coding, content analysis, narrative analysis, and cross-case analysis to create themes and categories from the data collected. The results of the study reveal the participants’ experiences through the themes created to provide each organization with information to enlighten their membership experience and engagement strategies. The findings inform the organizations about the realities members face in them, add to the literature on competitive bowlers, and expose the non-bowling community to the sport of bowling as well as to the organizations that provide resources to this community.



Competitive bowling. Bowling organizations. USBC. TNBA. UBA. Motivation. Organizational culture.