Kerins, Andrew James (2005-12). Relax dude, we just play for fun! The flatlining trajectory of recreation specialization in the context of ultimate frisbee. Master's Thesis.
Many leisure researchers have examined the recreation specialization construct with the belief that recreationists progress along a specialization continuum, from low to high, the longer they participate in an activity. Building on other researchers' conclusions that recreationists do not necessarily progress over time, this study sought to better understand whether people truly desire to progress. Competition, sociability, and skill development variables were proposed as measures that would more accurately describe an intermediate career trajectory of specialization. This intermediate career trajectory of specialization was called flatlining, because recreationists progress to their desired level of specialization and then maintain a flat, or non-progressing, style of involvement on the specialization continuum. Behavior, skill and knowledge, and commitment variables were also used to measure recreation specialization. A three-level self-classification measure was used to predict group membership, and this classification was used to evaluate both groups of variables. The behavior, skill and knowledge, and commitment variables did a very good job of predicting level of specialization. The competition, sociability, and skill development variables did a good job of predicting the high and low levels of specialization, but did a very poor job of predicting the flatlining level of specialization. Motivations to participate were also studied. This study's failure to accurately predict the flatlining career trajectory highlights the need for further research on the phenomenon.