Exploring sense of community in adult recreational tennis

Walter Legg, Mary Wells, Aubrey Newland, Preston Tanner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    Social benefits are of primary importance for adults involved in amateur recreational sports. Further, Chalip [(2006). Toward a distinctive sport management discipline. Journal Of Sport Management, 20(1), 1] recently identified social benefits as essential to the rationale of public delivery of sport programmes. Despite the clear importance of these benefits, limited research exists that seeks to understand how adult participants perceive their experience, if they experience social benefits, and how management practices can enhance such benefits. This research attempts to fill that gap by exploring the experience of participants in an adult recreational tennis league. Adult recreational tennis is particularly relevant to the field of leisure management as it represents a sport that may be played across the lifespan, and because delivery resides within public and private (commercial or not-for profit spheres). We interviewed 21 intermediate players in adult recreational leagues to investigate their perceptions of social benefits involved with tennis participation. Our research suggests that the feeling of a sense of community is a central benefit of participation in league tennis. This feeling is manifested through social spaces, perceptions of fairness, competition, and commitment. These findings provide valuable practical implications for leisure managers as well as a valuable theoretical contribution to the sense of community in sport theory.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)39-53
    Number of pages15
    JournalWorld Leisure Journal
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2 2017


    • adult recreational sports
    • leisure management
    • recreational sports
    • Sense of community

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
    • Cultural Studies
    • Social Psychology


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