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Position Paper: Rationale for a Focused Attention on Mental Health of High-Performance Sports Coaches

Göran Kenttä, Kristen Dieffenbach, Marte Bentzen, Melissa Thompson, Jean Côté, Cliff Mallett, and Peter Olusoga

High-performance (HP) coaching has been described as “a complex, social, and dynamic activity that is not easily represented as a set of tangible and predictable processes.” Coaches are not only responsible for extensive planning, monitoring, and leadership in a dynamic and complex environment but also have responsibility for supporting athlete development and safeguarding their athletes’ overall health, well-being, and psychological and physiological safety. However, HP coaching is often considered an unsustainable profession, due to the levels of stress and subsequent mental health challenges that are frequently part of the role. Therefore, this position paper will focus on the concerns, challenges, and resources needed to prevent and manage mental ill-being and support the mental well-being of sport coaching professionals in HP sport, and provide recommendations for individuals, systems, and organizations that work with HP sport coaches.

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Specialize Early and Select Late: Performance Trajectories of World-Class Finalists and International- and National-Class Swimmers

Dennis-Peter Born, Glenn Björklund, Jenny Lorentzen, Thomas Stöggl, and Michael Romann

Purpose: To investigate performance progression from early-junior to peak performance age and compare variety in race distances and swimming strokes between swimmers of various performance levels. Methods: Using a longitudinal data analysis and between-groups comparisons 306,165 annual best times of male swimmers (N = 3897) were used to establish a ranking based on annual best times at peak performance age. Individual performance trajectories were retrospectively analyzed to compare distance and stroke variety. Performances of world-class finalists and international- and national-class swimmers (swimming points: 886 [30], 793 [28], and 698 [28], respectively) were compared across 5 age groups—13–14, 15–16, 17–18, 19–20, and 21+ years—using a 2-way analysis of variance with repeated measures. Results: World-class finalists are not significantly faster than international-class swimmers up to the 17- to 18-year age group (F 2|774 = 65, P < .001, η p 2 = .14 ) but specialize in short- or long-distance races at a younger age. World-class breaststroke finalists show faster breaststroke times compared to their performance in other swimming strokes from an early age (P < .05), while world-class freestyle and individual medley finalists show less significant differences to their performance in other swimming strokes. Conclusions: While federation officials should aim for late talent selection, that is, not before the 17- to 18-year age group, coaches should aim to identify swimmers’ preferred race distances early on. However, the required stroke variety seems to be specific for each swimming stroke. Breaststroke swimmers could aim for early and strong specialization, while freestyle and individual medley swimmers could maintain large and very large stroke variety, respectively.

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Teaching in a New World: A Novice Teacher Educator’s Pursuit for Change

Alba Iara Cae Rodrigues, Risto Marttinen, and Dominique Banville

Purpose: To understand the process of an international doctoral physical education teacher education instructor instituting change during one semester of teaching a university course in the United States. Method: Data included reflexive journal entries, recordings of peer debriefing meetings with a critical friend, informal WhatsApp messages, and anonymous feedback from students. Data were analyzed through thematic analysis. Results: The three main themes were (a) action research as a tool for change, (b) the challenges of the first year as a doctoral physical education teacher education instructor, and (c) the power of reflection. We discuss the main challenges the first author faced and the complexities of the process of developing her pedagogical philosophies in teaching higher education for the first time in a new culture. Conclusions: Action research served as a tool to overcome challenges, develop confidence, and autonomy. The support system provided by her advisors was the main asset for achieving pedagogical change.

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University-Based Coach Education: The E-Portfolio as a Formative Assessment Tool of Student-Coaches’ Learning

Yura Yuka Sato dos Santos, Bartira Pereira Palma, Liam McCarthy, Larissa Stevanato Casline, Camila Cardoso, and Larissa Rafaela Galatti

Current research highlights the need for more studies focused on how high-quality assessment strategies can contribute to coach learning in coach education. The use of e-portfolios, as formative assessment tools, has shown to contribute to student-coaches’ learning in university-based programs, but studies on this topic are still scarce. The aim of this action research project is to investigate the potentialities and challenges of the e-portfolio as a formative learning-oriented assessment tool in an undergraduate sport coach course in Brazil. By sharing this, from the perspective of student-coaches and the assistant-professors of the course, we reflect on the evidence with the intention to both inform colleagues doing similar work and contribute to an emerging body of assessment in coach education literature.

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Is Just Moving Enough for Girls? The Moderation Role of Gross Motor Development Level in the Association Between Physical Activity and Cognition

Jacqueline Páez-Herrera, Juan Hurtado-Almonacid, Julio B. Mello, Catalina Sobarzo, Paula Plaza-Arancibia, Juliana Kain-Berkovic, Barbara Leyton, Johana Soto-Sánchez, Verónica Leiva–Guerrero, and Albert Batalla–Flores

Purpose: Our objective is to describe the moderating effect of the level of gross motor development on the relationship between physical activity (PA) level and visual perception/memory in girls. Methods: This is a quantitative cross-sectional study with a randomized sample of 85 girls (mean age 7.11 ± 0.74) from Chile. The following models were tested: interaction between PA (light: Model 1; moderate–vigorous: Model 2; vigorous: Model 3; and total PA: Model 4) and motor development level associated with visual perception/memory. Variables that showed interaction were tested according to the Johnson-Newman. Results: The Model 2 explains 13% of visual perception/memory and the Model 4 explains 15%, indicating that the motor development level is a moderator of this relationship. Conclusions: Collectively, our results present evidence that girls with a high level of gross motor skills have a stronger relationship between total PA (and also only moderate–vigorous activity) and visual perception/memory.

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Resistance Exercise Training, a Simple Intervention to Preserve Muscle Mass and Strength in Prostate Cancer Patients on Androgen Deprivation Therapy

Lisanne H.P. Houben, Milou Beelen, Luc J.C. van Loon, and Sandra Beijer

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) forms the cornerstone in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. However, by suppressing testosterone ADT results in a decrease of skeletal muscle mass. In this narrative review, we explore the magnitude and mechanisms of ADT-induced muscle mass loss and the consequences for muscle strength and physical performance. Subsequently, we elucidate the effectiveness of supervised resistance exercise training as a means to mitigate these adverse effects. Literature shows that resistance exercise training can effectively counteract ADT-induced loss of appendicular lean body mass and decline in muscle strength, while the effect on physical performances is inconclusive. As resistance exercise training is feasible and can be safely implemented during ADT (with special attention for patients with bone metastases), it should be incorporated in standard clinical care for prostate cancer patients (starting) with ADT.

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A Collective Case Study of Parent–Athlete–Coach Triads in British Youth Tennis

Ella F. Tagliavini, Chris G. Harwood, Sophia Jowett, and Sam N. Thrower

While important for athletic development and well-being in youth sport, knowledge remains limited around the processes underpinning triadic relationships between parents, athletes, and coaches. This study aimed to examine the relational processes that drive the functioning of parent–athlete–coach triads across three developmental stages of youth tennis. Using a collective-case-study design, 10 players, 10 coaches, and 9 mothers completed preinterview tasks and semistructured interviews and provided conversational history. Reflexive thematic analysis led to the generation of two higher order themes: foundations of relationship quality and factors enabling team effectiveness. Findings highlighted how specific relationship qualities (i.e., commitment, trust, respect, and parent–coach proximity) and team effectiveness constructs (i.e., shared goals, collaborative and adjusted roles, support, and role-specific communication) served to facilitate the tennis experience for triads. Scholars are encouraged to consider integrating small-group principles (e.g., team building) into tailored support programs that address the psychosocial needs of the triad.

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Effects of Timing and Types of Protein Supplementation on Improving Muscle Mass, Strength, and Physical Performance in Adults Undergoing Resistance Training: A Network Meta-Analysis

Huan-Huan Zhou, Yuxiao Liao, Xiaolei Zhou, Zhao Peng, Shiyin Xu, Shaojun Shi, Liegang Liu, Liping Hao, and Wei Yang

Precise protein supplementation strategies for muscle improvement are still lacking. The timing or type of protein supplementation has been debated as a window of opportunity to improve muscle mass, strength, and physical performance. We conducted a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials with protein supplements and resistance training. PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and SPORTDiscus databases were searched until May 1, 2023. We included 116 eligible trials with 4,711 participants that reported on 11 timing and 14 types of protein supplementation. Compared with placebo, protein supplementation after exercise (mean difference [MD]: 0.54 kg [95% confidence intervals 0.10, 0.99] for fat-free mass, MD: 0.34 kg [95% confidence intervals 0.10, 0.58] for skeletal muscle mass) and at night (MD: 2.85 kg [0.49, 5.22] for handgrip strength, MD: 12.12 kg [3.26, 20.99] for leg press strength) was most effective in improving muscle mass and strength, respectively (moderate certainty). Milk proteins (milk, whey protein, yogurt, casein, and bovine colostrum), red meat, and mixed protein were effective for gains in both muscle mass and strength (moderate certainty). No timing or type of protein showed a significant enhancement in physical performance (timed up-to-go test, 6-min walk test, and gait speed). Pre/postexercise and Night are key recommended times of protein intake to increase muscle mass and strength, respectively. Milk proteins are the preferred types of protein supplements for improving muscle mass and strength. Future randomized controlled trials that directly compare the effects of protein timing or types are needed. This trial was registered at International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews as CRD42022358766.

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Volume 18 (2023): Issue 12 (Dec 2023)

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 4 (Dec 2023)