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Samuel Wood, David Richardson, and Simon Roberts

Consideration of a learners’ biography is deemed to impact on their engagement with formal education and their connection with, and perceived relevance of, educational course content. It is considered equally important to understand coaches who enrol on formal coach learning in sport—their motivations, beliefs, values, existing knowledge, and previous life experiences. This research explored the individual biographies of eight neophyte cycling coaches over an 18-month period following the successful completion of a national governing body coach award. Following 23 formal semistructured interviews and 26 unstructured interviews, deductive thematic narrative analysis revealed three different typologies of coach: the “performance coach”; the “parent-coach”; and the “community coach.” Although the subjective details of the life stories varied according to their idiosyncratic perspective, all participants’ stories broadly followed one of these three identifiable narratives. Identifying different “typologies” of cycling coaches’ answers calls from coach developers to account for the specific backgrounds of coaches’ practices. It is hoped this research will begin the process of developing more personalised approaches to coach education.

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Samuel Mettler, Georgette Lehner, and Gareth Morgan

Compared with adult athletes, rather little is known about supplementation behavior in adolescent athletes. This study’s aim was to determine elite adolescent athletes’ supplement use and sources of information relating thereto. A total of 430 (87%) of 496 questioned athletes returned the anonymized questionnaire. Thereof, 84% consumed at least one weekly supplement and 97% indicated some supplement intake during the previous 4 weeks. On average, 13.3 supplement servings were consumed per week. The 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile was 4.5, 10.5, and 20.0 servings per week, with a maximum of 67. The most prevalent supplements in use were multimineral products (41% of all athletes), multivitamins (34%), Vitamin C (34%), and Vitamin D (33%). Male athletes consumed significantly more Vitamin C and D, sports drinks, protein powder, and recovery products compared with female athletes; whereas, women consumed more iron supplements. The three most important motives for supplement use were recovery support (40%), health maintenance (39%), and performance enhancement (30%). The most frequent answers to the question “who recommended that you use supplements” were family/friends (36%), a physician (27%), and a trainer/coach (25%). The main three information sources about the supplements in use were the persons who recommended the supplementation (56%), the internet (25%), and information provided by supplement suppliers (11%). A positive doping attitude was associated with the consumption of performance enhancing supplements (p = .017). In conclusion, this study among elite adolescent Swiss athletes indicates a widespread and large-scale use of dietary supplements, which was associated with a low level of information quality.

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Rhys J. Thurston, Danielle M. Alexander, and Mathieu Michaud

Learning disabilities and neurodevelopmental disorders are the most prevalent disabilities that affect learning. This paper will provide practical recommendations and observations for coaching athletes with three common learning disabilities (dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia) and two neurodevelopmental disorders (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder). Adapted from the literature and in conjunction with previous experiences, the authors provided a range of recommendations for coaches to consider implementing within their practices. The recommendations place an emphasis on the knowledge, strategies, and behaviors of the coach and their role in providing an inclusive, safe, and accessible space for athletes—with or without disabilities—rather than problematizing the disability or the person. Coaches are encouraged to consider their coaching environment (i.e., structure, physical elements, equipment), communication styles (i.e., language, delivery, feedback), and behaviors (e.g., frequent check-ins, review of material). Furthermore, coaches are encouraged to critically reflect on their preconceived biases, assumptions, and experiences with disability and how these play a role in influencing their coaching practices.Considering the prevalence of people with learning disabilities or neurodevelopmental disorders, it is essential for coaches to have access to disability-specific information while remaining cognizant of the needs of the individual when providing an inclusive environment for all.

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Ibai Garcia-Tabar, Aitor Iturricastillo, Julen Castellano, Eduardo L. Cadore, Mikel Izquierdo, and Igor Setuain

Purpose: To develop gender-specific operational equations for prediction of cardiorespiratory fitness in female footballers. Method: Forty-eight semiprofessional female footballers performed an intermittent progressive maximal running test for determination of fixed blood lactate concentration (FBLC) thresholds. Relationships between FBLC thresholds and the physiological responses to submaximal running were examined. Developed equations (n = 48) were compared with equations previously obtained in another investigation performed in males (n = 100). Results: Submaximal velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was related to FBLC thresholds (r = .76 to .79; P < .001). Predictive power (R 2 = .82 to .94) of a single blood lactate concentration (BLC) sample measured at 10 or 11.5 km·h−1 was very high. A single BLC sample taken after a 5-minute running bout at 8.5 km·h−1 was related to FBLC thresholds (r = −.71; P < .001). No difference (P = .15) in the regression lines predicting FBLC thresholds from velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was observed between the female and male cohorts. However, regressions estimating FBLC thresholds by a single BLC sample were different (P = .002). Conclusions: Velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was robustly related to FBLC thresholds and might serve for mass field testing independently of sex. BLC equations accurately predicted FBLC thresholds. However, these equations are gender-specific. This is the first study reporting operational equations to estimate the FBLC thresholds in female footballers. The use of these equations reduces the burden associated with cardiorespiratory testing. Further cross-validation studies are warranted to validate the proposed equations and establish them for mass field testing.

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Shona L. Halson, Renee N. Appaneal, Marijke Welvaert, Nirav Maniar, and Michael K. Drew

Purpose: Psychological stress is reported to be an important contributor to reduced sleep quality and quantity observed in elite athletes. The purpose of this study was to explore the association between psychological stress and sleep and to identify if specific aspects of sleep are disturbed. Methods: One hundred thirty-one elite athletes (mean [SD], male: n = 46, age 25.8 [4.1] y; female: n = 85, age 24.3 [3.9] y) from a range of sports completed a series of questionnaires in a 1-month period approximately 4 months before the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Questionnaires included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; Recovery-Stress Questionnaire; Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS 21); and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Results: Regression analysis identified the PSS and DASS stress as the main variables associated with sleep. A PSS score of 6.5 or higher was associated with poor sleep. In addition, a PSS score lower than 6.5 combined with a DASS stress score higher than 4.5 was also associated with poor sleep. Univariate analyses on subcomponents of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index confirmed that PSS is associated with lower sleep quality (t 99 = 2.40, P = .018), increased sleep disturbances (t 99 = 3.37, P = .001), and increased daytime dysfunction (t 99 = 2.93, P = .004). DASS stress was associated with increased sleep latency (t 94 = 2.73, P = .008), increased sleep disturbances (t 94 = 2.25, P = .027), and increased daytime dysfunction (t 94 = 3.58, P = .001). Conclusions: A higher stress state and higher perceived stress were associated with poorer sleep, in particular increased sleep disturbances and increased daytime dysfunction. Data suggest that relatively low levels of psychological stress are associated with poor sleep in elite athletes.

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ZáNean McClain, Erin Snapp, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Anderson

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Mark Partington, Jimmy O’Gorman, Kenny Greenough, and Ed Cope

Little is known about the development of coach developers despite their importance in supporting coach learning. In response, this study explored the theories in practice of 23 English coach developers who undertook a continuing professional development course. The data were collected through semistructured interviews, focus groups, and observations of coach developers’ practice and engagement on the course. The data were analysed using a phronetic-iterative approach, with Argyris and Schön’s ideas on theories in practice, mostly espoused theories and theories-in-use, providing the primary heuristic framework. The findings identified how, before the continuing professional development course, the coach developers articulated espoused theories, but as the course progressed, there was a move to theories-in-use. This was due to their (re)constructed understanding of learning and the working environment. The findings are discussed in light of how the continuing professional development course, and tutors’ pedagogic approaches, influenced the coach developers’ knowledge and understanding. Based on these findings, it seems there is much to gain from supporting coach developers with a deconstruction and reconstruction of theories in practice.

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Stephanie Beni, Tim Fletcher, and Déirdre Ní Chróinín

Purpose: The purposes of this research were to design a professional development (PD) initiative to introduce teachers to a pedagogical innovation—the Meaningful Physical Education (PE) approach—and to understand their experiences of the PD process. Method: Twelve PE teachers in Canada engaged in an ongoing PD initiative, designed around characteristics of effective PD, across two school years as they learned about and implemented Meaningful PE. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed. Findings: This research showed that teachers valued a community of practice and modeling when learning to implement Meaningful PE. While teachers were mostly favorable to the PD design, there were several tensions between ideal and realistic forms of PD. Discussion: This research offers support for several characteristics of effective PD to support teachers’ implementation of a novel pedagogical approach and highlights the need to balance tensions in providing forms of PD that are both effective and practical.

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Matthew Andrew, Paul R. Ford, Matthew T. Miller, Allistair P. McRobert, Nathan C. Foster, Guido Seerden, Martin Littlewood, and Spencer J. Hayes

We examined whether practice activities adopted by professional youth soccer coaches are modulated through the implementation of and engagement with cocreative evidence-based programs. Across two experiments, we used systematic observation to identify the practice activities of seven coaches across 134 sessions. In Experiment A, drill-based and games-based activities were recorded and quantified. To encourage behaviour change across the study, the systematic observation data were compared with skill acquisition literature to provide coaches with quantitative feedback and recommendations during workshops. Postworkshop systematic observation data indicated that practice activities used by coaches changed in accordance with the evidenced-based information (increase in games-based activities) delivered within the workshop. Interview data indicated that coaches typically stated that the workshop was a key reason for behaviour change. In a follow-up Experiment B, feedback and recommendations were delivered using an interactive video-based workshop. The systematic observation data indicated that coaches increased the use of soccer activities that contained active decision making with coaches citing the workshop as a key reason for behaviour change. These findings indicate that coaching practice activities can be supported and shaped through the implementation of cocreated workshops wherein coaches collaborate with sport scientists and researchers to bridge the gap between science and application.

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Michael H. Haischer, John Krzyszkowski, Stuart Roche, and Kristof Kipp

Maximal strength is important for the performance of dynamic athletic activities, such as countermovement jumps (CMJ). Although measures of maximal strength appear related to discrete CMJ variables, such as peak ground reaction forces (GRF) and center-of-mass (COM) velocity, knowledge about the association between strength and the time series patterns during CMJ will help characterize changes that can be expected in dynamic movement with changes in maximal strength. Purpose: To investigate the associations between maximal strength and GRF and COM velocity patterns during CMJ. Methods: Nineteen female college lacrosse players performed 3 maximal-effort CMJs and isometric midthigh pull. GRF and COM velocity time series data from the CMJ were time normalized and used as inputs to principal-components analyses. Associations between isometric midthigh pull peak force and CMJ principal-component scores were investigated with a correlational analysis. Results: Isometric midthigh pull peak force was associated with several GRF and COM velocity patterns. Correlations indicated that stronger players exhibited a GRF pattern characterized by greater eccentric-phase rate of force development, greater peak GRF, and a unimodal GRF profile (P = .016). Furthermore, stronger athletes exhibited a COM velocity pattern characterized by higher velocities during the concentric phase (P = .004). Conclusions: Maximal strength is correlated to specific GRF and COM velocity patterns during CMJ in female college lacrosse athletes. Since maximal strength was not correlated with discrete CMJ variables, the patterns extracted via principal-components analyses may provide information that is more beneficial for performance coaches and researchers.