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Exploring Basic Needs, Motivation, and Retention Among Female Sport Officials

Janna K. Sunde, Robin Tharle-Oluk, Alice A. Theriault, and David J. Hancock

Sport officials in general, and female sport officials specifically, are underrepresented in the research. More work is required to better understand what attracts female sport officials to the role, along with what facilitates their retention. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between female sport officials’ motivations, basic needs, and intentions to remain as officials. Through an online survey, 186 female sport officials responded to (a) the Basic Needs Satisfaction in Sport Scale (BNSSS), (b) the Referee Retention Scale (RRS), and (c) questions assessing Reasons for Becoming Officials. Pearson correlation tests established relationships among various subscales, and regression tests were conducted to determine whether any variables predicted RRS scores. All five BNSSS subscales significantly correlated with most RRS subscales and one Reasons for Becoming Officials subscale. Further, regression analysis revealed that increased scores on the BNSSS—specifically feelings of competence, choice, volition, and relatedness—predicted intentions to remain as officials, as measured by the RRS. Since the BNSSS predicts retention, sporting organizations should implement retention strategies that focus on building competence, volition, and relatedness among female sport officials.

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Season Phase Comparison of Training and Game Volume in Female High School Volleyball Athletes

Mario Muñoz and Jennifer A. Bunn

This study evaluated the differences in training and match volume per set by season phase in female high school volleyball. Twelve athletes wore a device to measure total jumps (TJ) and high jumps (HJ), movements per minute (MPM), kinetic energy expended, and stress percent throughout the season phases: preseason, tournament, and district. In matches, athletes jumped less and had lower MPM in preseason (4.4 ± 2.3 TJ/set, 1.9 ± 0.5 MPM/set) compared with tournament (13.2 ± 8.1 TJ/set, 6.4 ± 1.7 MPM/set) and district (16.5 ± 9.9 TJ/set, 6.7 ± 1.8 MPM/set; p ≤ .001 for all) phases. District registered more HJ/set (2.6 ± 2.2 HJ/set) than preseason (0.7 ± 0.7 HJ/set, p = .007) and tournament phases (292 ± 172 J/lb/set, p < .001), and more kinetic energy expended/set (488 ± 174 J/lb/set) than preseason (201 ± 94 J/lb/set, p = .001). The highest training volume occurred during preseason with more TJ (preseason: 70.9 ± 26.0; tournament: 44.3 ± 19.3, p < .001; district: 34.7 ± 3.4, p = .004) and kinetic energy expended (preseason: 1,645 ± 547 J/lb; tournament: 980 ± 506 J/lb, p = .018; district: 1,108 ± 362, p = .016). Preseason training had higher stress percent (16.6 ± 3.0%) than tournament (19.4 ± 3.7%, p = .004) and more HJ (7.7 ± 6.3%) than district (3.1 ± 2.9%, p = .012). Match volume was unbalanced across the season phases, with preseason showing the lowest volume and district having the highest volume. This was counterbalanced with a higher training volume during the preseason compared with the other phases.

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Women Physical Education Teacher Education Faculty’s Experiences in Japan and the United States

Emi Tsuda, Tomoko Ogiwara, Risako Murai, James Wyant, Rio Watanabe, and Yung-Ju ‘Ruth’ Chen

The purpose of this study was to explore women physical education teacher education faculty’s experiences in Japan and the United States, using an exploratory descriptive case study design. The conceptual framework of the faculty’s job satisfaction underpinned the study. A criterion sampling approach was employed to recruit participants. In total, seven Japanese and eight U.S. women faculty members took part in the study. Data were collected from a survey and a semistructured interview. The semistructured interviews served as the primary source of data. The survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and the frequency of the responses was calculated. An inductive thematic analysis was employed to analyze the interview responses. Triangulation, member checking, and peer debriefing ensured the trustworthiness of the data. Relative to overall job satisfaction, the U.S. faculty tend to have higher satisfaction levels in teaching achievement, research expectations, and research productivity compared to Japanese faculty. Four themes were identified from the interview responses: (a) persisting social norms and stereotypes toward women, (b) women’s representation matters, (c) juggling dual roles of being faculty and a mother, and (d) lack of support for mothers at work. This study provided the first evidence of women faculty members’ experiences and perspectives in the field of physical education teacher education in Japan and the United States. Continuous discussion and effort are crucial to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

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Greater Core Endurance Identifies Improved Mechanics During Jump Landing in Female Youth Soccer Athletes

Kate Pfile, Michelle Boling, Andrea Baellow, Emma Zuk, and Anh-Dung Nguyen

Female soccer athletes are at greater risk for anterior cruciate ligament injury compared with males. Risk factors include altered landing biomechanics and diminished core neuromuscular control, measured using advanced laboratory equipment. There is a need for a clinical measure of core muscle function to better understand kinesiological factors within a female, youth athlete population. The purpose was to determine whether sagittal and frontal plane kinematics during a jump landing task differ based on levels of core endurance in female youth soccer athletes. Participants included healthy, female soccer athletes ages 8–17 years (M = 12.3 years, SD = 2.4 years), height (M = 1.52 m, SD = 0.16 m), and body mass (M = 46.0 kg, SD = 13.7 kg). A quantitative data descriptive laboratory study in a field-based setting was conducted. Sixty-six participants performed the side plank test for time to failure. Three-dimensional biomechanics were collected, and initial contact and peak trunk, hip, and knee joint angles were identified during the deceleration phase of a double-leg jump-landing task. The group with the lowest side plank time displayed decreased knee flexion at initial contact (p = .02) and peak knee flexion (p = .03) and decreased peak hip flexion angles (p = .01). There were no additional statistically significant differences among groups (p > .05). Female youth soccer athletes who have reduced core endurance also display decreased hip and knee flexion, which may place them at risk for anterior cruciate ligament injury.

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Maximal Strength Training as a Pathway to Positive Body Image: A Qualitative Exploration of the Experiences of Female Powerlifters

Erin L. Kelly, Michelle Minehan, and Kate Pumpa

This study considers the potential relationship between maximal strength training and positive body image by exploring the lived experiences of female powerlifters. Semistructured interviews were conducted with eight female powerlifters from Australia, and data were analyzed thematically. The study identified five themes related to positive body image and participation in maximal strength training: (a) appreciation of the functionality of the body, (b) embodiment, (c) rejection of societal body ideals and self-objectification, (d) self-compassion and body image flexibility, and (e) being surrounded by a body-positive community. These findings are consistent with existing literature on positive body image and participation in activities that promote embodiment. There is value in further investigation of maximal strength training as an intervention to develop positive body image in women.

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The Symptoms Experienced by Naturally Menstruating Women and Oral Contraceptive Pill Users and Their Perceived Effects on Exercise Performance and Recovery Time Posttraining

Kelly L. McNulty, Paul Ansdell, Stuart Goodall, Kevin Thomas, Kirsty J. Elliott-Sale, Glyn Howatson, and Kirsty M. Hicks

This study examined the type, frequency, and severity of symptoms experienced by naturally menstruating women and combined, monophasic, oral contraceptive pill users and their perceived effects on exercise performance and recovery time posttraining. Forty-two recreationally active women; 21 naturally menstruating and 21 combined, monophasic, oral contraceptive pill users participated in the study. Data were collected using two approaches: (a) an online 54-part retrospective survey and (b) a daily questionnaire. “Total number of symptoms,” “symptom index score,” “average symptom severity,” and “symptom index × severity score” were calculated from the retrospective data set. Real-time symptom data (i.e., “symptom frequency per phase” and “phase symptom frequency × severity score”) were calculated across predefined cycle phases from the daily questionnaire. The retrospective survey showed that symptoms were commonly reported by recreationally active women, but there were no differences in symptomology between the groups (p > .113). The daily questionnaire showed both groups experienced a greater frequency and severity of symptoms while bleeding (p ≤ .001), which was associated with perceived reductions in exercise performance (odds ratio = 1.04–1.07) and a perceived longer recovery time posttraining (odds ratio = 1.03–1.04). The results from this study show that cycle-related symptoms were commonly reported by a group of recreationally active women, with no difference in symptomology between naturally menstruating women and combined, monophasic, oral contraceptive pill users. The magnitude of symptoms was greater while bleeding, which was associated with a perceived reduction in exercise performance and a longer recovery time posttraining.

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“To Build a More Just Society”: Women’s National Basketball Association Teams’ Uses of Social Media for Advocacy

Dunja Antunovic, Ann Pegoraro, Ceyda Mumcu, Kimberly Soltis, Nancy Lough, Katie Lebel, and Nicole M. LaVoi

Sports brands and properties are using social media platforms to take a stand on controversial social issues. This paper draws on the concept of corporate social advocacy to examine how Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) teams used their social media platforms to communicate about social issues during the 2021 season. We conducted a thematic and semantic analysis of advocacy-related tweets to examine the communicative actions and salient issues across the teams’ accounts. WNBA teams posted about racial justice, women’s empowerment, and LGBTQ+ rights, which represent a shift in the WNBA’s discursive promotional strategies. The findings of the study indicate that WNBA teams’ use of social media to take a stand on social issues aligns with, and extends, conceptualizations of corporate social advocacy. Further, social media advocacy provides insight into the sociocultural significance and the economic viability of women’s sport.

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Reliability of 400-m Walk Test Performance and Postexercise Cardiac Autonomic Markers in Older Women

Daniel Gomes da Silva Machado, André Igor Fonteles, Renêe Caldas Honorato, Samara Karla Anselmo-Silva, Hassan M. Elsangedy, Cheng Hsin Nery Chao, Alexandre Hideki Okano, and Kenio Costa Lima

The 400-m walk test (400MWT) is a useful tool to assess mobility and aerobic fitness, while postexercise heart rate recovery (HRR) and heart rate variability (HRV) are noninvasive tools for assessing cardiovascular health. However, measures of reliability, agreement, minimal detectable change (MDC), and coefficient of variation (CV) in older women with different levels of physical activity are lacking. This study aimed to evaluate measures of the reliability of the 400MWT and postexercise markers of cardiac autonomic control in active and sedentary older women. Eighteen physically active and 18 sedentary older women, performed the 400MWT twice, followed by measures of HRR at 1 (HRR1′) and 2 min (HRR2′), and HRV. Reliability was assessed by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and agreement by Bland–Altman plots. The standard error of measurement, CV, and MDC were calculated. The active group walked faster and completed the 400MWT in a shorter time than the sedentary group (all ps ≤ .03). In addition, in general, the active group presented higher HRR1′ and HRR2′ (all ps ≤ .04). 400MWT performance showed good reliability in both groups (ICC ≥ .78; all ps < .001; CVs ≤ 14% and MDC < 49 s). Indexes of cardiac autonomic control showed poor to good reliability (all ps < .001) with higher CVs than the 400MWT: HRV (ICC ≥ .39; CVs = 41.9%–97.6%; MDC = 12.1–31), HRR1′ (ICC ≥ .63; CVs = 36.2%–49.5%; MDC = 8.3–14.3 bpm), and HRR2′ (ICC ≥ .77; CVs = 33%–43.2%; MDC = 12.7–13.8 bpm). The 400MWT and HRR are reliable measures for the assessment of sedentary and physically active older women, but the reliability of HRV indexes varies according to the group.

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Internal and Social Assets, Weight-Based Bullying, Sport, and Activity Among Female Adolescents

Sarah M. Espinoza, Christie L. Martin, Marla E. Eisenberg, Iris W. Borowsky, Barbara J. McMorris, and Laura Hooper

Via a school-based survey, we used a developmental assets framework to investigate associations of internal and social characteristics and weight-based bullying with sport and physical activity (PA) among female adolescents with high weight status (n = 4,468; M age = 14.9 years, SD age = 1.3; body mass index ≥ 95th percentile). Participants reported ≥60 min of PA on approximately 3.0 days (SD = 2.1) in the previous week. Over one-third played organized team sports, averaging 3.5 days (SD = 1.5) per week. Weight-based bullying was common (46%) and unassociated with lower sport and PA. Results from t-tests and chi-squared tests demonstrated that adolescents who played sport (vs. those who did not) had higher internal developmental assets, better perceived health, and stronger perceptions of caring from parents, friends, and other community adults. Similarly, adolescents engaging in more PA reported higher developmental assets. In regression models adjusted for all variables and demographic characteristics, higher internal developmental assets, better perceived health, and stronger perceptions of caring from adults in the community were positively and significantly associated with increased odds of sport participation and higher PA. Findings suggest female adolescents with high weight status have internal and social assets related to their participation in PA and sport, despite experiencing weight-based bullying. Adults (e.g., coaches, parents, and healthcare professionals) should help female adolescents with high weight status participate in sport and PA and build developmental assets. Adults should also recognize the frequent weight-based bullying youth encounter and strive to mitigate it in sport and PA contexts.

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Mechanisms Underlying Menstrual Cycle Effects on Exercise Performance: A Scoping Review

Christine Bernstein and Michael Behringer

This scoping review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of biological mechanisms underlying the menstrual cycle’s impact on various performance-determining anatomical and physiological parameters. It is intended to identify the various proposed vital concepts and theories that may explain performance changes following hormonal fluctuations. The review was performed following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews protocol. A framework of six groups was built such as skeletal muscle physiology, muscle damage, tendons and ligaments, neuromuscular control, cardiovascular system, and exercise metabolism to cluster studies thematically and to specify the concept of “performance.” Original research studies published between 1970 and 2021 that were conducted with a naturally menstruating population were considered. Changes in performance regarding the menstrual cycle phase were crucial for inclusion. Topic-specific reviews and systematic reviews were included if they addressed the impact of female steroid hormones on any structure or part of the human body. The review indicates that the impact of estrogen and progesterone is primarily responsible for observed changes in athletic performance during the menstrual cycle. Estrogen seems capable of fostering protein synthesis, diminishing collagen metabolism, preventing muscle damage due to its antioxidant effects, and restraining inhibitory, while promoting excitatory, control by interacting with neurotransmitters. Progesterone is assumed to increase thermoregulation and enhance ventilatory drive by interacting with hypothalamic pathways and may further amplify inhibitory control by interacting with neurotransmitters. The female steroid hormones and the endocrinologic system collaborate in complex interrelationships with biological systems to maintain homeostasis. However, proposed mechanisms are often derived from animal studies and studies conducted in vitro and still remain to be proven true in the human regularly menstruating population. In the future, it is crucial to rely on studies that followed the methodology for cycle monitoring recommendations thoroughly. Otherwise, it is not possible to determine whether hormonal fluctuations cause observed changes in performance or not.