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An Intersectional Analysis of the Recruitment and Participation of Second-Generation African Canadian Adolescent Girls in a Community Basketball Program in Ottawa, Canada

Amina Haggar and Audrey R. Giles

Guided by the experiences and perspectives of sport practitioners, in this paper, an intersectional lens was used to examine age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and religion and how they relate to the recruitment and participation of second-generation, low-income, African Canadian, Black Muslim, and Christian adolescent girls in a community-based basketball program in Ottawa, Canada. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 11 program coordinators and coaches involved in the City of Ottawa Community Centre Basketball League (CCBL), and reflexive thematic analysis of the data was engaged. The findings were threefold: (a) CCBL coordinators and coaches recognize the importance of representation to enhancing their support to program users; (b) CCBL coaches and coordinators make efforts to build trust with and increase buy-in from first-generation immigrant parents to improve girls’ program participation; and (c) CCBL coaches and coordinators make religious accommodations in response to the needs of Muslim and Christian program users. The findings illustrated that community-based sport programs serving second-generation African Canadian adolescent girls in low-income communities require multifaceted program and outreach strategies that consider the intersecting social experiences of participants to improve recruitment and participation. To conclude, policy and program design and implementation strategies to support the creation of inclusive, equity-driven community-based sport practices were proposed.

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Japanese Female Professional Soccer Players’ Views on Second Career Development

Kozue Ando, Takahiro Sato, Emma V. Richardson, Takafumi Tomura, Yu Furuta, Haruka Kasahara, and Takahiko Nishijima

The purpose of this study was to analyze professional, Japanese, female soccer athletes’ views on second career development and perceived support from the Women’s Empowerment Professional Football League, Japan. This study was underpinned by occupational socialization theory and utilized a qualitative, collective case study design through demographic questionnaires, in-depth face-to-face semistructured interviews, and reflexive thematic analysis. Participants were six current professional soccer players of one professional team of the Women’s Empowerment League. Three themes were generated from the data: (a) avoiding washout effects in second career opportunities, (b) the importance of dual-career pathway opportunities, and (c) professional development and second career training. These findings reflected how participants’ first career as a professional athlete became ingrained within their identity and shaped future desires and preparations for second careers. They also reflect the difficulty participants experienced balancing a professional athletic career with part-time office work for financial stability as well as planning for a second career linked to soccer. Players expressed a need for second career preparation to be facilitated by their clubs and the Women’s Empowerment League, and we provide implications and recommendations to support this work.

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Perceptions of Current Issues in Female Sport Nutrition From Elite Athletes, Practitioners, and Researchers

Carl Langan-Evans, Colum Cronin, Mark A. Hearris, Kirsty J. Elliott-Sale, and James P. Morton

In response to the ongoing sex data gap, the present study provides a qualitative exploration of females’ nutritional experiences in elite sporting environments. Semistructured interviews were conducted with multiple participant groups (n = 18), including athletes (n = 7), practitioners (n = 6), and researchers (n = 5) across differing disciplines within professional sporting organizations and/or national governing bodies. Combined content and thematic analysis provided an insight into the specific factors influencing current sport nutrition practices. A common theme highlighted among all participant groups was the paradoxical struggle between adequate fueling for training and competition demands, and the fear this may impact body mass and body composition goals. This tension was identified as being rooted within athletes’ perceptions of body image and driven by other participant groups and wider societal ideals. Each participant group also highlighted influences on cravings and approaches to food and dietary supplementation, centered around individual perceptions and challenges driven by symptomology associated with the female menstrual cycle and contraceptive use. To address these challenges, all participant groups called for more research to inform future change and continuing education pathways. In summary, this study contributes to providing a more complete understanding of elite female athlete sport nutrition experiences than currently exists. Multiple perspectives highlight the complexity of providing sport nutrition support to elite female athlete populations and directs future research, and practice, to reconsider one-size-fits-all approaches and acknowledge unique individual contexts which may influence these areas.

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Preeminent Women in Exercise Physiology and Their Contributions to Title IX

Pamela D. Swan, Carol Ewing Garber, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Monica J. Hubal, Lynda Ransdell, Melinda Millard-Stafford, and Lynn B. Panton

Prior to 1950, the field of exercise science was in its infancy. Exercise physiologists focused their research on understanding basic mechanisms of how the body responds to exercise and how to increase fitness. Most researchers and almost all research participants were male. Over the next two decades, and coinciding with the passage of Title IX, a few remarkable female exercise scientists emerged whose research and leadership had a profound effect on the field and directly influenced girls’ and women’s sports participation. This commentary presents an overview of the contributions and impact of several of these groundbreaking female exercise physiologists, Josephine Rathbone, Barbara Drinkwater, Priscilla Clarkson, Christine Wells, and Emily Haymes. We highlight their influence on the development of the field of exercise science and recognize their continued importance to women’s sport at the 50th Anniversary of Title IX.

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Athletic Image Type Influences Women’s Social Physique Anxiety and Visual Attention

Doris Bazzini, Chris Dickinson, Alison N. Cooke, Amanda Pepper, Jessica Udry, and Sidney Murray

Media images depicting idealized female physiques have been shown to heighten body dissatisfaction and body objectification. A potentially buffering factor in media exposure are depictions of female athletes performing their sports, which are associated with reduced objectification. These findings have not been extended to social physique anxiety (SPA), a heightened concern that one’s body does not meet comparative standards of physicality and beauty. Sixty-nine college-aged women reported levels of SPA following exposure to images of the same female professional athletes performing their sport, or in a sexualized pose. Visual attention to body parts on the images was measured via an eye tracker to explore whether fixations corresponded with the experience of SPA. Performance images lowered feelings of SPA relative to sexual images, and induced a lesser percentage of time visually fixating on the head/face, and more time fixating on arms and legs, relative to sexual images of the athletes. No differences emerged for fixations on the torso across conditions. Exploratory mediation models were also conducted to explore the influence of visual attention on the relationship between image type and SPA. These findings are considered in light of the nature of objectifying images of women and the importance of promoting empowering images to audiences.

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Volume 30 (2022): Issue 1 (Apr 2022)

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Underrepresented on the Field and in the Literature: A Scoping Review of Latinas in Sport

Melody Alanis, George B. Cunningham, and Ashley Desimone

The purpose of this study was to conduct a scoping review of Latinas in sport. Such analyses are particularly useful when a body of research has not been thoroughly reviewed. The authors searched four databases (Web of Science, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO, and Academic Source Complete) for studies focusing on Latinas in sport and that were U.S.-based studies, published from 1980 to 2020, in academic journals, in English, and with full-text available. The search yielded 85 articles. Further results indicated (a) only 14 studies had a specific focus on Latinas in sport; (b) most researchers (74.1%) adopted a quantitative approach; and (c) over half of the scholars did not explicitly state the theoretical lens from which they were drawing, and the researchers who did use theory to frame their work most commonly drew from psychological or sociological theories. The authors discuss the contributions of the research, offer implications, note limitations, and advance areas for future research.

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Effects of COVID-19 Lockdown on Body Composition and Physical Performance of Elite Female Football Players

Rodrigo Villaseca-Vicuña, Jorge Pérez-Contreras, Pablo Merino-Muñoz, Esteban Aedo-Muñoz, José A. González Jurado, and Santiago Zabaloy

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unusual situation in sports. Players were forced to stay at home for an undefined period of time and not allowed to use any training facilities or even exercise outdoors. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on physical performance and body composition in elite female football players. During the confinement period, 19 players (n = 19, M = 27 years; SD = 4.19) volunteered to participate in the present study. Participants were confined during 5 months and performed six remotely guided sessions a week, designed and structured by a certified fitness coach. Pre- and postconfinement period, players were tested for body composition, strength in the squat exercise, vertical jump, 30-m sprint, kicking velocity, and intermittent endurance capacity (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Level 1). Fat mass and muscle mass remained unaffected after the confinement period, while only body mass showed a significant increase between periods (1.19%; p = .014). In addition, physical performance measures postconfinement showed positive changes in kicking (p < .001; effect size = 1.02), in contrast to a reduction in mean propulsive velocity against 40-kg load and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Level 1 total distance covered (p: .041 and .010, respectively). Present findings indicate that the implementation of home-based training programs during confinement periods could be sufficient stimulus to maintain body composition and physical performance (i.e., strength, vertical jump, and sprint), although they might not be sufficient to maintain intermittent endurance capacity in elite female football players.

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The Experiences of High-Performance Female Coaches in Luxembourg

Laura Poos and Fraser Carson

Recent literature has noted the underrepresentation of women in high-performance (HP) coaching and the challenges faced when they do succeed in gaining entry to this male-dominated domain. Initiatives have been implemented in developed sporting nations to address this. However, less is known regarding the experience of women coaching at HP level in small, economically advanced countries and metropolises, where a number of additional sociocultural barriers exist. Underpinned by LaVoi and Dutove’s ecological model, six women currently coaching at HP level in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg were interviewed, reflecting on their experiences in their role. A social phenomenological analysis approach was taken, with a deductive thematic analysis identifying 32 raw data themes: five supports (e.g., passion for the job) and four barriers (e.g., personal sacrifices) were reported at individual level; five supports (e.g., family support) and three barriers (e.g., lack of federation support) identified at interpersonal level; three supports (e.g., open communication environment) and seven barriers (e.g., lack of entry opportunities) noted at organizational level; and two supports (e.g., increased acceptance by male athletes) and three barriers (e.g., hegemonic masculinity) described at societal level. Further challenges exist in Luxembourg due to coaching not being seen as a legitimate career pathway and an underlying cultural expectation for women to manage domestic duties. The structure of the coach education system in Luxembourg makes it possible to address these barriers and enable a more diverse workforce in leadership positions in HP sport. Doing so should create more opportunities and support for women in coaching.

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“I Feel Empowered and Alive!”: Exploring Embodiment Among Physically Active Women

Gretchen Paulson and Christy Greenleaf

This study explored the association between physical activity and the experience of embodiment among women aged 40 years and older. Women (n = 112; M age = 63.55, SD = 9.36) who reported engaging in physical activity at least twice per week completed an online survey including the Experiences of Embodiment Scale, Embodied Physical Activity Questionnaire, International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and an open-ended item. Multivariate analysis of covariance indicated significant differences in embodiment between different levels of activity, and follow-up univariate analyses revealed that high active women reported higher scores on two Experiences of Embodiment Scale subscales (positive body connection and agency and expression) than low active women. Significant differences were also seen in Embodied Physical Activity Questionnaire scores across groups, with higher active women reporting stronger experiences of embodiment during exercise. The findings suggest a positive relationship between physical activity and experiences of embodiment and highlight the need to further explore ways to cultivate these experiences.