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Hormonal Responses and Jump Performance Across a Season in Collegiate Women Basketball Players

Paul E. Luebbers, Matthew J. Andre, Andrew C. Fry, Luke A. Olsen, Keith B. Pfannestiel, and Dimitrije Cabarkapa

The testosterone-to-cortisol ratio (T/C) has been shown to be positively correlated with strength and power. However, few studies have examined the relationship between a standardized power performance measurement and T/C throughout a season of intercollegiate competition. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between salivary T/C and vertical jump (VJ) performance of female National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II basketball players across a season. Saliva samples were taken before practice, weekly, for a total of 29 weeks. Samples were assayed for testosterone (T) and cortisol (C). After saliva collection, players completed two countermovement VJs, with the best jump used for data analysis. A positive correlation between T/C and VJ was seen only during the preseason phase. Statistically significant differences were observed across the season for T/C and VJ. T/C in the nonconference phase was significantly lower than the preseason phase and the late-conference phase, p = .013 and p = .047, respectively. VJ was significantly lower in the late-conference phase when compared to the preseason and nonconference phases, p < .001 and p = .026, respectively. VJ in the early-conference phase was also significantly lower than the preseason phase, p < .001. These data support the literature that has indicated a positive relationship between the T/C and lower-body power but only in the preseason phase. This relationship reverses and trends toward a negative relationship, before disappearing in the second half of the season. Monitoring T/C may provide value in assessing female athletes’ performance potential in the preseason phase. T/C should be interpreted with more caution once the competitive season begins.

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Coach Like a Woman: Learnings From a Pilot Coach Education Program

Fraser Carson, Clara McCormack, Paula McGovern, Samara Ralston, and Julia Walsh

This best practice paper reflects on a pilot coach education program designed for women coaching Australian Rules football. Focused on enhancing self-regulation, and underpinned by a growth mindset framework, the “Coach like a Woman” program was delivered to a selected group of female coaches either working in or having been identified with the potential to coach at high-performance levels. This manuscript describes the program content and discusses the key insights identified by the delivery team. Creating a community of practice encouraged the transfer of knowledge and experience between the enrolled coaches, which increased competence and self-confidence. Providing an understanding of behavioral tendencies enhanced positive self-talk and aided self-regulation by the coaches. The delivery of the program and challenges experienced are also discussed. This reflection on the program is provided to assist future developments in coach education.

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Effect of Aerobic Walking Exercise on Stress Urinary Incontinence in Postmenopausal Women

Asmaa M. Elbandrawy, Sara G. Mahmoud, Mohamed F. AboElinin, and Amel M. Yousef

The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of aerobic walking exercise on stress urinary incontinence (SUI) among postmenopausal women. Thirty females diagnosed with SUI participated in the research. Participants were assigned randomly into two groups: The usual care group (UC) and the UC plus aerobic walking exercise (TMT) group. The UC group performed pelvic floor muscle (PFM) training only, while the TMT group performed PFM training in addition to aerobic exercise. Myomed biofeedback was used to assess the PFM strength both before and after a 12-week period. The Revised Urinary Incontinence Scale was utilized to assess changes in incontinence severity symptoms after intervention. Findings revealed a significant increase in PFM strength in both UC and TMT groups (p = .011 and p = .010, respectively) and a significant reduction in their Revised Urinary Incontinence Scale (p = .011 and p = .001, respectively) after the end of the 12 weeks of the training program. In addition, there was a more significant increase in PFM strength in the TMT group than in the UC group (p = .010) and a more significant decrease in Revised Urinary Incontinence Scale (p = .011) after 12 weeks of the training program. This study concluded that aerobic walking exercise with PFM training is more effective than PFM training only in increasing PFM strength and improving symptoms of SUI in postmenopausal women with SUI.

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Mental Health Literacy, Help-Seeking, and Mental Health Outcomes in Women Rugby Players

Shakiba Oftadeh-Moghadam and Paul Gorczynski

Within rugby, a plethora of research has focused on male rugby players, with some recent attention being directed to examining their mental health. Such attention has not been evident for their female rugby counterparts. The aims of this study were to ascertain levels of mental health literacy (MHL) and explore demographic differences in United Kingdom semielite rugby players who identified as women, and examine whether MHL is associated with better mental health outcomes and general help-seeking intentions. In total, 208 semielite women rugby players completed an online multisection questionnaire measuring MHL, general help-seeking intentions, distress, and well-being. Overall, most players scored a low rating of well-being; however, those who indicated a previous mental health problem exhibited significantly higher levels of MHL. Players were more likely to display general help-seeking intentions toward an intimate partner or a friend than a health care professional. High levels of distress were reported in 64.4% of players, particularly those who had been previously medically diagnosed with a mental disorder and bisexual rugby players. MHL was significantly, positively correlated with general help-seeking intentions, but not significantly correlated with distress or well-being. This study is the first to examine MHL in women rugby players and suggests that strategies devised by multidisciplinary teams of experts to help promote, engage, and offer tailored mental health support to women rugby players would be beneficial. Further investigations exploring the determinants of, and barriers to, MHL among women rugby players would be worthwhile to better understand and support players throughout their sporting career.

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Volume 29 (2021): Issue 2 (Oct 2021)

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“Invisible Sportswomen”: The Sex Data Gap in Sport and Exercise Science Research

Emma S. Cowley, Alyssa A. Olenick, Kelly L. McNulty, and Emma Z. Ross

This study aimed to conduct an updated exploration of the ratio of male and female participants in sport and exercise science research. Publications involving humans were examined from The European Journal of Sports Science, Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, The Journal of Sport Science & Medicine, The Journal of Physiology, The American Journal of Sports Medicine, and The British Journal of Sports Medicine , 2014–2020. The total number of participants, the number of male and female participants, the title, and the topic, were recorded for each publication. Data were expressed in frequencies and percentages. Chi-square analyses were used to assess the differences in frequencies in each of the journals. About 5,261 publications and 12,511,386 participants were included in the analyses. Sixty-three percentage of publications included both males and females, 31% included males only, and 6% included females only (p < .0001). When analyzing participants included in all journals, a total of 8,253,236 (66%) were male and 4,254,445 (34%) were female (p < .0001). Females remain significantly underrepresented within sport and exercise science research. Therefore, at present most conclusions made from sport and exercise science research might only be applicable to one sex. As such, researchers and practitioners should be aware of the ongoing sex data gap within the current literature, and future research should address this.

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Divergent Perspectives: Post-Title IX Sportkids’ Views of Female Athletes

Katie Sullivan Barak, Chelsea A. Kaunert, Vikki Krane, and Sally R. Ross

Previous research suggests that sport media provide one avenue for boys and girls to learn what and who is valued in sport. We explored girl and boy athletes’ perceptions of photographs of female college athletes, which provided insight into young athletes gendered perceptions of athletes and sport. Sixty-nine sportskids participated in focus group interviews where they discussed what they liked and disliked about a series of photographs of college female athletes. Framed by feminist cultural studies, the authors situated their analysis within the current historical moment bounded by young athletes’ post-Title IX and postfeminist sensibilities. The authors present their appraisals of a few exemplar images that characterize themes that appeared across the whole photo collection. Emergent themes included gendered sport terrain, which situates their comments within the gendered milieu of their sport experiences. Data also revealed themes associated with the select images: female athleticism, inspiration versus objectification, transgressing heteronormative femininity, and sporty cute. Overall, both girls and boys struggled with images that were interpreted as too feminine or too muscular/masculine. These data also point to how little has changed in the past 50 years regarding how female athletes are culturally constructed. While the borders of acceptability may have shifted, female athletes continue tenuous navigation of socially acceptable boundaries of athleticism, femininity, and muscularity while masculine privilege in sport continues and the presence of females in sport is framed by a heterosexual male gaze.

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Recognizing and Expanding Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Lori Gano-Overway

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Match Acceleration and Deceleration Patterns in Female Collegiate Soccer Players

Jessica L. Trapp, Alicja B. Stannard, Julie K. Nolan, and Matthew F. Moran

The purpose of the current investigation was to report acceleration and deceleration match data in female collegiate soccer players and compare between positions and game halves. A total of 24 players (11 defenders, five midfielders, and eight forwards) (age: M = 19.1, SD = 1.2 years; height: M = 1.64, SD = 0.05 m; and mass: M = 62.2, SD = 5.8 kg) underwent global positioning system monitoring and performance testing. Forwards covered significantly more distance per minute during high-intensity running (effect size [d]: 0.49) and sprinting (d = 0.64) when compared to midfielders across 16 matches for players logging  22.5 min per half. Significant and meaningful positional differences were determined with forwards covering the greatest average distance per acceleration efforts (d = 0.55) and initiating acceleration and deceleration efforts from a greater initial speed (ds = 0.57 and 0.69). When analyzing across all matches for players logging ≥ 40 min per half, second half decreases occurred in the number of accelerations (p < .001; d = 1.98) and decelerations (p < .001; d = 1.92), average distance of accelerations (p < .001; d = 0.83) and decelerations (p = .03; d = 1.30), and starting speed of accelerations (p = .01; d = 0.92) and decelerations (p = .04; d = 1.28). These results provide useful context when interpreting global positioning system–derived player-tracking metrics and can improve positional-specific training programs.

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The 2019 Biennial International Female Athlete Conference Proceedings

Nicole Farnsworth, Bryan Holtzman, Lauren McCall, Kristin E. Whitney, Meghan Keating, Laura Moretti, Bridget Quinn, Donna Duffy, and Kathryn E. Ackerman