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Volume 17 (2024): Issue 1 (Mar 2024): Special Issue—Social Media and Sport Communication: Research Studies

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Volume 18 (2024): Issue 1 (Mar 2024)

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Volume 38 (2024): Issue 2 (Mar 2024)

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Social Media and Sport Research: Empirical Examinations Showcasing Diversity in Methods and Topics

Jimmy Sanderson and Gashaw Abeza

This commentary introduces the second of two special issues in the International Journal of Sport Communication centered on social media and sport. The empirical studies presented in this issue illustrate both the diversity of topics and methodological approaches utilized by researchers working at the intersection of social media and sport. Research articles in this issue analyze topics ranging from sport consumer behavior to online fan communities to coaches’ perceptions of activism-related content posted on team social media accounts. The research presented here also employs a variety of methodological approaches including experimental design, critical discourse analysis, rhetorical analysis, and applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Collectively, these studies offer a foundation on which future research in social media and sport can build to continue to enhance our understanding of social media’s impact on the sport world.

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The History of Physical Activity Promotion in Physical Education and Suggestions for Moving Forward

Erin E. Centeio and Timothy A. Brusseau

Physical activity (PA) is an essential component of the physical education classroom, whether it is used to practice motor skills, increase motor competence, or provide experience and opportunities to nurture lifelong PA participation. This chapter outlines the history of PA in the school setting, beginning with physical education and expanding through a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program model including PA during the school day (e.g., recess and classroom-based activity), PA before and after school (including active commuting), staff involvement, and family and community engagement. We begin by discussing the theoretical underpinnings of PA in the school setting and then outline previous research around PA implications. Ideas and suggestions for how the field of physical education and PA in schools can move the field forward together to embrace PA during the school day while being culturally and socially just are presented. Finally, future directions and implications for research are discussed.

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An Overview of Physical Activity Research Evolution in Africa: The Global Observatory for Physical Activity—GoPA!

Adewale L. Oyeyemi, Andrea Ramirez Varela, Estelle V. Lambert, Eduardo Ribes Kohn, Pedro C. Hallal, and Michael Pratt

Objective: To describe the evolution of physical activity (PA) research in Africa, examine income and gender inequalities, and discuss future possibilities. Methods: A secondary analyses of the Global Observatory for Physical Activity data on PA research in Africa (1950–2019). Results: We identified 514 PA articles from 47 African countries in the past 70 years. Majority (83.1%) of the articles were published between 2012 and 2019. Fifteen countries had no publications. Six countries (South Africa [n = 156], Nigeria [n = 85], Ethiopia [n = 44], Ghana [n = 41], Kenya [n = 39], and Cameroon [n = 20]) accounted for about 75% of the publications. Most articles were observational (92.4%), single-country studies (78.4%), with male first (58.4%) and last authors (68%), and were classified as surveillance studies (45.1%). Few studies addressed interventions (5.8%) and policy (3.5%) or used device-based PA measurement (14.0%). The number of articles per country was positively related to human population level (r = .552, P = .000) and gross domestic product % spent on research and development (r = .301, P = .040). The publication rate per 100,000 people was positively related with the human development index (r = .349, P = .016) and negatively with the gender inequality index (r = −.360, P = .019). Conclusions: Our results provide an overview and status of PA research in Africa, highlighting country differences and gender inequalities in authorship. The findings may be used to benchmark the evolution of research in the region and to inform areas for improvement. There is an urgent need for more PA interventions and policy studies in Africa.

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Sport and Exercise Psychology and Women’s Sport/Physical Activity Across Generations: Perspectives From Pre-Title IX Boomer Through Millennial to Post-Title IX Gen Z

Kira Borum, Erin J. Reifsteck, and Diane L. Gill

Our author team represents three distinct generations, including an early Baby Boomer senior scholar, a Millennial mid-career scholar-professional, and a recent Gen Z graduate student. All three of us have been involved in sport and exercise psychology (SEP) from a feminist and social justice perspective during our academic careers and have traversed the intersections of these disciplines in our SEP practice and scholarship. In our conversations, we discuss the evolution of women’s place in sport/physical activity and SEP over time and situate our experiences across varied generations and positionalities, including highlighting our connections to, and the unique role of, our home institution. In those conversations, we acknowledge the progress that has been made while recognizing the ways in which sport/physical activity and SEP remain contested spaces. We conclude with our reflections and thoughts on moving forward to address diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice for participants, practitioners, and scholars.

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Behind the Curtains of Elite Esports: A Case Study From a Holistic Ecological Approach to Talent Development

Ismael Pedraza-Ramirez, Bernadette Ramaker, Ole Winthereik Mathorne, Matthew Watson, and Sylvain Laborde

This case study utilized the holistic ecological approach to talent development as a framework to examine the structure and influence of an elite League of Legends environment. We conducted semistructured interviews with five elite male players (M age = 20.2, SD age = 2.95) and three elite coaches (M age = 24.67, SD age = 3.21). In addition, observations were implemented in situ to gather important information about the daily life experiences of the esports players and coaches. Findings suggest that this environment’s organizational culture was significantly influenced by interactions within the microenvironment, leading to the development of healthy relationships between players and coaches, impacting development and performance. Given the findings, we offer several salient applied implications for practitioners in elite esports, notably, the importance of understanding a team’s organizational culture alongside working at a one-to-one level. Furthermore, practitioners can educate coaches in optimizing a learning environment and support them in mitigating the challenges of a volatile industry.

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Esports Coaching: Applying a Constraints-Led Approach to Develop Team Coordination and Communication

Kabir Bubna, Michael G. Trotter, and Matthew Watson

The current case study reports on the application of a novel coaching approach in the context of a semiprofessional League of Legends team competing in Europe. The case study aimed to develop the coordinative tendencies of the team by applying a constraints-led approach that manipulated the practice environment to promote specific goal-directed behavior. The present study outlines the objectives of League of Legends, the needs analysis, intervention development, intervention delivery, and feedback from the players in regard to the effectiveness of the intervention and their development. Finally, the present study provides personal reflections from the practitioner, who was applying contemporary skill-acquisition approaches in esports for the first time.

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Autonomy-Supportive, External-Focus Instructions Optimize Children’s Motor Learning in Physical Education

Thomas Simpson, Mitchell Finlay, Victoria Simpson, Ayoub Asadi, Paul Ellison, Evelyn Carnegie, and David Marchant

An external focus of attention and autonomy support are identified as key factors to optimize motor learning; however, research in children is limited. Moreover, research has failed to examine these factors in ecologically valid motor learning settings, like physical education. Therefore, the present study examined the effects of external focus of attention when delivered using autonomy-supportive or controlling instructional language on children’s motor learning. Thirty-three novice participants (10.30 ± 0.52 years) practiced a land-based curling task under supportive (external-focus instructions delivered with supportive language), controlling (external-focus instructions delivered with controlling language), or neutral (external instructions embedded in the task aim) conditions before completing a retention and transfer test. The supportive group produced higher positive affect after practice and greater accuracy in the retention test compared with the other groups. The findings provide support for the OPTIMAL (optimizing performance through intrinsic motivation and attention for learning) theory of motor learning that combining an external focus and autonomy support conditions improves motor learning.