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Kelly Cornett, Katherine Bray-Simons, Heather M. Devlin, Sunil Iyengar, Patricia Moore Shaffer and Janet E. Fulton

Open access

Artur Direito, Joseph J. Murphy, Matthew Mclaughlin, Jacqueline Mair, Kelly Mackenzie, Masamitsu Kamada, Rachel Sutherland, Shannon Montgomery, Trevor Shilton and on behalf of the ISPAH Early Career Network

Increasing population levels of physical activity (PA) can assist in achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals, benefiting multiple sectors and contributing to global prosperity. Practices and policies to increase PA levels exist at the subnational, national, and international levels. In 2018, the World Health Organization launched the first Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA). The GAPPA provides guidance through a framework of effective and feasible policy actions for increasing PA, and requires engagement and advocacy from a wide spectrum of stakeholders for successful implementation of the proposed actions. Early career professionals, including researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, can play a major role with helping “all people being regularly active” by contributing to 4 overarching areas: (1) generation—of evidence, (2) dissemination—of key messages and evidence, (3) implementation—of the evidence-based actions proposed in the GAPPA, and (4) contributing to advocacy for robust national action plans on PA. The contribution of early career professionals can be achieved through 5 pathways: (1) research, (2) workplace/practice, (3) business, (4) policy, and (5) professional and public opinion. Recommendations of how early career professionals can contribute to the generation, dissemination, and implementation of the evidence and actions proposed by the GAPPA are provided.

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Leanne Norman

Building on the body of research that has addressed the experiences of female coaches, the present study examines women’s role as coach developers. English football served as the context for the research. Figures demonstrate women are underrepresented in this role more so than they are as coaches, and their distribution across the coach developer pathway is unevenly balanced, with most women qualified at Level I of the pathway. Using the concept of ‘organizational fit’, the research connects the experiences of the 10 coach developers interviewed, to the structural practices of their national and local governing bodies. These practices were symptomatic of the organizations’ culture that is created and upheld by masculine ideals. Work expectations and the environment were structured on the image of men as coaches and coach developers. Cultural barriers to women’s sense of organizational fit were specifically found to be: the incentive to progress (return on investment from higher coaching qualifications), the degree of organizational support and nurture, and the opportunity to progress and practice. Consequently, organizational expectations and values do not support the ambitions of women to climb the coach developer career ladder, and restrict their sense of choice and control. Future research should direct its attention towards a greater interrogation of aspects of sport organizational culture that may serve to ‘push’ female coaches away from its core, or alternatively, pull them closer to engage and make use of their expertise and abilities as coach developers.

Open access

Nicolas Hobson, Sherry L. Dupuis, Lora M. Giangregorio and Laura E. Middleton

Persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early dementia are often physically inactive, despite associated benefits. This study explored the barriers, facilitators, and preferences for exercise among persons living with MCI/early dementia. The authors conducted 2 focus groups among persons living with MCI/early dementia (n = 4, 6 participants) and 2 focus groups among care partners (n = 3, 4 participants). The transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis, guided by the social-ecological model. Three themes emerged, reinforcing motivation to exercise, managing changes to cognitive and physical health, and variable perceptions of dementia, each with influences from individual, care partner, and community levels. Low intrinsic motivation, poor physical/cognitive health, and stigma restricted the exercise among persons living with MCI/early dementia. The care partners motivated their partners and provided company and transportation to exercise. People with MCI/early dementia also indicated poor access to exercise providers and exercise opportunities that met their needs and preferences was a barrier to exercise participation. Knowledge translation research should develop exercise interventions at the individual, social, and community levels.

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Matea Wasend and Nicole M. LaVoi

A plethora of research on barriers facing women in the coaching profession exists, but less attention has been devoted to female student-athletes’ transition into coaching. Some research suggests that female athletes who are coached by women are more likely to become coaches. In the present study, existing research is extended by examining the relationship between collegiate female basketball players’ post-playing career behavior and the gender of their collegiate head coach. Two research questions are addressed: (1) Are female collegiate Division-I basketball players who are coached by female head coaches more likely to enter the coaching profession than athletes who are coached by men? And; (2) If female basketball players do enter coaching, are those who were coached by women more likely to persist in coaching? Collegiate head coach gender did not emerge as a significant predictor of athletes’ likelihood to enter coaching, but logistic regression indicated that athletes who did enter coaching were 4.1-times more likely to stay in coaching if they had a female head coach. This study extends the scarce and outdated body of research on the potential salience of same-sex coaching role models for female athletes and provides baseline data on collegiate athletes’ entry rate into coaching, lending support to advocacy aimed at reversing the current stagnation of women in the sport coaching profession.

Open access

Nicole M. LaVoi, Jennifer E. McGarry and Leslee A. Fisher

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Beth G. Clarkson, Elwyn Cox and Richard C. Thelwell

Historically, men have dominated the English football workplace; as a result, the number of women in coaching positions has been limited. The aim of the present study was to explore the lived experiences of women head coaches to identify the extent that gender influences the English football workplace. Semi-structured interviews (N = 12) were conducted with women head coaches operating at the (a) youth recreational, (b) talent development, and (c) elite levels of the English football pyramid. An inductive thematic analysis was performed which informed the development of composite vignettes, a form of creative nonfiction. Three vignettes were developed comprising women head coaches’ stories at each pyramid level. Findings from the thematic analysis identified themes of gender stereotyping, proving yourself, and confidence at the youth recreational level; work-life conflicts, limited career mobility, and marginalization at the talent development level; and tokenism, undercurrents of sexism, and apprehensions of future directives at the elite level. The vignette stories demonstrate that gender negatively influences coaches’ interactions and confidence early in their career in youth recreational football; gender bias is embedded within discriminatory organizational practices which limit career mobility for coaches working in talent development; and gender is used to hold elite level women coaches to higher scrutiny levels than male colleagues. Recommendations (e.g., [in]formal mentoring, male advocacy, recruitment transparency) are made to practitioners for a targeted occupational-focused approach regarding support, retention, and career progression of women head coaches in football.

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Sarah Zipp, Tavis Smith and Simon Darnell

Sport for development (SFD) research and practice has become more critically examined recently, with many scholars calling for better understanding of how and why sport might contribute to the global development movement. Developing and refining theoretical approaches is key to unpacking the complexities of SFD. Yet, theory development in SFD is still relatively young and often relies on oversimplified theory of change models. In this article, the authors propose a new theoretical approach, drawing upon the capabilities approach and critical feminist perspectives. The authors contend that the capabilities approach is effective in challenging neoliberal ideologies and examining a range of factors that influence people’s lived experiences. They have woven a “gender lens” across the capabilities approach framework, as feminist perspectives are often overlooked, subjugated, or misunderstood. The authors also provide an adaptable diagrammatic model to support researchers and practitioners in applying this framework in the SFD context.