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Gavin Thomas, Jaime Guinan, and Győző Molnár

Strength and conditioning (S&C) has become a chief part of athletes’ physiological preparation. Despite S&C’s growing presence across sports, women coaches have been generally marginalized and underrepresented. This study explores female S&C coaches’ experiences and coping mechanisms in a male-dominated industry. Semi-structured interviews with 15 female S&C coaches were conducted. The main themes identified from interview data are organizational politics, impression management, and humor. The findings suggest that women S&C coaches are often in subservient positions and have to adopt some traditional, male-generated subcultural practices to fit in. They carefully manage their coaching front stage to generate an impression that is expected and accepted in the given milieu. In their efforts to fit in, women often find themselves in a multiplicity of power matrices that involve a continuous negotiation of gender identity, internal politics, and sexist banter.

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Jeffrey Montez de Oca

The 2020 North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) Presidential Address analyzed aspects of the National Football League’s (NFL) current socially conscious marketing to make sense of corporatized racial justice politics following a summer of mass political mobilization triggered by the police killing of George Floyd. The analysis shows that the mass, multiracial racial justice activism forced corporatized sport leagues such as the NFL to respond to popular political pressure. The NFL followed the lead of the National Basketball Association and instead of resisting popular sentiments, it has incorporated social justice language into its marketing. Guided by Indigenous decolonial scholarship and radical Black scholars, I argue that the NFL’s incorporation of social justice language is a politics of recognition and colonial governmentality that insulates it from racial justice politics and helps to stabilize challenges to racial capitalism.

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Stephen Shapiro, and Joris Drayer

Big data and analytics have become an essential component of organizational operations. The ability to collect and interpret significantly large data sets has provided a wealth of knowledge to guide decision makers in all facets of society. This is no different in sport management where big data has been used on and off the field to guide decision making across the industry. As big data evolves, there are concerns regarding the use of enhanced analytic techniques and their advancement of knowledge and theory. This special issue addresses these concerns by advancing our understanding of the use of big data in sport management research and how it can be used to further scholarship in the sport industry. The six articles in this special issue each play a role in advancing sport analytics theory, producing new knowledge, and developing new inquiries. The implications discussed in these articles provide a foundation for future research on this evolving area within the field of sport management.

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Jacky Forsyth, Nicola Brown, Rachael Bullingham, and Claire-Marie Roberts

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Erin E. Ayala, Alison Riley-Schmida, Kathryn P. A. Faulkner, and Kelsey Maleski

Competitive cycling is a sport with limited levels of diversity, particularly concerning gender. Women and gender diverse cyclists are likely to experience actions from others that reveal underlying assumptions based on their gender, race, or other cultural identities. This mixed-methods investigation used feminist theory and a transformative paradigm to highlight the experiences of women and gender diverse cyclists in a male-dominated sport. The authors explored the nature of microaggressions, perceived underlying messages, responses to such actions, and the feelings provoked. Two hundred and seventy-nine cyclists responded to the survey. Over three-quarters of participants reported being bothered by one or more microaggressions that they experienced in the competitive cycling community. Three primary themes emerged for types of microaggressions: assumptions based on gender, inequitable treatment, and harassment. A small percentage of participants noted an absence of microaggressions in competitive cycling environments. Although participants responded to microaggressions in several ways and experienced a range of emotions, the most common response to microaggressions was to not engage. Over half of the participants reported feelings of anger or frustration due to the microaggressions, followed by feelings of sadness. The results from this study complement what researchers have previously reported regarding female athletes and microaggressions in other sports. Implications and findings are discussed in the context of community norms and the need for a paradigm shift to promote inclusivity and diversity in the sport.

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Jennifer Hamer, Ben Desbrow, and Chris Irwin

In the last decade, there has been greater appreciation of the harmful consequences of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S), particularly in adolescent female athletes. Coaches act as both important moderators in the development of the condition and as identifiers of athletes at risk. Research suggests that coaches lack knowledge on this topic. At present, it is unclear if RED-S education is incorporated into coach accreditation pathways. The aim of this scoping review was to describe the extent to which RED-S education is incorporated into the coach accreditation pathways of endurance sporting organizations. Five national sporting organizations (Cycling Australia, Athletics Australia, Swimming Australia, Triathlon Australia, and Rowing Australia) were contacted to participate. First, each sporting organization’s website was scoped, then semi-structured interviews were conducted online. One investigator transcribed each interview verbatim. Transcripts were analyzed for thematic content. Four of the sporting organizations provided little to no RED-S education. Rowing Australia delivered a program of RED-S content via an affiliated sports dietitian. The barriers identified for implementation of RED-S content were: limited time, resources, and coaches’ preexisting knowledge and beliefs. Based on these results, RED-S education is, indeed, lacking in some coach accreditation programs for endurance-based sporting organizations. Support for these organizations is required to overcome existing barriers and to facilitate inclusion of RED-S education within the coaching curriculum to support female athlete health.

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Cheryl Cooky

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Natalie M. Welch, Jessica L. Siegele, and Robin Hardin

Women continue to struggle to reach senior-level leadership positions in collegiate sports, and ethnic minorities face the challenges due to their ethnicity as well. This research examined the experiences and challenges of ethnic minority women who are collegiate athletic directors at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). Semistructured interviews were conducted with eight participants using intersectionality as a theoretical framework. Three themes emerged from the data analysis: (a) intersectional challenges, (b) questions of competence, and (c) professional support. The women were continually battling the idea of having to prove themselves and negotiating the challenges of being an ethnic minority woman working in collegiate athletics. They credit their professional networks as a valuable resource during their career progression. The women noted that sexism was more prevalent in their experiences than issues related to their ethnicity. The masculine athletic director stereotype persists in collegiate sports, but the findings of this study can contest the notion of a standard leadership identity that has long been perceived as a White man.