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Sara Kramers, Martin Camiré and Corliss Bean

Golf Canada recently restructured its national junior golf development program, Learn to Play, going from an original curriculum that focused on teaching golf skills to an updated curriculum that integrates the teaching of golf and life skills. The purpose of the study was to examine whether there were differences in program quality through implementation of the original program compared with the updated program. Five coaches using the original program and nine coaches using the updated program took part in the study over an entire summer golf season. The 14 coaches (M age = 40 years) were each systematically observed on three occasions (i.e., total of 42 observations) and completed an end-of-season program quality questionnaire. The data were subjected to descriptive statistical analyses. Results demonstrated that (a) coaches who implemented the updated program were observed fostering higher levels of program quality than coaches who implemented the original program and (b) researcher observation scores were significantly lower than coach questionnaire scores of program quality. Results are discussed to situate the influence of the updated program on markers of quality. Practical implications for coach education and explicit life skills curricula are discussed.

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Travis Crickard, Diane M. Culver and Cassandra M. Seguin

Traditionally, playing experience in sport has been used as a springboard into the coaching profession. Specifically, playing experience has been discussed in research as facilitating the transition into early coaching roles, fast-tracking through coach education programs, and being viewed as a desirable factor in high-performance sport. However, explorations into the intricacies that make this playing experience so valuable have been minimal. Thus, this Insights article is meant to foster discussion within the coach research community regarding the role of playing experience in coaching pathways from a position perspective. This unique area of inquiry may offer insight to those concerned with coach pathways, coach development, and coach education. To promote this discussion, the following article will present some avenues through which previous playing experience could be explored. In addition, the authors will present a study that was conducted with high-performance head ice hockey coaches who formerly played goaltender and offer interesting directions for future research inquiries. Notably, the authors will consider playing experience in connection with career advancement, potential implications for hiring processes, considerations for coach education, and possible barriers to coaching opportunities.

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Doug Cooper and Justine Allen

In contrast to cross-sectional age trends of declining adult participation in sport, engagement in adventure sports is increasing among adults. The coach may have an important role to play in shaping the motivational climate to encourage and retain participants in adventure sport. The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth examination of the coach-created motivational climate in noncompetition focused adult adventure sport by adopting a multiple methods approach. The study was grounded in a multidimensional theoretical perspective that combines achievement goal theory and self-determination theory. Questionnaires, interviews, and observations of coaching sessions were employed to assess coaches’ (N = 6), participants’ (N = 25), and observers’ perspectives on the empowering and disempowering nature and features of coaching sessions. Analysis of the data demonstrated consistent views that the coaches created a strongly empowering and only weakly disempowering climate. Insight was gained about why and how coaches created this climate, as well as the challenges they experienced in maintaining an empowering climate for adults in adventure sport contexts. The place of structure, control, relatedness support, and coaches’ philosophies are discussed.

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Irene Torres-Sánchez, Araceli Ortiz-Rubio, Irene Cabrera-Martos, María Granados-Santiago, Isabel López-Torres and Marie Carmen Valenza

Background: Growing evidence demonstrates the negative health impact of physical inactivity. Our aim was to examine the influence of previous-year physical activity (PA) on the cognition of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients during exacerbation. Methods: Observational study. One hundred and fifty-one patients with COPD exacerbation were recruited over a period of 3 years and divided in 2 groups according to their previous activity level. Sociodemographic, anthropometric, and clinical variables were collected. Our main outcome measures were previous-year PA level, measured using the Modified Baecke Physical Activity Questionnaire and cognitive status measured using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. Results: The cognitive variables that exhibited significant differences (P < .05) according to PA level were the visuoconstructional skills subscore, attention subscore, language subscore, orientation subscore, and Montreal Cognitive Assessment total score, with worse results in the sedentary group. Based on the relationships between total scores, the Baecke score was positively correlated with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment total score (r = .457). Conclusions: The cognitive status of COPD patients during an exacerbation is related to previous-year PA level. Previous-year PA level should be taken into consideration when patients with a COPD exacerbation are evaluated.

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Joseph J. Gurgis, Gretchen A. Kerr and Ashley E. Stirling

Despite a significant number of coaches pursuing formal coach training through the National Coaching Certification Program in Canada each year, very few complete the entire certification process. The purpose of this study was to investigate the barriers and facilitators that influence Canadian coaches’ decisions to acquire coaching certification. A mixed-methods convergent parallel design was employed to address the research question. The participants included 1,518 certified and noncertified coaches across Canada who completed an online questionnaire identifying the barriers and facilitators to pursuing coaching certification; of this sample, 38 coaches participated in a follow-up telephone interview. Using the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, the findings suggest that most coaches reside in the precontemplation stage, in which they believe in and are thinking about certification, but have yet to engage in preparation. The barriers to pursuing certification included time, cost, tediousness of the process, and inaccessible evaluators, whereas the facilitators included enhanced knowledge and skills and improved coaching reputation. Future directions for increasing participation rates in the certification process include clearly identifying and broadly disseminating the benefits of acquiring certification, clarifying the criteria for evaluation, streamlining the certification process and incorporating online models, enhancing accessibility of evaluators, and incentivizing and rewarding certification.

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Sungwan Kim, Daeho Kim and Jihong Park

Context: While arthrogenous muscle inhibition associated with knee injuries is evident, the relative magnitude of functional deficiency related to each individual knee pathology is unclear. Objective: To compare the knee joint and quadriceps dysfunction among patients with anterior knee pain (AKP) without surgical history and those with surgical history (anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction [ACLR]; meniscus surgery) without current AKP, with matched healthy controls. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: A total of 66 patients with knee pathologies and 30 controls. Main Outcome Measures: Pain perception and lower-extremity functional outcomes were assessed. Knee joint function was measured by replication tests. Quadriceps function was measured by strength, voluntary activation, and torque-generating capacity. Results: Patients with AKP reported greater pain perception compared with the other knee conditions (4.3 vs 0.1 of 10 in Numeric Pain Rating Scale, P < .0001). Compared with the controls: (1) patients with AKP showed a greater error on knee-flexion replications at 75° (2.9° vs 5.4°, P = .002), (2) patients with AKP and ACLR showed less quadriceps strength (AKP: 3.3 vs 2.6 N·m/kg, P = .002; ACLR: 3.3 vs 2.7 N·m/kg, P = .02) and voluntary activation (AKP: 0.982 vs 0.928, P < .0001; ACLR: 0.982 vs 0.946, P = .003), and (3) all knee pathologies reported lower scores on functional outcomes (79 vs 65 of 80 points in Lower-Extremity Functional Scale, P < .0001) and showed less quadriceps torque-generating capacity (10.7 vs 7.8 N·m/s/kg, P < .0001). Among the knee pathologies, patients with AKP showed less quadriceps voluntary activation compared with the patients with meniscus surgery (0.928 vs 0.964, P = .03). Conclusion: As patients with AKP had an additional impairment in knee joint flexion replications and reported a less score in functional outcomes, knee pain may produce a greater impact on functional deficiency.

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Amy Price, Dave Collins, John Stoszkowski and Shane Pill

The purpose of this study was to explore professional soccer coaches’ interpretations of features suggesting players’ game understanding across the age phases of professional academy youth soccer in England, with particular attention paid to the role of strategic understanding. Semistructured interviews were conducted with coaches (n = 19) of players aged 9–23 years to better understand how coaches understand and apply methods to develop players’ strategic game understanding. Data revealed that coaches prioritized the technical and tactical development of their players over strategic development. However, across the age phases, coaches encountered challenges with coaching for strategic understanding (i.e., maintaining control of the game, players as problem solvers, player reflection, and coaching individuals within a team). The authors suggest that coaches and program designers need to show more intent toward developing players’ strategic understanding, becoming more purposeful when choosing “how” to develop this. In particular, coaches should consider how coaching methods that seek to develop players’ metacognitive game skills can be applied, with the goal of developing self-aware, flexible, and independent players as learners who demonstrate an appropriately “deep” understanding of the game.

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Scott Westfall

Turnaround leadership is a topic of particular interest within sports, as newly hired coaches are often expected to transform struggling teams into “winners.” The present study qualitatively examined American high school football coaches (N = 11) who led a dramatic turnaround within their school’s football program. After being hired, these participants experienced relatively quick success, as they achieved a winning record (M = 1.73 years) and reached the state playoffs within a short period of time (M = 1.82 years). Steps of the turnaround process included assembling a staff of quality assistants, creating a vision for program success, formulating a strong plan that supported the vision, generating buy-in from players and key members of the program, creating and celebrating early achievements, sustaining success through the establishment of new goals and benchmarks, and fighting the urge to become complacent once new levels of success were reached (i.e., making change stick). As a part of their coaching turnarounds, all of the participants talked about the importance of incorporating a quality strength and conditioning program into their team’s training regimen. Meanwhile, the majority of the participants identified “educational athletics” as the core of their coaching philosophy, in which they viewed their jobs as coaches as an extension of the classroom. Moreover, most participants implemented character education into their programs and used football as a platform for teaching life lessons to their players. Yet, the most recurrent theme of the process, and the most recommended approach for achieving a coaching turnaround, was establishing positive coach–athlete relationships.

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Rebecca L. Dubas, Elizabeth F. Teel, Melissa C. Kay, Eric D. Ryan, Meredith A. Petschauer and Johna K. Register-Mihalik

Context: Currently, there is no gold standard to evaluate the effect of varying game-like exertion states on Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3rd Edition (SCAT-3) outcomes. Baseline assessments may occur before, during, or after physical activity, while postinjury evaluations predominantly occur following physical activity. Thus, clinicians may be comparing postinjury evaluations completed following exertion to baseline evaluations completed following varying levels of rest or exertion, which may not be a valid method for clinical decision making. Objective: To determine the effect of various physical exertion levels on sideline concussion assessment outcomes and reliability. Design: Within-subjects, repeated measures. Setting: Field. Participants: Physically active participants (N = 36) who regularly participate in basketball activity. Intervention: Subjects participated in 2 simulated basketball games, completing a symptom checklist, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, and Balance Error Scoring System before game play, during halftime, and at the completion of each simulated game. Pulse rate was assessed as a proxy of physical exertion. Main Outcome Measures: Total symptom, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, and Balance Error Scoring System scores. Results: Physical exertion did not significantly predict symptom, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, or Balance Error Scoring System scores, although a trend toward higher symptom scores was observed for females (ß = 0.03, P = .09). All assessments had poor to moderate reliability across sessions (.15 < interclass correlation coefficient [2,1] < .60). Conclusion: Low- to moderate-intensity physical activity did not have a significant effect on clinical concussion sideline assessments; however, the low test–retest reliability observed prevents strong conclusions on these relationships. The poor overall reliability does not allow for clear recommendations for what state of baseline physical exertion (ie, rested or exerted) provides optimal data to make postinjury clinical decisions, although baseline concussion assessments completed at rest have the most valid and conservative normative values for injury comparison.

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Mark C. Richardson, Andrew Wilkinson, Paul Chesterton and William Evans

Context: Despite significant emphasis on anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention, injury rates continue to rise and reinjury is common. Interventions to reduce injury have included resistance, balance, and jump training elements. The use of sand-based jump training has been postulated as an effective treatment. However, evidence on landing mechanics is limited. Objective: To determine potential differences in landing strategies and subsequent landing knee valgus when performing single-leg landing (SLL) and drop jump (DJ) tasks onto sand and land, and to compare between both male and female populations. Design: A randomized repeated-measures crossover design. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: Thirty-one participants (20 males and 11 females) from a university population. Interventions: All participants completed DJ and SLL tasks on both sand and land surfaces. Main Outcome Measures: Two-dimensional frontal plane projection angle (FPPA) of knee valgus was measured in both the DJ and SLL tasks (right and left) for both sand and land conditions. Results: FPPA was lower (moderate to large effect) for SLL in sand compared with land in both legs (left: 4.3° [2.8°]; right: 4.1° [3.8°]) for females. However, effects were unclear (left: −0.7° [2.2°]) and trivial for males (right: −1.1° [1.9°]). FPPA differences for males and females performing DJ were unclear; thus, more data is required. Differences in FPPA (land vs sand) with respect to grouping (sex) for both SLL left (4.9° [3.0°]) and right (5.1° [4.0°]) were very likely higher (small)/possibly moderate for females compared with males. Conclusions: The effects of sand on FPPA during DJ tasks in males and females are unclear, and further data is required. However, the moderate to large reductions in FPPA in females during SLL tasks suggest that sand may provide a safer alternative to firm ground for female athletes in anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention and rehabilitation programs, which involve a SLL component.