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Cesar R. Torres

If only indirectly and by comparison with other, supposedly more consequential, social undertakings, sport and athletic commitment continue to be denounced as trivial in contemporary society. Against the backdrop of this abiding trivialization, this paper explores the value found in committing to athletic excellence or, using the terminology of the 2019 National Academy of Kinesiology’s annual conference, in pursuing optimal athletic performance. The author introduces and explains 6 kinds of value found in this commitment and pursuit. While these values can be conceptualized independently, they need not be thought of as mutually exclusive. Not only are the values comparably significant, but they might also overlap and combine in various forms and to different degrees. In some cases, they might develop concurrently. Before introducing the values, the author briefly conceptualizes both optimal performance and sport, because sound analysis depends on conceptual clarity.

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Cesar R. Torres

In contemporary sport, it is common to see children initiating their specialization at ever younger ages with the hope that this early start will assist them in making the elite ranks at a later age. The growing acceptance of early sport specialization has led to equally growing concerns among researchers. Clearly, as this thematic volume attests, early sport specialization is a controversial phenomenon. Sport philosophers have started to study the challenging issues related to early sport specialization and thus there is emerging literature addressing such issues. This paper reviews the sport philosophy literature touching on early sport specialization and focuses on some fundamental philosophical issues raised by early sport specialization. These issues are related to the right of children to an open future, dangerous sports, competition and coaching, and doping and genetic enhancements. The paper concludes with a brief commentary on the relevance of these issues for policy making.

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R. Scott Kretchmar and Cesar R. Torres

The philosophy of sport has flourished in some ways and struggled in others since the publication of George Brooks’s anthology Perspectives on the Academic Discipline of Physical Education: A Tribute to G. Lawrence Rarick in 1981. In this article, the authors trace challenges faced by the philosophy of sport, discuss trends and hot topics, analyze opportunities for integrations with other subdisciplines, and speculate on the current issues in and the future of the philosophy of sport. While they conclude that the philosophy of sport’s prospect within kinesiology is uncertain and that it has work to do, they also conclude that this subdiscipline is uniquely positioned to provide kinesiology with the clarity and unity of purpose it needs.