A child’s first contact with media and culture typically comes from books they are exposed to in the home and at school. The narratives presented contribute to the early reinforcement of gender roles and norms and can greatly influence the way that young girls perceive and experience sport. The purpose of this study was to explore the narratives within sport-based books geared toward a young female audience to determine the extent to which they promote the engagement of girls in sport. A pragmatic literature search was conducted to obtain books that met our inclusion criteria. Books (n = 28) were analyzed based on the age of their intended audience (aged 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12 years) using thematic narrative analysis. Although the authors promoted the engagement of girls in sport, underlying gender stereotypes were nevertheless salient. Across the books, themes involved the emphasis of “feminine” sports as a context for diversity and learning, the need to understand development as a process, the importance of relationships, and implications pertaining to perceptions of capability as female athletes. Most importantly, the application of a critical feminist lens enabled us to identify an underlying theme—the reinforcement of gender stereotypes—that permeated the storylines and served to undermine the potential adaptive messaging intended by authors. These findings suggest the need for greater attention toward the complexity of female sport and a cultural shift in thinking toward gender equity rather than simply increasing sport access for female participants.
Jennifer T. Coletti, Veronica Allan, and Luc J. Martin
Cassidy Preston, Veronica Allan, Lauren Wolman, and Jessica Fraser-Thomas
Extensive research highlights the important roles of coaches and parents in fostering positive youth development (PYD). However, little research has examined the complex coach–parent relationship in the bidirectional interactions of the coach-parent-athlete triad. This research is particularly pertinent in elite youth sport, wherein the performance-oriented environment may impede the pursuit of PYD. As such, this study aimed to deepen understandings of the coach–parent relationship in relation to athletes’ PYD. Specifically, the first author critically analyzed and reflected on his experiences as an elite youth ice hockey coach, thus offering a unique portrayal of reflective practice in the context of sport coaching. Two interconnected themes emerged: understanding conflict in the coach-parent-athlete relationship and fostering collaboration through enhanced coach–parent communication. Findings and reflections are discussed in relation to the dual-concern model of conflict resolution, and strategies to help practitioners foster cooperative coach–parent relationships are presented.
Kelsey Saizew, M. Blair Evans, Veronica Allan, and Luc J. Martin
The authors explored how sport structure predisposed a team to subgroup formation and influenced athlete interactions and team functioning. A season-long qualitative case study was undertaken with a nationally ranked Canadian track and field team. Semistructured interviews were conducted with coaches (n = 4) and athletes (n = 11) from different event groups (e.g., sprinters, jumpers) at the beginning and at the end of the season. The results highlighted constraints that directly impacted athlete interactions and predisposed the group to subgroup formation (e.g., sport/event type, facility/schedule limitations, team size/change over time). The constraints led to structural divides that impacted interactions but could be overcome through team building, engaging with leaders, and prioritizing communication. These findings underline how structure imposed by the design of sports impacts teammate interactions and how practitioners, coaches, and athletes can manage groups when facing such constraints. The authors describe theoretical and practical implications while also proposing potential future directions.
Nima Dehghansai, Veronica Allan, Ross A. Pinder, and Joe Baker
Research has recently examined the role of impairment onset on athlete development in Paralympic sport; however, less is known on how impairment type can impact athlete sporting pathways. In this study, 187 Australian and Canadian Paralympic sport athletes completed a survey. Participants were divided into the following four groups: impaired muscle power (n = 79); ataxia, athetosis, and hypertonia (n = 44); limb deficiencies (n = 42); and other physical impairments (n = 22). Mechanisms of initiation into Paralympic sport varied between groups with some drawn to sport through friends and/or family (i.e., limb deficiencies and other physical impairments groups) while others through talent search programs (i.e., ataxia, athetosis, and hypertonia group) or health care professionals/rehabilitation centers (i.e., impaired muscle power group). Results revealed no significant differences between groups in the chronological age or absolute years for achieving milestones. However, considering the high variability within the sample, more research is necessary to better understand how athletes with different physical impairments navigate through their sporting careers.
Mark W. Bruner, Ian D. Boardley, Veronica Allan, Christopher Forrest, Zachary Root, and Jean Côté
Social identity has been found to play a salient role in regulating teammate behavior among youth participating in a range of sports (Bruner, Boardley, & Côté, 2014). This study aimed to better understand social identity by examining how it may influence intrateam moral behavior specifically in competitive youth ice hockey. Thirty-six male and female competitive youth ice hockey players from nine teams participated in narrative interviews. Using a thematic narrative analysis, three distinct narratives were identified: (1) family-oriented team narrative, (2) performance-oriented team narrative, and (3) dominance-oriented team narrative. Within each of the narratives, a reciprocal relationship between social identity and intrateam moral behavior was reported such that young athletes’ social identities developed through team membership may influence and be influenced by their moral behavior toward teammates. Collectively, the results extend previous research by providing an in-depth qualitative understanding of social identity and intrateam moral behavior in youth sport.