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.
Kelsey Saizew, M. Blair Evans, Veronica Allan, and Luc J. Martin
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.