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Jim McKay

Like capitalism, Marxism constantly experiences contradictions and crises to which it reacts, adapts, and somehow survives. Currently, Marxism is under attack by post-Marxist critical theorists and certain feminist scholars. In this paper, some of the criticisms made by these writers are applied to neo-Marxist approaches to sport. It is contended that the specific critiques of Marxism need to be situated in a wider framework that is concerned with theorizing all forms of domination (i.e., economic, sexual, ethnic/racial, and political) in sport. Some recent topics researched by neo-Marxists are used to illustrate the theoretical problems raised by restricting any critical theory of sport to the Marxist paradigm.

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Jim McKay and David Rowe

In this paper the ideological relationships between the media and Australian sport are examined from a critical perspective. After outlining the contributions of political economy, structuralism, and cultural studies to the critical paradigm, we argue that the Australian media have two main ideological effects. First, they legitimate masculine hegemony, capitalist rationality, consensus, and militaristic nationalism. Second, they marginalize, trivialize, and fragment alternative ideologies of sport. We conclude by suggesting some worthwhile topics for future research and by affirming that politicizing media representations of sport is an important part of the counter-hegemonic struggle in patriarchal capitalist societies.

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Jim McKay and Toby Miller

Although there are obvious American influences on Australian popular culture, the term “Americanization” is of limited help in explaining the elaborate form and content of Australian sport. The recent transformation from amateur to corporate sport in Australia has been determined by a complex array of internal and international social forces, including Australia’s polyethnic population, its semiperipheral status in the capitalist world system, its federal polity, and its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. Americanization is only one manifestation of the integration of amateur and professional sport into the media industries, advertising agencies, and multinational corporations of the world market. Investment in sport by American, British, New Zealand, Japanese, and Australian multinational companies is part of their strategy of promoting “good corporate citizenship,” which also is evident in art, cinema, dance, music, education, and the recent bicentennial festivities. It is suggested that the political economy of Australian sport can best be analyzed by concepts such as “post-Fordism,” the globalization of consumerism, and the cultural logic of late capitalism, all of which transcend the confines of the United States.

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Jim Mckay and Donna O’Connor

The purpose of this paper is to share a successful high performance coach’s approach to practicing unstructured aspects of team play to enhance team performance. The approach was implemented by Jim Mckay (attack coach) during the Queensland Red’s Super Rugby 2010–2013 campaigns. For team sports such as Rugby union, coaches need to assist players in developing their decision-making and execution under unpredictable and chaotic match conditions by scheduling a high proportion of playing form activities related to unstructured possession sources (e.g., response to turnover possession). This paper is organized into three sections. The first section provides an overview of relevant literature on coach-led practice sessions and dynamics system theory. This is followed by the Queensland Reds case study that outlines the data they analysed, the process and implementation of new practices and coach Mckay’s reflections. The final section provides suggestions for team sport coaches wanting to practice the unstructured aspects of team play.

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David Rowe, Jim McKay, and Geoffrey Lawrence

The sociology of sport in Australia has reached a key point in its development A critical tradition in the subdiscipline has been established over the last decade, but its intellectual and institutional progress has been uneven. This article briefly traces the emergence of critical sports sociology in a country outside the major centers in the UK and U.S., its break with functionalist approaches, and its attempts to overcome the neglect of local mainstream sociology. The authors proceed to examine (self-reflexively) the changes of theoretical direction and the new lines of research that are being explored in the field. A recent “skirmish” with narrative history over the preferred theories and methods in sports analysis is discussed as illustrative of the difficulties encountered by an energetic but small, dispersed and underorganized scholarly movement in Australia.

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Jim McKay, Keith Davids, Sam Robertson, and Carl T. Woods

This is an exciting era for applied research in high-performance sporting environments. Specifically, there are growing calls for researchers to work with coaches to produce “real-world” case examples that offer first-hand experiences into the application of theory. While ecological dynamics has emerged as a guiding theoretical framework for learning and performance in sport, there is a caveat to its use in the field. Namely, there is a general paucity of applied research that details how expert coaches have brought life to its theoretical contentions in practice. In light of this, the current paper offers a unique insight into how a professional Rugby union organization set out to ground their preparation for competitive performance within an ecological dynamics framework. More directly, this paper details how the Queensland Reds designed and integrated a set of attacking game principles that afforded players with opportunities in practice to search, discover, and exploit their actions. While this paper offers insight specific to Rugby union, its learnings are transferrable to coaches in other sports looking to situate their practice design within an ecological dynamics framework.