Nima Dehghansai and Joseph Baker
Initiatives have been designed to attract novice athletes and to enable transfer for experienced athletes. However, the authors have very little knowledge of the effectiveness of these programs. To further improve our understanding, this study explored the demographic and sporting careers of 225 participants attending one of the 10 Paralympian Search events held between 2016 and 2018. The sample consisted of participants with a wide range of impairments and sport experiential backgrounds. The majority of the participants reported having some experience in sports, suggesting that either the promotions reached athletes involved in sports already or the advertising appealed especially to this cohort. Athletes with impairments acquired at various stages of their lives (congenital, before adolescence, adolescence, early adulthood, and adulthood) displayed differences in their sporting trajectories, suggesting considerations for current developmental models. Furthermore, it should be considered to vary the testing locations of future events to increase the reach to rural areas and implement new methods to attract novice participants.
Rachael C. Stone and Joseph Baker
The prevalence of arthritis in aging populations continues to rapidly grow. Research has highlighted 2 principal risk factors for progression of arthritis-related biopsychosocial symptoms: age and physical inactivity. This study examined the relationship between and within physical activity and age on biopsychosocial symptoms of arthritis in adults (age ≥ 30 yr). Hierarchical, multiple-regression analyses were conducted on the Canadian Community Health Survey (Cycle 4.2, 2009–2010, N = 19,103). Results revealed that more-active adults had significantly fewer symptoms (physical unstd. B = −.23, p ≤ .001; pyschosocial unstd. B = −.51, p ≤ .001). In addition, as age increased, physical symptoms intensified and psychosocial symptoms tapered (physical unstd. B = .24, p ≤ .001; psychosocial unstd. B = −.45, p ≤ .001). Inactive older adults had the highest level of physical symptoms, while inactive younger adults had the highest level of psychosocial symptoms (p ≤ .001). Findings highlight the need to target physical activity interventions to specific age cohorts and particular biopsychosocial symptomologies.
Kerri McCaul, Joseph Baker, and John K. Yardley
Adolescence is characterized as a period of change and adaptation typically marked by a decline in physical activity participation and accompanied by an increase in substance use. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among the type (team and individual activity) and intensity (high, medium, and low intensity) of physical activity and substance use (tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol use, and binge drinking) in a sample of 738 adolescents. Results indicated differing relationships among study variables depending on the type and intensity of physical activity and the type of substance used For instance, a positive relationship was found for physical activity intensity and alcohol use, but negative relationships were found for physical activity and tobacco and marijuana use. Collectively, the results reveal that the relationships between physical activity type and intensity and substance use are more complex than previously believed.
Justine Jones, Kathryn Johnston, and Joseph Baker
Talent identification and development are two of the most critical, yet underexplored, areas in sport sciences. Despite its importance to a host of sport stakeholders, there is a void in our understanding of how coaches construct talent. In an effort to learn more, semistructured interviews were conducted with nine (one female and eight male) collegiate-level coaches from a single Canadian institution. Social constructionism was utilized as the theoretical framework to guide this research. Reflexive thematic analysis generated two main themes: “what talent looks like” and “how talent behaves.” For the former, two subthemes, physical and psychological attributes, were highlighted through the coaches’ experiences as qualities they believe talented athletes may present. The latter reflected opinions that talent may be multidimensional and context-specific in nature. Interestingly, the coaches suggested the context and circumstances of collegiate sport may nudge them to consider other elements (i.e., academic standing, years to degree completion) during talent identification that are unique to this context. Future work in this area could seek to study other populations of coaches to provide a deeper analysis of how talent is situated in relation to different sociocultural worlds.
Alina Cohen, Joseph Baker, and Chris I. Ardern
Obesity is associated with impairments in health-related quality of life (HRQL), whereas physical activity (PA) is a promoter of HRQL.
The aim of this study was to investigate the interaction between BMI and PA with HRQL in younger and older Canadian adults.
Data from the 2012 annual component of the Canadian Community Health Survey (N = 48,041; = 30 years) were used to capture self-reported body mass index (BMI-kg/m2), PA (kcal/kg/day, KKD), and HRQL. Interactions between PA and age on the BMI and HRQL relationship were assessed using general linear models and logistic regression.
Those younger (younger: μ = 0.79 ± 0.02; older: μ = 0.70 ± 0.02) and more active (active: μ = 0.82 ± 0.02; moderately active: μ = 0.77 ± 0.03; inactive: μ = 0.73 ± 0.01) reported higher HRQL. Older inactive underweight, normal weight, and overweight adults have lower odds of high HRQL.
PA was associated with higher HRQL in younger adults. In older adults, BMI and PA influenced HRQL.
Joseph Baker, Janice Deakin, Sean Horton, and G. William Pearce
Demographic studies indicate a remarkable aging trend in North America. An accurate profile of the decline in physical and cognitive capabilities over time is essential to our understanding of the aging process. This study examined the maintenance of skilled performance across the careers of 96 professional golfers. Data were collected on scoring average, driving distance, driving accuracy, greens in regulation, putts per round, and number of competitive rounds played using online data archives. Analyses indicate that performance in this activity can be maintained to a greater extent than in activities relying on biologically constrained abilities. Although the generalizability of these results to “normal” aging populations is not known, they suggest that acquired skills can be maintained to a large extent in the face of advancing age.
Nima Dehghansai, Daniel Spedale, Melissa J. Wilson, and Joseph Baker
Little is known about the factors influencing Paralympic athletes’ journey to expertise and whether these athletes have trajectories similar to those of their able-bodied (AB) peers. The purpose of this project was to compare the developmental trajectories of wheelchair and AB basketball players. A total of 150 participants completed the Developmental History of Athletes Questionnaire. Results revealed that while AB athletes reached early career milestones at a significantly younger age, athletes with congenital impairments reached midcareer milestones at similar ages to AB athletes. In addition, athletes with acquired impairments were able to reach key late-career performance milestones (i.e., national and international debuts) at a similar age to the other two groups. The findings from this study suggest complex developmental pathways that may not be reflected in current developmental models. Therefore, the authors suggest that scientists and practitioners be cognizant of context-specific needs when providing training recommendations.
Nima Dehghansai, Srdjan Lemez, Nick Wattie, and Joseph Baker
Compared with mainstream sport athletes, relatively little is known regarding the factors affecting the development of athletes with a disability. Sport-specific training programs are essential to athletes’ successful performance; to create appropriate programs and strategies, a clear understanding of the nuances of development of athletes with a disability is important. The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize existing research on development in athletes with a disability and examine the key determinants of successful development and sporting performance. After a search of the Web of Science and SPORTDiscus databases, 21 articles were identified that met the inclusion criteria, which were assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and categorized into 3 groups: training and practice, shortterm interventions, and long-term changes due to training. Among the studies, there was a disproportionate focus on immediate interventions and training programs and less on long-term development. The review reflected a lack of research on sportspecific development of athletes with a disability, which raises concerns regarding the effectiveness and appropriateness of current training practices.
Joseph Baker, Jennifer Robertson-Wilson, and Whitney Sedgwick
The current study examined whether the distribution of published research papers in the field of sport psychology followed the Lotka-Price Law of scientific productivity. All authors who had published articles in five sport psychology journals from 1970 to 2000 were considered. The impact of those authors was determined by the total number of published papers in all journals. Results provided limited support for the Lotka-Price Law; however, it appeared that the field of sport psychology was less elitist than other fields. Although these findings suggest that productivity in this field is similar to that in other fields of science, more research is needed to shed light on the role of the eminent scientist and the average researcher in the advancement of knowledge in sport psychology.