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Lenny D. Wiersma

Extreme sport athletes perform in environments that are characterized by danger, unpredictability, and fear, and the consequences of a mistake include severe injury or death. Maverick’s is a big-wave surfing location in northern California that is known for its cold water temperatures, dangerous ocean wildlife, deep reef, and other navigational hazards. The purpose of this study was to use a phenomenological framework to understand the psychology of big-wave surfing at Maverick’s. Seven elite big-wave surfers completed in-depth phenomenological interviews and discussed the psychology related to various stages of big-wave surfing, including presurf, in the lineup, catching the wave, riding the wave, wiping out, and postsurf. Big-wave surfers described a variety of experiences associated with surfing at Maverick’s and discussed several ways that they coped with its challenges. The results provide a greater understanding of the psychology of participating in an extreme environment.

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Lenny D. Wiersma

Of growing concern to sport researchers is the practice of youth sport athletes specializing in sport at a young age. Sport specialization is characterized by year-round training in a single sport at the exclusion of other sport or nonsport activities. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the potential benefits of specialized sport at an early age in light of the potential risks associated with specialized participation. Three areas of consideration are discussed, including motor skill acquisition and performance, potential sociological consequences, and psychological concerns related to high-intensity training of young athletes. Finally, recommendations for further research and practical considerations are suggested for deciding the appropriateness of specialized sport in the training and development of youth sport athletes.

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Stephan R. Walk and Lenny D. Wiersma

Nixon’s (1994a; 1994b; 1996a; 1996b) research using a Risk, Pain, and Injury Questionnaire (RPIQ) is perhaps the most systematic in the risk, pain, and injury literature. The RPIQ is intended to measure the acceptance of dominant discourses on risk, pain, and injury among athletes and others. This article presents a face validity critique of the RPIQ and results of a subsequent content validity analysis based on a study of 171 athletes from a West Coast university. Structural equation modeling used to test Nixon’s original 3-factor model (M1) revealed poor model fit. Two alternate models (M2 and M3) tested reformulated subscale constructs and items. Whereas M2 demonstrated poor construct validity, limited support was found for items in M3. Further replications of this research are recommended.

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Jennifer M. Schumacher, Andrea J. Becker and Lenny D. Wiersma

Phenomenological interview methods were used to examine the experiences of thirteen channel swimmers (nine males and four females) with an average age of 41.08 years (SD = 10.05). All participants successfully completed an official channel crossing of 20 or more miles within the past 2 years. Analyses of the interview transcripts yielded 2,028 meaning units that were grouped into subthemes, themes, and major dimensions (e.g., Patton, 2002). The final thematic structure consisted of three major dimensions that chronicled the swimmers’ experiences including: before my channel swim, during my channel swim, and after my channel swim. This manuscript specifically focuses on the themes from within the dimension of during my channel swim, which includes the swimmers’ environmental, physical, social, and psychological experiences during the swim itself as well as the coping mechanisms that they used to succeed.

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David A. Rowe, Thomas D. Raedeke, Lenny D. Wiersma and Matthew T. Mahar

The purpose of the study was to investigate the measurement properties of questionnaires associated with the Youth Physical Activity Promotion (YPAP) model. Data were collected from 296 children in Grades 5–8 using several existing questionnaires corresponding to YPAP model components, a physical activity questionnaire, and 6 consecutive days of pedometer data. Internal validity of the questionnaires was tested using confirmatory factor analyses, and external validity was investigated via correlations with physical activity and body composition. Initial model fit of the questionnaires ranged from poor to very good. After item removal, all scales demonstrated good fit. Correlations with percentage body fat and objectively measured physical activity were low but in the theoretically predicted direction. The current study provides good internal validity evidence and acceptable external validity evidence for a brief set of questionnaire items to investigate the theoretical basis for the YPAP model.