The present study examined links between physical activity and quality of life experienced by individuals with physical disabilities recruited from a wheelchair user’s basketball tournament. The participants included 12 male and 14 female adults between the ages of 18–54 (M = 31.12, SD = 10.75) who all reported one or more condition(s) that impacted their daily living. They were administered the Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (Washburn, Weimo, McAuley, Frogley, & Figoni, 2002) and in-depth interviews focused on their physical activity experiences and evaluations about their quality of life. Grounded theory analyses (Charmaz, 2000, 2002) revealed that individuals who use wheelchairs perceived a number of psychological, social, and health benefits associated with physical activity involvement. The participants’ evaluations and descriptions of their physical activity experiences appeared to support self-efficacy beliefs, feelings of empowerment, and motivation for continued involvement. Firstperson descriptions are presented to demonstrate how and why physical activity behaviors were perceived to enhance the quality of the participants’ lives.
Peter R. Giacobbi Jr., Michael Stancil, Brent Hardin and Lance Bryant
Daniel Gould, Scott Pierce, Ian Cowburn and Andrew Driska
This case study examined the coaching philosophy of J Robinson, one of the most respected and successful NCAA wrestling coaches in the United States, and the founder of J Robison Intensive Wrestling Camps. Research has that shown that his camps foster short and long term psychological development in its youth participants (Driska et al., in press; Pierce, et al., 2016). He has established a well-delineated system for developing psychological skills in young athletes. The researchers were therefore interested in understanding the link between his coaching philosophy and coaching behavior, and in identifying factors that have influenced the development of this coaching philosophy over his lifetime. Using a case study approach, in-depth interviews at several points in time with Robinson were conducted. These were supplemented with interviews with camp staff and observations of the camp and Robinson’s coaching. Results revealed that Robinson had a clearly defined philosophy, was very intentional in developing mental skills, and had clearly thought out rationales that guided his coaching actions. The coaching philosophy and approach to developing psychological skills in youth evolved over 35 years of implementing these camps and from Robinson’s own life experiences. Implications for studying coach development and delivering coaching education are provided.
Xiaoyan Xing and Laurence Chalip
Sport mega-event organizing committees have three uniquely challenging characteristics: They grow rapidly; they are temporary; they are accountable for event symbolisms. Effects of these characteristics are examined via participant observation and in-depth interviews with twelve lower-level employees of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) two years before the Beijing Olympics. Four themes about their working lives were identified: The daily work is mundane; BOCOG is bureaucratic; privilege has its privileges; my immediate working environment nurtures me. The mega-event context was also important; workers described it using: The Olympics are great and grand; the Olympics are valuable for China; the Olympics illustrate the challenges that China faces in the 21st century; BOCOG is uniquely high profile; BOCOG helps us to understand Chinese society. Employees used four themes to describe the coping strategies they applied to manage the challenges of working for the organizing committee: I have to confront or adjust; my work at BOCOG allows me to develop myself; working at BOCOG represents a passionate life with idealism; I get to be part of history. Findings suggest that social support, the symbolic significance of the event, and learning through event work mitigate the stresses of working to host a mega-event. Future work should examine the workers’ lives longitudinally over the lifespan of an organizing committee to delineate the dynamics of meanings and experiences in mega-event work.
Kathy Kreiner-Phillips and Terry Orlick
The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of success on athletes who reached the top of the world in their sport. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted with 17 world champion athletes, representing 7 different sports and 4 different countries. All athletes, 11 males and 6 females, had won major international competitions (World Cup, World Championships, and/or Olympic Games) between the years 1964 and 1988. The number of individual World Cup wins ranged from 1 to 86. The results indicate that athletes who became the best in their sport, subsequently experienced many additional demands. Most had little or no assistance in dealing with these demands. Approximately one third of these athletes coped well with the additional demands and continued to win. The remaining two thirds did not handle the additional demands as well and either never repeated their winning performance or took a significant amount of time to do so. Strategies to help prepare future champions to handle the demands of winning are suggested.
M. Ryan Flett, Daniel Gould, Katherine R. Griffes and Larry Lauer
The following study explored coaching behaviors and youth coaches’ justifications for their actions by comparing more effective and less effective coaches from an underserved setting. Reasons for their coaching behaviors were also explored. In-depth interviews and ethnographic observations were conducted with 12 coaches from 6 different youth sports. Support for each theme from the analysis was compared between the 6 more effective and 6 less effective coaches. Less effective coaches tried to create a sense of family within the team, but used very negative, militaristic coaching strategies that were not developmentally appropriate. Less effective coaches justified the negative approach because of the perceived dangers in the inner city and attempted to toughen their players through harsher methods. More effective coaches challenged players while being supportive, attempted to develop close relationships along with a positive team climate, and promoted autonomy and the transfer of life skills from sport to life. More effective coaches appeared to be more open to coach training and others’ ideas—they could be described as lifelong learners. The results from this study not only reveal how more and less effective coaches differ, but provide possible insight as to why they differ. The study provides unique insights for researchers and coaching educators interested in particularly underserved settings and in developing less effective coaches.
Diana Deek, Penny Werthner, Kyle J. Paquette and Diane Culver
This study examines the impact of a coach education program on coach learning and perceived changes to coaching practices, while situating this episodic learning experience within a lifelong-learning perspective. Three sets of in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 coaches taking part in one of three competition-development modules within Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program (Coaching and Leading Effectively, Managing Conflict, and Psychology of Performance). It was found that (a) the coaches’ biographies varied widely, (b) all of the coaches reported learning from the modules, (c) eight of ten coaches reported a change in their coaching practices as a result of participation in one of the modules, and (d) the coaches credited a combination of mediated, unmediated, and internal learning situations for their learning before and after the modules. These findings suggest that a large-scale coach education program can have an impact on coaches when the program takes a lifelong-learning perspective and integrates constructivist principles into its design and delivery.
Eileen Udry, Daniel Gould, Dana Bridges and Laurie Beck
This investigation sought to extend the existing scientific literature regarding the role of psychological processes in athletic injury rehabilitation. Specifically, the study examined (a) psychological responses of injured athletes to season-ending injuries, and (b) long-term benefits athletes perceived they obtained from their injuries. In-depth interviews were conducted with US Ski Team athletes (N = 21) who experienced injuries during racing seasons from 1990 to 1994. The data were analyzed using the content analysis procedures described by Scanlan, Stein, and Ravizza (1989). Relative to athletes’ reactions to being injured, 136 raw data themes were extracted which coalesced into 4 general dimensions: (a) injury-relevant information processing/awareness, (b) emotional upheaval/reactive behavior, (c) positive outlook/coping attempts, and (d) other. With respect to injury benefits, 81 raw data themes emerged and formed 4 dimensions: (a) personal growth, (b) psychologically- based performance enhancements, (c) physical-technical development, and (d) none. The results are discussed in relation to existing models of injury recovery and stress.
Bobbi A. Knapp
Scholars have examined the ways in which gender is reproduced and resisted in various physical activities and their designated spaces such as aerobics (Markula, 2003), weight training (Dworkin, 2001), and fitness training (Ginsberg, 2000). CrossFit, a relatively new entrant on the fitness scene, has seen an increase in popularity and popular media coverage in the past few years. One of the core tenets of CrossFit is the belief that it is accessible to everyone through scaling. Using a critical feminist geographical approach, the purpose of this research was to examine the ways in which gender was reproduced and resisted in one CrossFit box. This ethnographic study incorporated participant observation, semistructured, in-depth interviews, and online archival work. The themes that emerged included sense of community, pushing through physical limits, coed workouts, beat by a girl, and spatial influence. The results indicate that even though there are ways in which gender norms are reinforced in this space there were also multiple ways in which ideal femininity and hegemonic masculinity were resisted.
Women’s flat track roller derby is considered by participants a space for constructing positive images of diverse female bodies in sport, proclaiming that women of all shapes and sizes are welcome. However, despite evidence to the contrary, the universal claim of diverse body acceptance has not been fully interrogated within the literature. In this three-year auto/ethnography of a Midwestern Division 1 derby league, I ask: In what ways do women derby skaters talk about the derby body, and how do their behaviors coexist with the mantra of inclusion? I rely on participant observation, in-depth interviews with 13 skaters, and personal journaling of my experiences as a skater to problematize the notion that “any body can be a derby girl.” I argue that three contradictory discourses regarding skater bodies simultaneously permeate the elite derby space: 1) “size doesn’t matter,” or that function trumps body form, 2) “bigger is better,” or that larger bodies have greater value, and 3) “serious athleticism,” that skater bodies must have a high level of fitness to compete. I conclude that the mantra of acceptance within derby must be qualified given these other discourses, and that derby’s potential to empower participants and serve as a critique for mainstream sport is thereby limited.
Previous research has demonstrated that female athletes draw sexist and homophobic remarks, especially in contact sports, which are more highly valued and dominated by men. As such, female athletes have used a variety of responses to combat stigma they face; however, these responses have reaffirmed sexist and homophobic assumptions rather than contest them. In the last decade roller derby has emerged as a contact sport which is female-dominated and whose members seek to complicate gendered assumptions about sport. Analysis of semistructured, in-depth interviews with 17 female flat-track roller derby players shows that although skaters face similar challenges of sexism and homophobia skaters resist these challenges in innovative ways including demonstrating the legitimacy of the sport, educating outsiders on the diversity of players, shrugging off or defending themselves, and adopting new uniforms. This study concludes by arguing that roller derby, as a unique sport within the particular historical moment of increased LGTBQ acceptance, has implications for altering women’s relationship to sport by resisting homophobic and sexist assumptions. The altered relationship includes skaters being more open to different expressions of sexuality and gender in sport, taking control over their athletic status, and fostering a more accepting place for female athletes. In addition, this resistance has the potential to impact female athletes in contact sports other than roller derby by identifying and adopting these resistive strategies creating larger change.