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James E. Maddux

The notion of habit figures prominently in theories of health-related behavior and in efforts to encourage people to develop consistency and regularity in the healthful behavior of daily life. The consensus definition of habit as automatic and mindless behavior, however, presents three logical and philosophical problems. First, this definition of habit is at odds with the way most of our theories of health behavior try to employ the notion. Second, the behaviors of concern to most health, exercise, and sport psychologists are not the kinds of behaviors to which this definition of habit applies easily, if at all. Third, the kind of mindless behavior suggested by this definition may be conducive to enhancing physical health and athletic performance, but it may be inconsistent with the essential elements of happiness or subjective well-being according to Eastern philosophies such as Taoism and Buddhism, and according to the growing research on the psychology of happiness.

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Simon C. Darnell

Sport is currently mobilized as a tool of international development within the “Sport for Development and Peace” (SDP) movement. Framed by Gramscian hegemony theory and sport and development studies respectively, this article offers an analysis of the conceptualization of sport’s social and political utility within SDP programs. Drawing on the perspectives of young Canadians (n = 27) who served as volunteer interns within Commonwealth Games Canada’s International Development through Sport program, the dominant ideologies of development and social change that underpin current SDP practices are investigated. The results suggest that while sport does offer a new and unique tool that successfully aligns with a development mandate, the logic of sport is also compatible with the hegemony of neo-liberal development philosophy. As a result, careful consideration of the social politics of sport and development within the SDP movement is called for.

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Weiyun Chen, Theresa Purcell Cone and Stephen L. Cone

This study describes how a physical education teacher collaborated with a second-grade teacher to plan and implement an interdisciplinary unit, and it identifies factors that contributed to the teachers’ actual collaboration. One accomplished elementary physical education teacher, one experienced second-grade classroom teacher, and 35 students from two second-grade classes voluntarily participated in this study. The data were collected by audiotaping the two planning sessions, videotaping eight integrated lessons taught by the physical education teacher and three integrated lessons taught by the classroom teacher, transcribing the taped lessons, and interviewing the teachers. The findings indicated that the teachers’ collaborative planning focused on providing students with integrated and relevant learning experiences. Throughout the collaboration, the two teachers shared leadership roles and teaching responsibilities. The teachers attributed their effective interdisciplinary teaching to their long-term collaborative working experiences, common teaching philosophy, and mutual respect and trust.

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Mark L. Latash

Living systems may be defined as systems able to organize new, biology-specific, laws of physics and modify their parameters for specific tasks. Examples include the force-length muscle dependence mediated by the stretch reflex, and the control of movements with modification of the spatial referent coordinates for salient performance variables. Low-dimensional sets of referent coordinates at a task level are transformed to higher-dimensional sets at lower hierarchical levels in a way that ensures stability of performance. Stability of actions can be controlled independently of the actions (e.g., anticipatory synergy adjustments). Unintentional actions reflect relaxation processes leading to drifts of corresponding referent coordinates in the absence of changes in external load. Implications of this general framework for movement disorders, motor development, motor skill acquisition, and even philosophy are discussed.

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Cesar R. Torres

In contemporary sport, it is common to see children initiating their specialization at ever younger ages with the hope that this early start will assist them in making the elite ranks at a later age. The growing acceptance of early sport specialization has led to equally growing concerns among researchers. Clearly, as this thematic volume attests, early sport specialization is a controversial phenomenon. Sport philosophers have started to study the challenging issues related to early sport specialization and thus there is emerging literature addressing such issues. This paper reviews the sport philosophy literature touching on early sport specialization and focuses on some fundamental philosophical issues raised by early sport specialization. These issues are related to the right of children to an open future, dangerous sports, competition and coaching, and doping and genetic enhancements. The paper concludes with a brief commentary on the relevance of these issues for policy making.

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Inez Rovegno and Dianna Bandhauer

This interpretive case study describes five norms of the school culture that facilitated a teacher’s (the second author) adoption and learning of a constructivist approach to physical education. The second author used a movement approach initially based on Every Child a Winner. The first author conducted field observations at the elementary school across 3 years and formal interviews and numerous informal interviews each day of field work with teachers, principals, staff, and children. The five norms or set of norms were (a) the set of norms defining the school philosophy, (b) teacher learning, (c) teacher participatory power and responsibility, (d) continual school improvement, and (e) the tendency “to feel that we can do anything.” The paper describes how the norms influenced the physical educator and the physical educators’ role in creating and maintaining the norms.

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James E. Loehr

This paper explores personal experiences in building a career in sport psychology and providing consulting services to professional tennis players. It describes the range of services provided, major client groups, and philosophy of service delivery. It reviews the overall training model used in service delivery as well as psychological assessment procedures used in consultation. It also describes how professional services were organized, type of services provided to specific client groups, and specific training components. Factors and issues influencing professional effectiveness and competence are explored. The importance of training and competence in all sport sciences are emphasized. The challenges and hardships encountered in building a successful career in this specialty are reviewed. The need for more effective and responsible applied technology and research is discussed.

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Larry L. Fahlberg, Lauri A. Fahlberg and Ward K. Gates

The difficulty in understanding human behavior requires using whatever approaches that address the questions. Concerning such questions, four forces have emerged in psychology representing variations in ontology, philosophies of science, and concomitant epistemologies and methodologies. Nonetheless, when viewed from a metapsychological perspective, one force has predominated in exercise psychology to the exclusion of the remaining three. A recognition of the complexity in exercise behavior calls for additional psychologies that provide an expanded perspective for understanding the problems and questions that arise. Exercise dependency is an example of such a problem, and existential psychology will be introduced as a means of studying and understanding this problem. An example of existential-phenomenological research on exercise behavior is included to demonstrate the possibility of such inquiry and to exemplify contributions to understanding that might ensue.

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Urbain Claeys

This paper deals with the evolution of the concept of sport and the changing sport participation patterns in Europe. The concept of sport has evolved under the influence of the “Sports for All” philosophy. The entire Sports for All campaign has helped open up the definition of sport. Its borders have been shifted, both for participants and scientists. There are now more sports than ever, and more physical activities are considered sports. Sport participation is a result of a complex set of factors: facilities and organizations, patterns of sport socialization, personal motivations, and also the current changes taking place in society. In this discussion, special attention is paid to the relationship between sport socialization and sport participation patterns.

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Grace Goc-Karp and Dorothy B. Zakrajsek

This study determined and compared the planning models taught in preservice physical education (theoretical) with those practiced in junior high school physical education (reality). Empirical and ethnographic data were collected through a survey of college professors (n = 59), close-ended (n = 36) and open-ended surveys of teachers (n = 28), and a nonparticipant observation study (n = 4). The results indicated that the theoretical model focused on planning for student learning whereas the reality model focused on planning for teaching. The personal philosophy of the teachers, coaching commitments, the teachers’ routines of planning and teaching, and the students’ reactions were major influences on how teachers planned and why they planned. Reasons for lack of transfer of the planning model from theory into practice are discussed and suggestions for further investigation are made.