One underreported issue in the research on Christian athletes has been the difficulties these athletes experience in living with the demands and expectations of the dominant culture of elite, competitive sport. Data were derived from in-depth interviews with 31 elite athletes (23 males and 8 females), who were also professing Christians and associated with the evangelical organization, Athletes-in-Action. The athletes reported that it was by turning to or returning to an evangelical Christian faith that they were better able to cope with their problems and with the demands of the culture of elite, competitive sport. Discussion of these findings included a consideration of Coakley’s (1994) model “of conflict, doubt, and resolution,” which attempts to represent the conflicts experienced by Christian athletes in elite sport, and the approaches they take to assuage these conflicts.
Christopher L. Stevenson
This article analyzes government and quasigovernmental agencies’ use of “planning dictates” in relationships with national sporting organizations (NSOs) in Canada and national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport in the United Kingdom (UK). Attention is drawn to the asymmetries of power contouring elite sport policy developments in both countries that, though unobservable in an empirical sense, nonetheless warrant investigation. The analysis draws on semistructured, in-depth interviews with key personnel in three Canadian NSOs and three UK NGBs in swimming, athletics, and sailing; senior officials at Sport Canada and UK Sport; and sport-policy analysts and academics. Although Canadian NSOs have been subject to such planning dictates for the past 20 to 30 years, the requirement for UK NGBs to comply in this way have only emerged since the mid-1990s. Accordingly, the article concludes with suggestions for further research in the UK.
David Carless and Kitrina Douglas
Through narrative methodology this study explores the processes and consequences of identity development among young elite athletes, with particular reference to the influence of sport culture. We focus on life stories of two elite male athletes, recounting significant moments from their lives analyzed through the lens of narrative theory. Our findings offer insights into three strands of sport psychology literature. First, responding to calls for a cultural sport psychology, our study reveals how elite sport culture shapes psychological processes of identity development. Second, it shows how the origins of a potentially problematic athletic identity are seeded in early sport experiences, shedding light on how athletic identity is developed or resisted. Finally, it extends previous narrative research into the lives of female professional golfers, documenting how comparable processes unfold among male athletes in other sports, deepening understanding of how cultural narratives influence behavior and life choices.
Jasper Truyens, Veerle De Bosscher and Popi Sotiriadou
Research on elite sport policy tends to focus on the policy factors that can influence success. Even though policies drive the management of organizational resources, the organizational capacity of countries in specific sports to allocate resources remains unclear. This paper identifies and evaluates the organizational capacity of five sport systems in athletics (Belgium [separated into Flanders and Wallonia], Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands). Organizational capacity was evaluated using the organizational resources and first-order capabilities framework (Truyens, De Bosscher, Heyndels, & Westerbeek, 2014). Composite indicators and a configuration analysis were used to collect and analyze data from a questionnaire and documents. The participating sport systems demonstrate diverse resource configurations, especially in relation to program centralization, athlete development, and funding prioritization. The findings have implications for high performance managers’ and policy makers’ approach to strategic management and planning for organizational resources in elite sport.
Veerle De Bosscher, Simon Shibli, Maarten van Bottenburg, Paul De Knop and Jasper Truyens
This article aims to make a contribution to comparative sport research and details a method for comparing nations’ elite sport systems less descriptively by measuring and comparing determinants of national competitiveness quantitatively. A mixed methods exploratory sequential design is used, consisting of two distinct phases. After qualitative exploration, a conceptual model was developed, revealing that there are nine sport policy dimensions or ‘pillars’ that are important for international sporting success. This article focuses on a second quantitative phase, where the model was tested in a pilot study with six sample nations to develop a scoring system. Data from each nation were collected through an overall sport policy questionnaire completed in each country, and through a survey with the main stakeholders in elite sport, namely athletes (n = 1090), coaches (n = 253), and performance directors (n = 71). Reflecting recognized principles of economic competitiveness measurement, this article demonstrates how 103 critical success factors containing quantitative and qualitative data can be aggregated into a final percentage score for the sample nations on each pillar. The findings suggest that the method is a useful way for objective comparison of nations, but it should not be isolated from qualitative descriptions and from a broader understanding of elite sport systems.
Katherine A. Tamminen and Peter R.E. Crocker
This paper is a critical commentary on the article “Adaptation Processes Affecting Performance in Elite Sport” (Schinke, Battochio, Lidor, Tenenbaum, Dube, & Lane, 2012). We review relevant literature and highlight theoretical and conceptual concerns regarding Schinke et al.’s model, particularly regarding their characterization of adaptation as a process versus an outcome, and the role of appraisals, emotions, emotional regulation, coping, and Fiske’s (2004) core motives within their model of adaptation. Adaptation or adjustment among elite athletes is a valuable area of research in sport psychology; however, Schinke et al.’s model oversimplifies the adaptation process and has limited utility among sport psychology researchers and practitioners.
Suzanne Cosh and Phillip J. Tully
Participation in elite-sport and education is stressful and can result in sacrificed educational attainment. A dearth of research, however, has explored the specific stressors encountered by student athletes and coping strategies used, resulting in limited knowledge of how to best support student athletes. Interviews with 20 Australian university student athletes were conducted and data were analyzed via thematic analysis. Interviewees reported encountering numerous stressors, especially relating to schedule clashes, fatigue, financial pressure, and inflexibility of coaches. Athletes identified few coping strategies but reported that support from parents and coaches was paramount. Athletes would benefit from upskilling in several areas such as effective use of time, self-care, time management, enhanced self-efficacy, and specific strategies for coping with stress. Coaches have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in facilitating successful integration of sport and education.
Andrew J.A. Hall, Leigh Jones and Russell J.J. Martindale
Sport Psychologist, 25 , 341 – 362 . doi:10.1123/tsp.25.3.341 10.1123/tsp.25.3.341 Hodge , K. , Henry , G. , & Smith , W. ( 2014 ). A case study of excellence in elite sport: Motivational climate in a world champion team . The Sport Psychologist, 28 , 60 – 74 . doi:10.1123/tsp.2013-0037 10
Rachel Arnold, David Fletcher and Jennifer A. Hobson
athletes and their teammates. As leadership and management are highly contextual in nature (cf. Avolio, 2007 ; Osborn, Hunt, & Jauch, 2002 ), we explore the elite sport context because previous work has concluded that “the way individuals are led and managed will become an increasingly important factor
Joseph O.C. Coyne, Sophia Nimphius, Robert U. Newton and G. Gregory Haff
also an international basketball squad and professional club TL data may be different due to different competitive schedules. Considering the nature of international elite sport and different coaching/training styles, it is very likely different sports and data sets within the same sport will possess