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Glenna G. Bower and Mary A. Hums

The purpose of this study was to explore the reasons for mentoring women to advance within leadership positions as international physical educators. The study focused on the following within international physical education departments: (a) individual reasons for mentoring women, (b) organizational factors that inhibit or facilitate the ability to mentor women, (c) protégé characteristics that attract mentors to women protégés, and (d) outcomes associated with mentoring women. A phenomenological research design was chosen to examine the mentoring relationship. A group of women from a wide variety of colleges and universities were con at the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women (IAPESGW) conference (N = 5). The primary means of collecting data were in-depth interviews. A constant comparative analysis was used throughout the study. The study provided valuable information for mentors wanting to find ways to successfully mentor women to advance within leadership positions as interna academic physical educators.

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Daniel Gould, Susan A. Jackson and Laura M. Finch

This study was designed to better understand the positive and negative aspects of being a national champion athlete, to uncover difficulties encountered in defending a championship title, and to solicit recommendations for achieving and maintaining national champion status. Seventeen U.S. national champion figure skaters who held titles between 1985 and 1990 participated in in-depth interviews. A number of positive and negative experiences were identified. Difficulties encountered in defending a championship were associated with increased expectations and responsibilities, a shift in motivational orientation from chasing to being chased where arousal was increased and interpreted negatively, and athletic injuries and the stress related to those injuries. Recommendations focused on such things as not being afraid to grow and take risks, filtering feedback and advice, not falling into the trap of feeling one has to be perfect, and seeking and utilizing social support.

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Christopher L. Stevenson

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.

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Ted M. Butryn

This paper examines the cyborg identities of 7 elite track and field athletes using a paradigmatic analysis of narratives (Polkinghorne, 1995, 1997). Following a discussion of philosophical and cultural studies conceptualizations of technology, and a brief overview of various types of sport technologies, I present several themes that emerged through an analysis of the collection of stories told by participants during in-depth interviews. In general, while participants engaged with a range of technologies, their stories dealt predominately with the tensions within world-class athletics between modernist notions of the “natural” body and postmodern conceptualizations of corporeality. The paper concludes with comments about the ongoing politics of sporting cyborg bodies and the increasing relevance of cyborg theory to critical sport studies work.

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Sherri Grasmuck

This article examines the factors behind a story of racial accommodation in an unlikely space, one formerly renowned for racial violence and exclusion. The space of boys’ baseball provides an opportunity to understand how class and racial changes in a formerly White, working-class neighborhood of Philadelphia, unfolded over a 30-year period. With gentrification, came new class and racial encounters on the local baseball field. The author’s research included participation as a “bench Mom” over a decade, 2 years of ethnographic fieldwork involving observations of more than 100 games in two boys’ age divisions, and 40 in-depth interviews with coaches and parents of players. Factors identified as central to the smooth racial integration of the space are the centrality of baseball to neighborhood “character,” a demographic shortage of White neighborhood children, the “racial sponsorship” of the first Black middle-class children, a growing external accountability toward new Black politicians, and the unique character of baseball itself.

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Pirkko Markula

This article explores the application of Michel Foucault’s technologies of the self—practices of freedom that are characterized by ethics of self-care, critical awareness, and aesthetic self-stylization. Foucault’s argument states that the technologies of self can act as practices of freedom from disciplinary, discursive body practices. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this study examines the intersections of Foucault’s theory with commercial fitness practices to identify possibilities for changing the dominant, feminine body discourse. The focus is on fitness practices collectively defined as mindful fitness and specifically one hybrid mindfulfitness form that combines Pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi with western strength training. Through in-depth interviews with the instructors of this hybrid form, this study analyzes the possibilities for mindful fitness to act as a practice of freedom by detailing what can be meant by critically aware, self-stylized fitness professionals for whom ethical care of the self translates to ethical care of the others.

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Ken Hodge, Graham Henry and Wayne Smith

This case study focused on the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during the period from 2004 to 2011, when Graham Henry (head coach) and Wayne Smith (assistant coach) coached and managed the team. More specifically, this case study examined the motivational climate created by this coaching group that culminated in winning the Rugby World Cup in 2011. In-depth interviews were completed with Henry and Smith in March 2012. A collaborative thematic content analysis revealed eight themes, regarding motivational issues and the motivational climate for the 2004–2011 All Blacks team: (i) critical turning point, (ii) flexible and evolving, (iii) dual-management model, (iv) “Better People Make Better All Blacks,” (v) responsibility, (vi) leadership, (vii) expectation of excellence, and (viii) team cohesion. These findings are discussed in light of autonomy-supportive coaching, emotionally intelligent coaching, and transformational leadership. Finally, practical recommendations are offered for coaches of elite sports teams.

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Patricia S. Miller and Gretchen A. Kerr

This study examined the role experimentation of university student athletes using in-depth interviews. The results revealed participants’ role experimentation was limited to three spheres: athletic, academic, and social. Participants’ exploration of and commitment to roles revealed a two-stage model of identity formation. The first stage, Over-Identification with the Athlete Role, revealed a singular focus on athletics that persisted throughout much of the participants’ university careers. The second stage, Deferred Role Experimentation, reflected an increased investment in academic and social roles in the participants’ upper years. Results were consistent with previous findings of an athletic identity among intercollegiate student-athletes (Brewer, Van Raalte, & Linder, 1993), but supported Perna, Zaichkowsky, and Bocknek’s (1996) suggestion that identity foreclosure may have been overgeneralized.

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Ken Hodge and Wayne Smith

This case study focused on pressure, stereotype threat, choking, and the coping experiences of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during the period from 2004-2011 leading into their success at the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC). Employing a narrative approach this case study examined public expectation, pressure, and coach-led coping strategies designed to “avoid the choke” by the All Blacks team. An in-depth interview was completed with one of the All Blacks’ coaches and analyzed via collaborative thematic analysis (Riessman, 2008). In addition multiple secondary data sources (e.g., coach & player autobiographies; media interviews) were analyzed via holistic-content analysis (Lieblich et al., 1998). Collectively these analyses revealed five key themes: public expectation and pressure, learning from 2007 RWC, coping with RWC pressure, decision-making under pressure, and avoiding the choke. Practical recommendations are offered for team sport coaches with respect to coping with pressure and avoiding choking.

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Natan Uriely, Abraham Mehrez, Michael Bar-Eli and Assaf Mena

The current study examines two recent developments in the production of soccer coverage in the Israeli media: (a) the introduction of “intellectuals” and soccer “jocks” to the soccer commentators’ booth, and (b) the debate about soccer commentary that has followed this trend. These developments are delineated from the perspective of the commentators themselves through in-depth interviews and a systematic survey of their statements in the media. The interpretations offered of the commentators’ accounts are multidimensional and draw on theories of postmodernity, social relations of power, and professional systems. While the engagement of these paraprofessional journalists in soccer commentating is seen to exemplify postmodern processes of de-differentiation, the debate about soccer commentary is also seen to reflect on the commentators’ class and professional background.