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Karen Collins and Russell Medbery

The coach-athlete relationship is an important determinant in creating a healthy sport environment. Educating coaches is a critical component of cultivating a positive coach-athlete relationship. It is through systematic coaching education programs that positive coaching skills are learned (Smith & Smoll, 1997). It is equally important to accurately assess current needs and demands of state high school coaching education programs. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to systematically assess the current state of coaching education. This needs assessment included descriptions of athletic departments, funding, quality, type, and content of coaching education programs, as well as the level of satisfaction with the current coaching education delivery system. The needs assessment was conducted via a survey that was mailed to every athletic director in the state of New Hampshire. There was a 49% (n = 46) return rate after two follow-up reminders. Results were organized in four categories: financial overview, sport organizational structure, coaching education requirements, and coaching education curriculum content. Overall, results indicated: a clear need to re-evaluate the New Hampshire state requirements for coaching education; how the requirements are met; the content of state coaching education,; and how coaching education is supported financially.

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Trent A. Petrie, Christy Greenleaf, Jennifer E. Carter and Justine J. Reel

Few studies have been conducted examining male athletes and eating disorders, even though the sport environment may increase their risk. Thus, little information exists regarding the relationship of putative risk factors to eating disorders in this group. To address this issue, we examined the relationship of eating disorder classification to the risk factors of body image concerns (including drive for muscularity), negative affect, weight pressures, and disordered eating behaviors. Male college athletes (N= 199) from three different NCAA Division I universities participated. Only two athletes were classified with an eating disorder, though 33 (16.6%) and 164 (82.4%), respectively, were categorized as symptomatic and asymptomatic. Multivariate analyses revealed that eating disorder classification was unrelated to the majority of the risk factors, although the eating disorder group (i.e., clinical and symptomatic) did report greater fear of becoming fat, more weight pressures from TV and from magazines, and higher levels of stress than the asymptomatic athletes. In addition, the eating disorder group had higher scores on the Bulimia Test-Revised (Thelen, Mintz, & Vander Wal, 1996), which validated the Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnosis (Mintz, O’Halloran, Mulholland, & Schneider, 1997) as a measure of eating disorders with male athletes. These findings suggest that variables that have been supported as risk factors among women in general, and female athletes in particular, may not apply as strongly, or at all, to male athletes.

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Don Vinson, Kelvin Beeching, Michelle Morgan and Gareth Jones

Sports coaches’ commonly have a limited appreciation of pedagogy (Light & Evans, 2013). Furthermore, investigations concerning coaches’ use of performance analysis for athlete learning are rare (Groom, Cushion, & Nelson, 2011). Complex Learning Theory (CLT) advocates nonlinear and sociocultural educative approaches (Light, 2013). Considering this digital age, the aim of this investigation was to examine coaches’ use of Coach Logic—an online video-based coaching platform. Seven Head Coaches (five rugby union and two field hockey) were interviewed individually whilst their coaching staff and players contributed to group interviews. Results confirmed a priori themes of active, social and interpretive as derived from CLT. Analysis of these findings established that online coaching platforms have the capacity to facilitate the active involvement of athletes in the process of performance analysis. From a social perspective, online coaching platforms have helped to develop a positive team environment and also interpersonal working. Good practice was evident relating to interpretive approaches; however, the potential for coaches to embrace more radical conceptualisations of knowledge acquisition is stark. Online coaching platforms have a place in contemporary team sport environments and can contribute to athlete learning and other important aspects of team culture and cohesion.

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Rebecca A. Zakrajsek, E. Earlynn Lauer and Kimberly J. Bodey

Youth sport has traditionally focused on developing athletes physically, technically, and tactically; however, it is important to consider the purposeful development of mental and emotional sport skills for these competitors. Youth athletes experience various stressors within their sport participation that impact their ability to successfully manage the sport environment. Youth sport coaches have a tremendous influence on their athletes and are in a position to help them develop the necessary skills to effectively confront the stress they experience. In addition, the International Sport Coaching Framework identifies six primary functions of coaches to help “fulfil the core purpose of guiding improvement and development” of youth athletes (International Council for Coaching Excellence, 2013, p. 16). This article outlines the developmental stage considerations for working with youth athletes and a tool coaches can use to integrate mental skills development strategies into sport practices. Utilizing the evidence-based steps within this article fosters a holistic and developmentally appropriate approach to performance enhancement and personal development, as both are important objectives for youth sport coaches.

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Bryan E. Denham

Drawing on data gathered from high-school seniors in the 2008 Monitoring the Future Study of American Youth (N = 2,063), this research examined the explanatory effects of competitive sports participation on alcohol consumption and marijuana use using race and noncompetitive exercise frequency as controls. Among males, competitive sports included baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and weightlifting, and among females, sports included softball, basketball, soccer, swimming and diving, track and field, and volleyball. White males reported greater alcohol consumption than Black and Hispanic respondents, with competitors in baseball, football and weightlifting consuming alcohol more frequently. The use of marijuana did not depend on race, but baseball players and weightlifters reported significantly more use. Among females, race differences did not emerge in ordinal regression models testing effects on alcohol consumption, but participants in every sport reported drinking alcohol more frequently. White female athletes also appeared to smoke marijuana more frequently. Overall, results suggested comparably strong effects for female sport environments while male behaviors varied by race, noncompetitive exercise frequency, and sports competition. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are offered.

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Mark H. Anshel

The purpose of this exploratory study was to ascertain the feelings of black male intercollegiate (Division I) football athletes about racial issues of personal concern as a sport participant. Twenty-six black football players volunteered to participate in the study. Through a structured interview technique, areas that were investigated included the players’ interaction with the (white) head coach, unique behavioral styles and needs of black versus white athletes, the extent to which these needs were recognized and met, and the effect of their sport environment on skilled performance. The subjects reported a general lack of sensitivity on the part of coaches to individual and sociocultural needs of black players. In particular, receiving negative feedback, a paucity of communication in general, and the lack of honesty and trust were the areas about which the subjects felt most strongly. Blacks unequivocally perceived a sense of unfairness, racism, and a general lack of psychological support by white coaches. Implications are given for providing sport psychology counseling to black athletes, especially by white consultants.

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E. Nicole Melton and George B. Cunningham

Sport employees who champion LGBT inclusion efforts represent key elements in creating accepting environments within college athletic departments. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to examine the concept of champions and how they support LGBT individuals within heterosexist sport environments. Drawing from divergent literatures, including that related to organizational inclusion and championing behaviors, we explore how a combination of factors from multiple levels may influence sport employees’ attitude and behaviors related to LGBT inclusion, and determine how supportive behaviors influence sexual minorities working within a college athletic department. Results indicate that various macro- (i.e., culture of sport, athletic boosters, university and community values, exposure to diverse cultures) meso- (organizational culture, presence of other champions), and micro- (demographics, open-mindedness, experiences with sexual minorities) level factors influenced the level of employee support for LGBT inclusive policies. Furthermore, power meaningfully influenced these dynamics, such that employees who did not resemble prototypically sport employees (i.e., White, heterosexual, male) were hesitant to show support for LGBT equality. However, those who did champion LGBT inclusive initiatives successfully modeled supportive behaviors and positive attitudes toward LGBT individuals, vocally opposed discriminatory treatment, and provided sexual minorities with a safe space within sport. The authors discuss implications and future directions.

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Thelma Sternberg Horn and Cynthia A. Hasbrook

Theory and research from the developmental psychology literature Indicate there is a developmental progression in the particular criteria or informational sources children use to evaluate their performance competencies. The present study was designed to test the possibility that certain psychological characteristics (i.e., perceived competence and perceived performance control) may also affect children's preference for the various sources of competence information that are available in the sport environment. Three psychological questionnaires were administered to 229 young soccer athletes to assess the variables of Interest. Multivariate regression and canonical correlation analyses revealed support for the predicted relationships. Children with external perceptions of performance control exhibited a greater preference for external information, while children with high perceived competence and an internal perception of control exhibited greater reliance on self-determined standards of performance and comparison of own performance with that of relevant peers. These results suggest that children differ from each other not only in the magnitude of their perceptions of competence but also in the criteria they use to evaluate that competence.

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Glyn C. Roberts and Debbie Pascuzzi

Previous sport attribution studies have generally asked subjects to make attributions for outcomes to the four elements of ability, effort, luck, and task difficulty. These studies have assumed that these elements are the most important causes of outcomes. The present study tested this assumption. An open-ended questionnaire was given to 349 male and female subjects to determine the causal elements used in sport situations. Results showed that the four traditional elements of ability, effort, luck, and task difficulty were used 45% of the time. However, the theory advocated by Weiner (1974) is based on the dimensions of locus of control and stability, and not on the elements per se. When the responses of subjects were content analyzed for dimensional properties, it was concluded that 100% of the responses could be placed within the four cells of the Weiner model. These results support the applicability of the Weiner achievement behavior model to sport environments, but only when careful analysis of causal attributions is made to determine their dimensional relevance. The evidence suggests that situationally relevant elements be included in addition to the traditional elements of ability, effort, luck, and task difficulty.

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Gretchen Kerr, Anthony Battaglia and Ashley Stirling

The recent, highly publicized cases of maltreatment of athletes have garnered critical attention by the public at large and stakeholders in sport, alike. For many, these cases threaten popular views that sport contributes in important ways to positive youth development. The growing evidence showing that maltreatment occurs to youth sport participants highlights the need for safe, harm-free sport environments as a fundamental prerequisite for positive developments to be reaped. By unpacking the case study of USA Gymnastics and Dr. Larry Nassar’s abuses in this paper, the authors show that for athlete maltreatment to occur and be sustained across so many victims and so many years, more than a perpetrator is needed. The nature of the environment, from the interpersonal level to organizational policies and societal influences, contributes to the occurrence and perpetuation of athlete maltreatment. Using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological-systems model, the authors argue for a systemic approach to preventing and addressing athlete maltreatment. Recommendations are posed for safeguarding youth athletes and fostering the sporting conditions in which positive youth development can occur.