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Kitrina Douglas and David Carless

The dominant narrative within the literature on elite sport is characterised by a total focus on performance. Scholars in other areas have noted how although alternatives to the dominant narrative exist they are often silenced and fail to reach the public domain. Drawing on interviews with seven women professional tournament golfers, we explored the narratives women use to make sense of their experiences in elite sport. We present three narratives which illustrate the existence of alternatives to the dominant performance narrative among Europe’s most outstanding women golfers. Two alternatives are identified: a discovery narrative and a relational narrative. These findings suggest that diverse routes to success are possible in women’s professional sport. We discuss the educational and social implications of the alternative narratives in an effort to encourage discussion and debate among athletes, administrators, coaches, sports psychologists, and educators.

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Karen P. DePauw

Physical activity and sport are integral aspects of the human life-cycle of girls and women including girls and women with disabilities. Girls and women with disabilities actively seek physical activity and have become increasingly more visible and active participants in sport opportunities ranging from organized physical activity programs to recreational pursuits and elite sport competitions. To date, the researchers have focused on the influence of sport (and physical activity) upon girls and women with disabilities, thereby leaving the influence of girls and women with disabilities on sport as a social institution as a new frontier for critical feminist analysis.

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Brendon Tagg

Transgender people are increasingly tolerated, and sometimes even actively celebrated, within contemporary Western popular culture. However, despite the broader political movement against gender-based discrimination, transgender people’s participation in élite sport remains contentious. Although American transgender professional tennis player Renee Richards drew attention to transgender athletes as early as the mid-1970s, even major sports organizations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) struggle to formulate fair and consistent gender policies. This article discusses the specific case of transgender players in men’s netball in New Zealand, a somewhat uniquely gendered sport, as a means of understanding emerging issues surrounding transgender athletes’ participation in sport more broadly.

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Ina Garthe and Ronald J. Maughan

In elite sport, where opponents are evenly matched, small factors can determine the outcome of sporting contests. Not all athletes know the value of making wise nutrition choices, but anything that might give a competitive edge, including dietary supplements, can seem attractive. Between 40% and 100% of athletes typically use supplements, depending on the type of sport, level of competition, and the definition of supplements. However, unless the athlete has a nutrient deficiency, supplementation may not improve performance and may have a detrimental effect on both performance and health. Dietary supplements are classified as a subcategory of food, so manufacturers are not required to provide evidence of product safety and efficacy, nor obtain approval from regulatory bodies before marketing supplements. This creates the potential for health risks, and serious adverse effects have been reported from the use of some dietary supplements. Athletes who compete in sports under an anti-doping code must also realize that supplement use exposes them to a risk of ingesting banned substances or precursors of prohibited substances. Government systems of regulations do not include specific laboratory testing for banned substances according to the WADA list, so a separate regulatory framework to evaluate supplements for their risk of provoking a failed doping test is needed. In the high-performance culture typical of elite sport, athletes may use supplements regardless of possible risks. A discussion around medical, physiological, cultural, and ethical questions may be warranted to ensure that the athlete has the information needed to make an informed choice.

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Ben Jackson, Peter Knapp and Mark R. Beauchamp

Drawing from Lent and Lopez’s (2002) “tripartite” model of relational efficacy, the overall purpose of this study was to examine antecedents and consequences of self-effcacy, other-efficacy, and relation-inferred self-efficacy (RISE) within six international-level athlete dyads. Semistructured interviews were conducted and data were content analyzed using deductive and inductive procedures. Sources of efficacy emerged in relation to perceptions regarding (i) oneself, (ii) one’s partner, (iii) the dyad/relationship, and (iv) external factors. Results also revealed the emergence of a number of salient intrapersonal and interpersonal outcomes, incorporating cognitive, affective, as well as behavioral consequences. Implications for theory development and future research are considered, and applied propositions are discussed with regard to effective relationship management in elite sport.

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Lawrence R. Brawley, Albert V. Carron and W. Neil Widmeyer

Gross and Martin (1952), and Escovar and Sim (1974), proposed group resistance to disruption (GRD) as an alternative conception of cohesion, but the GRD/cohesion relationship has not been empirically examined. In Study 1, this relationship was examined using an extreme-groups design. It was a priori predicted that elite athletes perceiving high team cohesion would also perceive high GRD. The prediction was supported for three of four aspects of cohesion assessed by the Group Environment Questionnaire. Study 2 methodologically extended Study 1 and examined the GRD/cohesion relationship comparatively across physical activity groups. Elite sport, recreational sport, and fitness class groups were assessed. Participants extreme in GRD were predicted on the basis of their cohesion scores. Results indicated that the form and extent of the GRD/cohesion relationship was moderated by group type. In both studies, group task cohesion was positively related to GRD for all samples. The studies represent the first demonstration of this important but neglected relationship.

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Tara K. Scanlan, Paul J. Carpenter, Marci Lobel and Jeffery P. Simons

The positive emotion of enjoyment has been shown to be an important ingredient to motivation in youth and elite sport. This article first summarizes the progress made to date in developing and measuring the enjoyment construct, and in understanding its sources and motivational consequences. Then a field study is presented that focuses on sources of enjoyment in a large youth sample (N=1,342) that is diverse image, ethnicity, and gender. Factor analytic and multiple regression techniques were used to determine categories and predictors of sport enjoyment. The significant sources of enjoyment for these participants were greater effort and mastery, positive team interactions and support, and positive coach support and satisfaction with the players’ seasonal performance. These findings accounted for 47% of the variance in sport enjoyment and shed light on the predictors of this important affect for a diverse group of athletes.

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Louise M. Burke and David B. Pyne

Bicarbonate loading is a popular ergogenic aid used primarily by athletes in short-duration, high-intensity sporting events and competitions. Controlled experimental trials have shown that small (worthwhile) benefits can obtained from acute doses of bicarbonate taken before exercise. Gastrointestinal problems encountered by some athletes limit the widespread use of this practice, however. The transfer of positive research findings to the competitive environment has proved problematic for some individuals. More recent applications involve serial ingestion of bicarbonate over several days before competition or during high-intensity training sessions over a few weeks. A number of research questions need to be addressed to enhance applications of bicarbonate loading in the elite sport environment. This commentary examines some of research and practical issues of bicarbonate loading used to enhance both training and competitive performance.

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Peter A. Hastie and John E. Saunders

The concept of academic work has been developed as a means of examining the curriculum used in classrooms. Tousignant’s study of secondary school physical education classes was the first to apply this concept to teaching physical education. This paper reports on a study that examined the program in action in a junior elite-sport setting (a state-level volleyball squad). The conceptualization of instructional, managerial, and transitional task systems developed in physical education classes was found to be relevant in this setting. In addition, a further task system, the match-play task system, was identified. A subset of the instructional task system identified as role-specific instructional tasks also emerged. The paper concludes that similar task systems operate in physical education and coaching and that the concept of accountability is important in understanding both teaching and coaching processes.

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Josh Ogden and Jonathon R. Edwards

Organizations in a sport system compete against one another while working together to sustain a competitive environment and to provide opportunities for competition at the provincial/state, national, or international level. This paper is a multicase study comparison of the elite sport development systems of Canada and Sweden to explore the differences and similarities between their approaches to the delivery of ice hockey. Semistructured interviews took place with participants from North America and Europe. Additional data came from media articles from Canada and Sweden. Findings revealed six themes/characteristics: the cost of hockey, residential boundaries, the player selection process, skill development, early specialization, and coaching. The results suggest that Canadian and Swedish hockey systems offer two different approaches to elite player development (closed vs. open systems), resulting in different trajectories regarding international success in the World Junior Championships and in the number of players drafted into the National Hockey League.