The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the ways women with physical disabilities shape their identities and manage (i.e., cope or come to terms with) their disabilities while living in an able-bodyist culture. Particular emphasis was placed on how these women, all of whom were participating in sport or exercise, used physical activity in the management process. In-depth interviews were conducted with 34 women who had physical mobility disabilities. Findings indicated three different approaches to managing disability via physical activity: (a) management by minimizing the significance of the body, (b) management by normalization of the body, and (c) management by optimizing mind-body functioning. They also indicated that having a disability does not preclude positive physical and global self-perceptions. The implications of these findings for sport and society are discussed.
Sharon R. Guthrie and Shirley Castelnuovo
Jennifer K. Wesely
Bodybuilding is a body technology that involves the building of muscle through hard work lifting weights. Although technologies like bodybuilding can reify dominant constructions of gender. I suggest that bodybuilding also reflects the attempts of participants to be active agents in the choices they make about their bodies. This article addresses the body as a work in progress and uses in-depth interviews with male and female bodybuilders to examine the ways that gender identity is consistently negotiated as participants reshape their bodies. This ongoing identity negotiation is reflected in the ways participants assess various body technologies, like bodybuilding, muscle-enhancing drugs, and cosmetic surgery as natural or unnatural. Based on the responses, I explore the idea of a natural/unnatural continuum as a framework for understanding the ways that the participants fluctuate in their assessments of hugely built and other technologized bodies.
Emily A. Roper, Douglas J. Molnar and Craig A. Wrisberg
In the sport, physical activity, and aging literature, much attention has been given to the importance of physical activity and sport involvement for the elderly. Most of the literature, however, has focused on the continuity of physical activity among older adults. The purpose of this study was to extend the understanding of older sport participants by conducting a case study of Max Springer, a male, White master runner (88 years old). We assumed that continuity in sport would represent a primary adaptive strategy for coping with the aging process. In addition to two in-depth interviews with Max, the authors interviewed various other “participants” regarding their perceptions of Max as an older runner. From deductive analysis of the interview material, the following themes emerged as figural to Max’s experience as an older runner: tradition of always being physically active, I’m not an athlete, being of senior age, meaning and philosophy of running, and significance of social support.
Tania Pizzari, Helen McBurney, Nicholas F. Taylor and Julian A. Feller
To investigate the subjective experience of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rehabilitation and identify variables that influence adherence as perceived by ACL-reconstructed patients.
A qualitative study using in-depth interviews to gather data and thematic coding to analyze findings.
Participants were interviewed at home or in their workplace.
Eleven patients were interviewed at an average of 4.8 months (SD = 0.8) after ACL reconstruction.
Using thematic coding of the interview data, 3 categories of variables influencing adherence emerged: environmental factors, physical factors, and psychological factors. Variables specifically affecting adherence to home exercise were perceived lack of time and a lack of self-motivation. Fear of reinjury emerged as a significant consideration for those who were nonadherent. Factors such as therapist support, the rehabilitation clinic, and the progression of exercises were identified as being important for attendance at physiotherapy appointments and adherence during appointments.
Brian T. Gearity, Bettina Callary and Phillip Fulmer
The purpose of this study was to explore former NCAA FBS National Champion football coach Phillip Fulmer’s biography to understand how his knowledge and practices were learned from various sociocultural experiences. The participant, Phillip Fulmer, former head football coach of the University of Tennessee (UT; 1992–2008), participated in multiple sports as a youth, played football at UT, and coached for over 30 years. A qualitative case study design with in-depth interviews was used to understand his experiences and developmental path as he learned to coach. The findings reveal four key developmental stages: athlete, graduate assistant, assistant coach, and head coach. Fulmer’s earliest learning experiences would later guide his coaching beliefs, values, and actions.
Leadership is often formalized within sport through captaincy, but researchers have yet to examine the realities of captaincy at the highest level of professional competition. The current study examined the benefits, pressures, and challenges of leadership and captaincy in the National Hockey League (NHL). One captain of an NHL team participated in two in-depth interviews, providing thorough descriptions of his first-hand experiences as an NHL captain, including (a) the techniques he uses to manage his media obligations, (b) his role as a communication bridge between players and coaches, (c) the composition of his leadership group, and (d) examples of interactions that occur during player-only meetings. The transition to captaincy was considered an especially challenging and pressure-filled period. Practical implications for sport psychology consultants are discussed in terms of how they can assist captains of elite competitive teams in setting realistic expectations for their leadership role.
Shaun E. Edmonds and Susan G. Zieff
In recent years, individuals who do not conform to healthist body shape and weight norms are the target of an increasingly fervent moral panic about “obesity” (Gard & Wright, 2005). As a subculture within the gay male community (Wright, 1997a), the “Bear” community offers a site for examining biopolitical resistance to the pervasive body ideals (and associated fat stigma) embedded within, and perpetuated by, mainstream gay values. Utilizing in-depth interviews and participant observation, this study explores the ways in which Bears negotiate physical activity and body image within the ostensibly fat-positive Bear community. In analyzing the stories and spaces of the Bear community, I find diverse experiences that reveal a complex relationship between sexuality, body image, and engagement in physical activity.
Regina Bloot and Jennifer Browne
This paper focuses on reasons why so few females hold head of department positions in physical education in government secondary schools in Western Australia. Despite the almost equitable proportion of females and males teaching the subject, and the absence of Ministry of Education policy constraints on female promotion since 1972, women held only 5 (7%) of the 70 substantive head of department appointments in 1991. In-depth interviews were conducted with 27 female physical education teachers to document their career experiences and aspirations. Analysis revealed that constraints on the promotion of females were based primarily on stereotypic attitudes and expectations regarding gender roles, and comprised systemic, attitudinal, and internalized barriers. It is proposed that social settings from studentship, through teacher education, to the teaching environment could play a crucial role in shaping and nurturing the career decisions and aspirations of female teachers.
Peter Olusoga and Göran Kenttä
This study investigated how the experiences of two elite coaches contributed to and shaped their stories of burnout and withdrawal from high performance coaching. The coaches whose narratives we explore were both middle-aged head coaches, one in a major team sport at the highest club level, and one in an individual Olympic sport at international level. Through a thematic narrative analysis, based on in-depth interviews, the stories of the two coaches are presented in four distinct sections: antecedents, experiences of coaching with burnout symptoms, withdrawal from sport, and the process of recovery and personal growth. These narratives have implications for high performance coaching, such as the importance of role clarity, work-home inference, counseling, mentoring, and social support as means to facilitate recovery, and the need for additional research with coaches who have left sport, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the complete burnout-recovery process.
The purposes of this exploratory study were to examine athletic body image and social body image among former competitive female athletes. Additionally, the perceived influence of past competitive experiences on current body image was explored. In-depth interviews were conducted with six former competitive collegiate athletes. The participants ranged in age from 23 to 31, with a mean age of 26. Common factors reported as influencing how participants felt about their bodies as athletes included uniforms, teammates, appearance, fitness, and coach attitudes and behaviors. Participants’ experiences and feelings about their bodies in athletic and social settings varied. Participants recognized some conflict between their athletic body and social ideals, however this incongruence did not seem problematic for most of the participants. Across participants, their current feelings and thoughts about their bodies were based on their former competitive athletic bodies.