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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.

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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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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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David Fletcher and Sheldon Hanton

This study extends recent research investigating organizational stress in elite sport. Fourteen international performers (7 men and 7 women) from a wide range of sports were interviewed with regard to potential sources of organizational stress. Consistent with Woodman and Hardy’s (2001a) theoretical framework of organizational stress in sport, four main categories were examined: environmental issues, personal issues, leadership issues, and team issues. The main environmental issues that emerged were selection, finances, training environment, accommodation, travel, and competition environment. The main personal issues were nutrition, injury, and goals and expectations. The main leadership issues were coaches and coaching styles. The main team issues were team atmosphere, support network, roles, and communication. The findings are discussed in relation to previous research and in terms of their implications for sport organizations and personnel working with elite performers.

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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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Zoe Knowles, Jonathan Katz and David Gilbourne

This paper examines reflective practice by illustrating and commenting upon aspects of an elite sport psychology practitioner’s reflective processes. Extracts from a practitioner’s reflective diary, maintained during attendance at a major sporting event, focused upon issues that relate to on-going relationships and communication with fellow practitioners and athletes. Authors one and three offered subsequent comment on these accounts to facilitate movement toward critical reflection via an intrapersonal process creating considerations for the practitioners with regard to skills and personal development. These issues are discussed in relation to pragmatic topics such as “staged” and “layered” reflection encouraged by author collaboration and shared writing within the present paper. We argue these outcomes against more philosophical/opaque considerations such as the progression of critical reflection and critical social science.

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Caroline Giroux, Giuseppe Rabita, Didier Chollet and Gaël Guilhem

Performance during human movements is highly related to force and velocity muscle capacities. Those capacities are highly developed in elite athletes practicing power-oriented sports. However, it is still unclear whether the balance between their force and velocity-generating capacities constitutes an optimal profile. In this study, we aimed to determine the effect of elite sport background on the force–velocity relationship in the squat jump, and evaluate the level of optimization of these profiles. Ninetyfive elite athletes in cycling, fencing, taekwondo, and athletic sprinting, and 15 control participants performed squat jumps in 7 loading conditions (range: 0%–60% of the maximal load they were able to lift). Theoretical maximal power (Pm), force (F 0), and velocity (v 0) were determined from the individual force–velocity relationships. Optimal profiles were assessed by calculating the optimal force (F 0th) and velocity (v 0th). Athletic sprinters and cyclists produced greater force than the other groups (P < .05). F 0 was significantly lower than F 0th, and v 0 was significantly higher than v 0th for female fencers and control participants, and for male athletics sprinters, fencers, and taekwondo practitioners (P < .05). Our study shows that the chronic practice of an activity leads to differently balanced force–velocity profiles. Moreover, the differences between measured and optimal force–velocity profiles raise potential sources of performance improvement in elite athletes.

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Randy C. Battochio, Robert J. Schinke, Danny L. Battochio, Wayne Halliwell and Gershon Tenenbaum

Through adaptation studies in elite sport, researchers can delineate the strategies that amateur and professional athletes employ during career transitions (e.g., promotion, relocation). Fiske (2004) identified five core motives as catalysts to adaptation: understanding, controlling, self-enhancement, belonging, and trusting, which were recently contextualized in sport as a result of one archival study examining the second hand experiences of National Hockey League (NHL) players. The purpose of the present study was to learn about the adaptation process of NHL players based on a first hand data source (i.e., semi-structured interview). A semi-structured open-ended interview guide was utilized to learn about the experiences of four groups of NHL players (n = 11): prospects (n = 3), rookies (n = 3), veterans (n = 2), and retirees (n = 3). There is an indication that adaptation strategies and sub-strategies vary according to the player’s career stage and the challenges related to seeking and maintaining a roster spot. The findings are also consistent with Fiske’s five core motives and earlier adaptation sub-strategies, in addition to uncovering three novel sub-strategies (i.e., understanding one’s performance, distraction control, and trusting player agents). Implications and recommendations are provided for sport researchers and practitioners.

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Nils Haller, Tobias Ehlert, Sebastian Schmidt, David Ochmann, Björn Sterzing, Franz Grus and Perikles Simon

Purpose: Player monitoring in elite sport settings is becoming increasingly important. Questionnaire-based methods and biomarkers such as circulating, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) are suggested for load monitoring. cfDNA concentrations were shown to increase depending on total distance covered in football and were associated with overtraining in weight lifters. Thus, the objective of this study was to examine whether cfDNA is feasible as a monitoring tool in elite football players. Methods: Capillary blood samples from 22 male elite football players were collected over 4 mo of a regular season. Sampling was conducted the day before, 1 day after, or several days after regular-season games and/or training. In addition, each player filled in a visual analogue scale (VAS) questionnaire including the items “general perceived exertion,” “muscular fatigue,” and “mental fatigue.” Performance during training and games was tracked by the Catapult system and with the OPTA system, respectively. Results: cfDNA values were significantly elevated in players the day after regular-season games (1.4-fold; P = .0004) in line with the scores of the VAS. Both parameters showed significantly higher values during midweek-game weeks. cfDNA concentrations correlated with training data, and VAS was correlated with the tracking of the season games. However, cfDNA and VAS did not correlate with each other. Conclusions: cfDNA concentrations at rest and VAS scores are influenced by previous load in professional football players. Future studies will reveal whether cfDNA might serve as a practically applicable marker for player load in football players.