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James E. Johnson, Chrysostomos Giannoulakis and Beau F. Scott

( Wong, 1994 ). Among the most important functions of state associations is to ensure that participants are provided with fair and equal opportunities during competition ( Blackburn, Forsyth, Olson, & Whitehead, 2013 ). This concept, known as competitive balance, constitutes a complex and controversial

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Timothy Baghurst, Anthony Parish and George Denny

The purpose of this study was to determine reasons women become competitive amateur bodybuilders. Participants were 63 adult female competitive bodybuilders who posted their biographies on a bodybuilding website. Each statement explaining why participants became bodybuilders was classified by a panel of current female bodybuilders into one of six categories. The most frequently stated category was Emulation (27%), followed by Self Esteem and Empowerment (24%), Previous Participation in Sport (22%), Health (17%), and Other (10%). These findings suggest that motivators for competitive female amateur bodybuilding stem from multiple sources, but in general are similar to those of their male counterparts. Future avenues for research are discussed.

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Donald W. Hastings, Suzanne B. Kurth and Judy Meyer

Using a convenience sample of 299 Masters swimmers, we examined the timing of youthful and adult phases of competitive swimming careers. Gender similarities and differences in the ages of youthful entry and exits and of adult resumption were identified. The ages associated with phases of swimming careers corresponded with age norms for participation in nonsport careers (educational, occupational, and familial) for males and married females.

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Christy Greenleaf

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.

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David P. Johns, Koenraad J. Lindner and Karen Wolko

Two components of Gould’s (1987) model for attrition in youth sport appear to lend themselves to sociological analysis and were adopted as theoretical concepts of social exchange theory (Homans, 1961). The constructs were tested and the role of injury was assessed through a questionnaire completed by 76 former female competitive club gymnasts and through semistructured interviews with 10 of these dropouts. Three major findings resulted, with only partial support for the model. The former gymnasts appeared to have a positive perception of their competence as athletes and indicated that the withdrawal had provided them with the desired time for the pursuit of other leisure activities such as hobbies, being with friends and, for the older dropouts, shopping. Injury, even though it was the second most frequent reason for withdrawal, was not seen as a primary cause. The subsumation of achievement and competence as components of social exchange theory provided a plausible framework for the interpretation of the data which demonstrated that the attraction of alternative status cultures was the strongest factor underlying withdrawal.

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Martin M. Perline and G. Clayton Stoldt

The purpose of this paper was to measure the change in competitive balance for women’s basketball as a conference merges and changes its membership. Specifically, we surveyed the changes in competitive balance as the Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference was merged into the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). While competitive balance may not have been the primary reason for the merger, it tended to increase fan interest and was, therefore, considered desirable by member institutions. Three measures of competitive balance were used, producing mixed results. However, there was arguably a more competitive balance after the merger, because there tended to be more predictably perennial winners and losers in the Gateway than the MVC.

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Dana K. Voelker and Justine J. Reel

figure skating culture that socializes them to desire changing their body weight, shape, size, or appearance to meet performance expectations. In a qualitative interview study, female competitive skaters described immense pressure to meet narrow, often unattainable, and inflexible body ideals. These

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Diane E. Taub and Rose Ann Benson

Since most research on eating disorders among athletes has focused on college-age samples, the present investigation examines the adolescent competitive swimmer. Three areas related to weight and eating habits were explored: general concerns about weight, use of weight control techniques, and tendencies toward anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and associated behavioral/personal characteristics. Previous research has found females to be at greater risk than males, thus gender comparisons were undertaken. Questionnaires were completed by 85 adolescent competitive swimmers attending a nationally known summer swim camp at a large midwestern university. Consistent with the cultural norm of thinness for women, young female swimmers desired weight loss more than their male counterparts did. In terms of actual pathogenic weight control techniques or eating disorder tendencies, however, few significant gender differences were found. Neither male nor female adolescent swimmers were particularly susceptible to eating disorders or pathogenic weight control techniques.

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Konstantinos Koukouris

Disengagement from sport is examined from a phenomenological perspective. This perspective permits committed adult athletes to explain in their own time and their own words why they ceased participating in formally organized competitive sport. Thirty-four former advanced and elite athletes were interviewed. The constructed case study method provides the opportunity to examine causal relationships among all factors leading to disengagement from sport, and follows a “holistic” method of analyzing interviews (cognitive mapping). Former athletes identified the problem of settling into a job and financial constraints as the primary factors influencing their disengagement from sport. Most athletes left sport voluntarily and experienced elements of rebirth rather than social death.

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Maithe Cardoso de Araújo and Kathrin A.M. Mießen

The aim of this study was to investigate the evolution of competitiveness in elite women’s soccer, comparing the goal difference mean between the first FIFA Women’s World Cup (W1991) and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 (W2011), twenty years later. Analogous Men’s World Cups (M1990 and M2010) and the first one (M1930) were analyzed for comparative purposes. A total of 192 matches were taken into account and their final result was obtained through official match reports. The overall goal difference (GD) was 1.6, with GD of one occurring 44.3%. Percentage of matches finished with a GD of more than three was 30.7% in W1991 and only 6.3% in W2011. Mean of GD in W2011 was significantly lower than in W1991 (1.38 ± 1.10 vs. 2.81 ± 1.96, U = 226.0, z = -3.085, p = .002), while between M1990 and M2010 it did not differ statistically (1.21 ± 1.05 vs. 1.23 ± 1.23, U = 1639.5, z = -0.146, p = .884). In contrast to the comparisons to W1991, differences between W2011 and M2010 as well as M1990 were not significant. However, GD in W2011 was significantly lower than in the M1930. The results demonstrated that elite women’s soccer has shown a notorious development with regard to the competitiveness, approaching the status already achieved by men. This fast progress represents new challenges for the sports sciences and football associations.