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Jens De Rycke, Veerle De Bosscher, Hiroaki Funahashi and Popi Sotiriadou

Competition for medals at international stages is increasing, and many nations have adopted strategic approaches toward sporting success. Over time, this commitment has resulted in snowballing amounts of money invested in elite sport 1 development by many nations ( De Bosscher, Shibli, Westerbeek

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Emma C. Neupert, Stewart T. Cotterill and Simon A. Jobson

An effective training-monitoring system (TMS) can positively influence performance through monitoring program effectiveness and reducing the risk of illness or injury. 1 However, successfully implementing a TMS can be problematic in elite sport, with issues relating to end-user buy-in and a

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Astrid Schubring and Ansgar Thiel

Growing up in elite sport represents a challenging project. Young athletes must negotiate a career-defining transitional period while in the midst of adolescence. In this context, notably, the growth process can lead to health problems such as overloading and injuries. In this article, we investigate how adolescent elite athletes cope with problematic growth experiences. Taking a Bourdieusian perspective, we consider coping to be a socioculturally-located practice. Drawing on qualitative interviews and participant observation in German elite sport, our conversational analysis reveals five typical coping strategies among young athletes: (a) distancing, (b) rationalization, (c) active agency, (d) self-disciplining, and (e) responsibility transfer. We reflect on the health-compromising side effects of these strategies as well as the implications for the sporting community’s handling of growth problems.

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Liam J.A. Lenten, Aaron C.T. Smith and Ralph-Christopher Bayer

Performance-enhancing substance(s) (PES) use in elite sport has become so endemic that a global law enforcement body was established by International Olympic Committee (IOC) administrators to monitor its use and prosecute athlete transgressors. As established in 1999, the World Anti-Doping Agency

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Pål Augestad, Nils Asle Bergsgard and Atle Ø. Hansen

In this article, we argue that neoinstitutional theory can increase our understanding of the different ways nations develop structures for top-level sport. Theorists of the neoinstitutional school concentrate on how and to what degree organizations adapt to both formal and informal expectations in their institutional environment. Elite sports organizations participate in different organizational fields, and that pulls the organization in different directions. The empirical case for our discussion is the organization of elite sport in Norway. We will attempt to place elite sport in Norway in an international context by relating its development, structure, and working procedures to the development of corresponding elite sport systems in other Western countries. In addition to striking similarities among various national models for the organization of top-level sport, there are distinguishing national features that result from different cultural and political traditions.

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Matthew J. Smith, David J. Young, Sean G. Figgins and Calum A. Arthur

We examined transformational leadership behaviors are exhibited in an elite sport environment. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 9 professional county cricket players to explore perceptions of transformational leadership behaviors of their captain and head-coach. Behaviors were firstly deductively categorized based on the Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory, with the most frequently cited being high performance expectations and individual consideration from the coach, and appropriate role-modeling of the captain. Further inductive analyses revealed a range of other factors which may influence players’ perceptions of transformational leadership. From these findings, suggestions are offered for those working in an applied context with sporting leaders.

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Corinne Reid, Evan Stewart and Greg Thorne

Elite sport is following in the footsteps of other human service industries with the flurried development of multidisciplinary support teams. It is increasingly common for elite level teams to have several assistant coaches, team doctors (and medical specialist network), physiotherapists, physiologists, rehabilitation trainers, psychologists, and even more recently ACE (Athlete Career and Education) officers. While the potential for comprehensive athlete servicing is obvious, the potential for working at cross-purposes has also become apparent. This paper will reflect on the authors’ experiences of developing multidisciplinary sport science teams at the elite sporting level. Systems Theory is used as a framework for considering some of the pitfalls and challenges that confront “off-field teams” in facilitating excellence in sporting performance.

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Christopher L. Stevenson

One underreported issue in the research on Christian athletes has been the difficulties these athletes experience in living with the demands and expectations of the dominant culture of elite, competitive sport. Data were derived from in-depth interviews with 31 elite athletes (23 males and 8 females), who were also professing Christians and associated with the evangelical organization, Athletes-in-Action. The athletes reported that it was by turning to or returning to an evangelical Christian faith that they were better able to cope with their problems and with the demands of the culture of elite, competitive sport. Discussion of these findings included a consideration of Coakley’s (1994) model “of conflict, doubt, and resolution,” which attempts to represent the conflicts experienced by Christian athletes in elite sport, and the approaches they take to assuage these conflicts.

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Carolina Lundqvist and Fredrik Sandin

This study examined subjective (SWB), psychological (PWB) and social well-being (Social WB) at a global and sport contextual level among ten elite orienteers (6 women and 4 men, median age = 20.4, range 18–30) by employing semistructured interviews. Athletes described SWB as an interplay of satisfaction with life, sport experiences and perceived health combined with experienced enjoyment and happiness in both ordinary life and sport. SWB and PWB interacted, and important psychological functioning among the elite athletes included, among other things, abilities to adopt value-driven behaviors, be part of functional relationships, and to self-regulate one’s autonomy. The ability to organize and combine ordinary life with elite sport, and the use of strategies to protect the self during setbacks was also emphasized. For a comprehensive theoretical understanding of well-being applicable to elite athletes, the need for a holistic view considering both global and sport-specific aspects of WB is discussed.

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Lars Tore Ronglan

The purpose of this study was to examine the production and regaining of collective efficacy within an elite sport team during a season. The fieldwork was possible because the author was an assistant coach on a women’s handball team participating in the World Championships and the Olympics. Acting as a participant observer during 1 year, the author observed efficacy-building processes from within the team. The fieldwork was supplemented by 17 qualitative interviews after the season. The study showed that production of collective efficacy was an interpersonal process, brought about by perceptions of previous performances, interpretations of team history, preparations for the upcoming contest, common rituals, and persuasive actions. When the team was confronted with failures, however, team-efficacy beliefs were vulnerable and needed constant reinforcement.