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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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Michael McDougall, Mark Nesti and David Richardson

The challenges encountered by sport psychologists operating within elite and professional sports teams have arguably been inadequately considered (Nesti, 2010). It has been suggested that this may be due to the inaccessibility of elite team environments (Eubank, Nesti, & Cruickshank, 2014; Nesti, 2010). The purpose of this research was to examine the challenges facing practitioners who operate in elite environments and to illuminate how these were experienced. Qualitative interviews with six experienced applied sport psychologists were conducted and a narrative themed analysis undertaken. Four main themes emerged as most prevalent and meaningful: challenges to congruence, a broader role: managing multiple relationships, the influence of elite sport cultures, and surviving and thriving were presented in narrative form. Practitioners provided experiential insight into how specific challenges were understood and dealt with, and how they are able to provide an effective service while managing themselves and the demands of the environment.

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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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Jasper Truyens, Veerle De Bosscher and Popi Sotiriadou

Research on elite sport policy tends to focus on the policy factors that can influence success. Even though policies drive the management of organizational resources, the organizational capacity of countries in specific sports to allocate resources remains unclear. This paper identifies and evaluates the organizational capacity of five sport systems in athletics (Belgium [separated into Flanders and Wallonia], Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands). Organizational capacity was evaluated using the organizational resources and first-order capabilities framework (Truyens, De Bosscher, Heyndels, & Westerbeek, 2014). Composite indicators and a configuration analysis were used to collect and analyze data from a questionnaire and documents. The participating sport systems demonstrate diverse resource configurations, especially in relation to program centralization, athlete development, and funding prioritization. The findings have implications for high performance managers’ and policy makers’ approach to strategic management and planning for organizational resources in elite sport.

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Mick Green

This article analyzes government and quasigovernmental agencies’ use of “planning dictates” in relationships with national sporting organizations (NSOs) in Canada and national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport in the United Kingdom (UK). Attention is drawn to the asymmetries of power contouring elite sport policy developments in both countries that, though unobservable in an empirical sense, nonetheless warrant investigation. The analysis draws on semistructured, in-depth interviews with key personnel in three Canadian NSOs and three UK NGBs in swimming, athletics, and sailing; senior officials at Sport Canada and UK Sport; and sport-policy analysts and academics. Although Canadian NSOs have been subject to such planning dictates for the past 20 to 30 years, the requirement for UK NGBs to comply in this way have only emerged since the mid-1990s. Accordingly, the article concludes with suggestions for further research in the UK.

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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.