PhD News

Many congratulations to Sport and Fitness Senior Lecturer, Jessica Pinchbeck for recently passing her PhD viva with just minor modifications.

A summary of Jess’s PhD thesis:

“It’s more than just playing a sport”. A socio-cultural analysis of participation in netball across the lifespan.

This thesis followed the journey of a small sample of women from one netball club located in the East of England to provide an insightful analysis into their childhood experiences of sport, exploring the extent to which this may have shaped their adult participation and the complexities of this connection. The study was conducted from an interpretivist perspective and used an ethnographic approach to examine how the women think and act in different situations, and how this develops over time as a result of previous experiences. These women and their experiences are not viewed in isolation but examined and studied in the wider context and alongside relationships in which their sports experiences have been socially constructed. Bourdieu’s (1984) theory of practice examines the extent to which social processes influence the behaviours, tastes, and judgements of individuals. This approach provides a valuable theoretical lens through which to view the sociocultural context of the women’s historical childhood experiences of sports participation alongside their current sports participation.

Findings show support for the formation of a habitus towards sports participation developed throughout childhood which has endured into adulthood. The women’s habitus persists as a significant influence on their lives, demonstrated in the drive and passion to negotiate their netball participation, which can sometimes cause friction and tension in the women’s relationships. Subtle changes are evident in the behaviour and dispositions of the women as they enter different stages of their lives and also as their skill level in the sport increases. Habitus, developed throughout their childhood, influences the women’s tastes and socialises them into ways of behaving, however, their behaviour is also shaped and influenced by social structures. This study provides a unique connection of past and present to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of female sports participation.

Jess has completed her PhD part time alongside her full-time roll with the OU Sport and Fitness team. She was supervised by Dr Sam Murphy, Dr Martin Toms and Dr Alex Twitchen.

Congratulations to Dr Pinchbeck and all her supervisors!

New Honorary Associate

We are delighted to introduce Dr Kieran Kingston as a new Honorary Associate within the Sport and Fitness research group. As well as being an AL since 2019 on the Sport, Fitness and Coaching degree, Kieran’s has a wealth of experience in Sports Performance Psychology research and applied practice. His research publications will be affiliated to the group. Welcome, Kieran!

Professional biography

Kieran Kingston is an established academic and business consultant who, after serving his time as a full-time academic until 2017, has continued to be involved with teaching, research/writing and PhD supervision. In addition to his AL role with the OU, and temporary contracts, his most recent role was Senior Research Fellow at University of South Wales, where he had responsibility for several PhD students. Kieran gained his PhD in performance psychology in 1999. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has provided consultancy services to team and individual athletes, coaches, and NGBs, and has more recently extended this work to small businesses.

Research Interests

Kieran’s research interests have broadly focused on social-cognitive approaches to understanding motivation. Most recently, he has looked at the influence of coaching/leader behaviour and the psychological environments these create on performance, cognitions, and well-being in sport and other contexts (e.g., injury rehabilitation, education, and business). He also has a keen interest on the psychology of golf, and recently served as the invited editor (psychology) for the first International Handbook of Golf Science (2019).

Selected Publications

  • Kingston, K., Wixey, D., & Cropley, B. (2021). Motivation in coaching: Promoting adaptive psychological outcomes. In Z. Zenko & L. Jones (Eds.) Essentials of exercise and sport psychology: An open access textbook (pp. 999–999). Society for the Transparency, Openness, and Replication in Kinesiology.
  • Kingston, K., Jenkins, D., & Kingston, G. (2021). Promoting adherence to rehabilitation through supporting patient wellbeing: A self-determination perspective. In Z. Zenko & L. Jones (Eds.) Essentials of exercise and sport psychology: An open access textbook (pp. 999–999). Society for the Transparency, Openness, and Replication in Kinesiology.
  • Kingston, K., Wixey, D, & Morgan, K.  (2020). Monitoring the Climate: Exploring the Psychological Environment in an Elite Soccer Academy. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 32, 3, pp. 297-314. https://doi.org/10.1080/10413200.2018.1481466
  • Pates, J. & Kingston, K. (2020). Reflections on a long-term consultancy relationship; Challenging the beliefs of an elite golfer. Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4,1, pp. 117-124. https://doi.org/10.1123/cssep.2020-0008
  • Wixey, D., Ryom, K., & Kingston, K., (2020). “Case Studies From Elite Youth Soccer: Reflections on Talent Development Practices”. International Sport Coaching Journal. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1123/iscj.2019-0005
  • Pates, J. & Kingston, K. (2019) Consultancy Under Pressure: Intervening in the “Here and Now” With an Elite Golfer. Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology, 4, 1 pp. 32-39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1123/cssep.2019-0030
  • Markati, A., Psychountaki, M., Kingston, K., Karteroliotis, K. & Apostolidis, N. (2019). Psychological and situational determinants of burnout in adolescent athletes. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology: Vol. 17, 5, pp. 521-536.

New Publication

Sport and Fitness AL and Staff Tutor, Steph Doehler has recently published an article in the open access journal – Sport in Society. The article, titled ‘Taking the star-spangled knee: the media framing of Colin Kaepernick’ analyses the newspaper coverage of Kaepernick’s protest and builds on the understanding of media framing towards an individual’s protest and the consequences they face.

 

To read the full article, please click here.

Congratulations to Steph!

Doehler, S. (2021). “Taking the star-spangled knee: the media framing of Colin Kaepernick”. Sport in Society, DOI: 10.1080/17430437.2021.1970138

New Honorary Associate

We are delighted to introduce Dr John Bradley as a new Honorary Associate within the Sport and Fitness research group. John’s research and publications will be affiliated to the group and he is already working on collaborative projects with members of the team. Welcome, John!

Professional biography

John is an associate lecturer with the OU, currently working with E236: Applying sport and exercise sciences to coaching, and SK299: Human Biology. He has previously held a number of academic and applied sport science positions including lecturer in Exercise Physiology and Coaching Science at University College Cork in Ireland, and Exercise Physiologist with the Scottish Institute of Sport. John has a PhD in the field of Exercise Physiology from Glasgow University, with a thesis titled: Lactate production and the redox state of muscle.

Research Interests

Part of John’s research looks at factors influencing athlete performance, and then using this to create informed conditioning programmes. He has recently analysed the injury risk factors of athletes participating in swimming and then used this information to develop an informed conditioning programmes based upon these risk factors. He is now looking to continue this research in swimming and extend it to include a range of other sports such as golf and tennis.

Another area of research interest is the role of sport and non-sport extracurricular activities on academic achievement. This can perhaps be partly summarised by the Healthy Mind, Healthy Body concept, but also including non-sport activities as well. This has resulted in the development of a dual step transfer model to explain the enhancement of school academic achievement from participation in a range of extracurricular activities.

Other activities

John volunteers as a coach with a local swimming club and enjoys a range of water sports himself, including swimming, kayaking and canoeing.

Selected Publications

New PhD student

We are excited to introduce Lorna Mackay, one of our new PhD student within the Sport and Fitness research group. Lorna is studying part time with us alongside her personal training. Lorna’s research into the use of percussive therapy to improve perceptions of chronic non-specific musculoskeletal pain in strength and conditioning settings will be supervised by Dr Ben Langdown, Dr Joan Simons and Dr Jitka Vseteckova.  Welcome, Lorna!

Professional biography

Lorna Mackay runs her own business as a personal trainer and Zumba instructor. Her specialist interest lies in the management of chronic pain through the participation in exercise. She is a strong believer in both the physiological and psychological benefits of exercise.

Research interests

Lorna holds a MSc in Sport an Exercise Science; her research considered the effect of Zumba® and ZumbaGold® on non-specific, pre-existing musculoskeletal pain. Lorna’s PhD research is building on her previous work by investigating the effect of integrating percussive therapy into warm ups of strength and conditioning programmes, to improve perceptions of chronic non-specific musculoskeletal pain in knees, lumbar spine and shoulders.

Other activities

When Lorna isn’t in the gym or studying, she is out walking her dog in the local countryside.

New Book Chapter

Back in 2017, the ICSPE Symposium on ‘Physical Activity and Sport: Understanding the First Ten Years’ took place in Germany and was well attended by many international presenters and delegates.

As part of the planned follow-up to the symposium, a Routledge book titled ‘Physical Activity and Sport During the First Ten Years of Life‘ has been published and Dr Ben Langdown was invited to contribute a chapter on ‘Developing a movement culture in the first 10 years’ (Chapter 14).

The chapter focuses on stimulating young people towards physical activity and sport, explores the evidence underpinning fundamental movement skill (FMS) development, their role in physical literacy and how to observe, analyse and develop movement. The chapter provides an applied focus on best practice in primary education settings to support children towards sustained participation within a positive movement culture.

The book will be available from April 2021.

Congratulations to Ben!

New Publication

Dr Nichola Kentzer, along with Associate Lecturer (E235), Jo Horne, recently published an article in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. The article was a systematic review examining UK based research on informal carers and their physical activity levels. More detail on the review can be found in this OU Sport and Fitness Blog post, written by lead author Jo.

The authors, from The Open University and Anglia Ruskin University, are currently undertaking further reviews examining international literature on the same topic.

Congratulations to Nichola, Joanne and their co-authors!

 

New Book Publication

 

A new edited collection titled Race’, Ethnicity and Racism in Sports Coaching has recently been published by Routledge and co-edited by Dr Jim Lusted, Lecturer in Sport & Fitness in ECYS.

In collaboration with Dr Steven Bradbury from Loughborough University and Dr Jacco Van Sterkenburg from Erasmus University (Rotterdam, Holland), the book brings together leading academics from around the world in the first collection dedicated to exploring issues of ‘race’ and racism in a sport coaching setting.

This topical and timely collection is arranged into three sections, addressing the central topics of representation and racialised barriers in sports coaching; racialised identities, diversity, and intersectionality in sports coaching; and formalised racial equality interventions in sports coaching.

To mark the book launch, an online forum (video and podcast formats) was recently recorded with some of the authors to discuss the similarities and differences in the experiences of minoritised coaches, consider the effectiveness of racial equality interventions in sports coaching and explore what can be done to increase the diversity of sport coaches across the world.

The authors hope the recommendations for practice outlined in the book will be utilised by key stakeholders and practitioners to help embed the principles and practice of racial equality, diversity, and inclusion within sports coaching contexts globally.

Congratulations to Jim and the co-editors!

New Publication

One of our new postgraduate students, Lucy Moore, recently published a commentary article in the International Journal of Sports Policy and Politics.

Her article argues that there needs to be a re-orientation of approaches towards understanding policy design and implementation in high-performance sport.  Existing approaches tend to view sports organisations as though they somehow make and implement policy. This ignores the interactions and networks of interdependent people who work within, on and for governing organisations. It is these people who make and implement policy not ‘organisations’.

Consequently, there is an opportunity to propose an alternative approach. Lucy argued that drawing on the work of social theorist Norbert Elias’, and in particular his concept of figurations and associated ‘Game Models’, an alternative perspective to policy making in UK high-performance sport can be developed.

Lucy is now embarking on data collection and we look forward to seeing how her research develops in the future.

Congratulations Lucy!

New Publication and Training Model

Dr Nichola Kentzer recently contributed to the 2019 Winter edition of Research Intelligence from the British Educational Research Association (BERA) with an article featuring a model that was developed as part of her PhD research.

 

The mentoring model conceptualised in Nichola’s research has subsequently been used to good effect by supporting the development of the supervisor training resources for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) new Sport and Exercise Psychology Accreditation Route (SEPAR) launched in January 2020.

The use of Nichola’s mentoring process in the BASES SEPAR supervisor model has been a key part of structuring the supervisor training. Collaborating with training lead Dr Hayley McEwan from the University of West Scotland, Nichola wrote and delivered the second compulsory training module focusing on the use of observation in the supervision process.

 

On the back of this work, the two colleagues have recently published an article in The Sport and Exercise Scientist (Summer 2020), outlining how their approach to supervising BASES SEPAR trainees could be used across the other sport science disciplines.

 

Congratulations to Dr Nichola Kentzer and her collaborators on the success of this high profile project.

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