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.

New Publication

Dr Ben Langdown has worked closely with The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) to research the sports science perceptions and practices of high-skilled golfers and future golf coaches. This paper has been accepted for publication in Journal of Sports Sciences (March 2020) and is now available ahead of print: Sports science for golf: A survey of high-skilled golfers’ “perceptions” and “practices”.

This work has been influential on The PGA’s sports science modules on the FdSc in Professional Golf, highlighting some of the common beliefs that still exist and addressing coach education in areas such as: warm-up and cool down protocols, strength and conditioning and use of sports science in applied coaching settings.

Congratulations to Ben and Jack Wells from The PGA!

New Book Chapter

Following on from her recent conference presentation at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Special Interest Group on Mental Health and Well-being in Education, Dr Nichola Kentzer has just had a book chapter published focusing on this same area. The chapter, part of a text focusing broadly on the post compulsory education and training sector, takes a view that well-being for students and staff is of key importance and recognises the valuable role that the sector can play in addressing the mental health of young people and adults. The chapter approaches this important topic by offering case studies, reflective questions and exercises on how to improve mental health and well-being, and suggests a number of tools that may be useful in facilitating well-being outcomes for both students and staff.

Congratulations to Nichola and her co-authors!

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