Social support via an online forum where athletes could talk to each other and the sport psychologist about the psychological aspects of their injury.
Written emotional disclosure through weekly diary entries relating to the psychological aspects of their injury that were shared with the sport psychologist.
Education resources aimed at helping the athletes to develop their psychological skills and ability to cope with injury.
The impact of the hub was measured through analysis of the forum posts, diary entries, and responses to an evaluation questionnaire. The athletes reported several positive benefits from using the hub and rated its overall impact highly. For example:
The majority of athletes agreed that participating in the project made them more aware of the psychological impact of their injury, helped them to feel more positive and motivated, and had a positive impact on their sport injury experience.
The majority agreed that the discussion forum was useful and that reading about other athletes’ sport injury experiences was particularly useful e.g., “I think hearing about other athletes’ experiences really helped me feel like I wasn’t alone”.
The athletes found completing a diary a cathartic experience and agreed that it was a useful way to reflect on their thoughts and feelings about being injured.
The education resources were viewed positively by the athletes who unanimously agreed that they were useful materials, and most felt that engaging with the materials had a positive impact on their sport injury rehabilitation.
These findings demonstrate the potential of online delivery as a method to deliver sport psychology support to injured athletes. Online delivery can help overcome some of the barriers to injured athletes accessing sport psychology support (e.g., financial and geographical constraints) and consequently enhance its reach.
Congratulations to Caroline and Nichola!
Heaney, C., & Kentzer, N. (2023). A case study investigation into a group online sport psychology support intervention for injured athletes. Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology, 7(1), 24-32.
The systematic literature review investigates research conducted on the effects of percussive therapy interventions on performance in strength and conditioning settings, and on experiences of musculoskeletal pain.
Conclusions were that percussive therapy delivered by massage guns can help improve acute muscle strength, explosive muscle strength and flexibility, and reduce experiences of musculoskeletal pain.
The literature review highlighted that further research is needed to establish a standard, validated treatment protocol to allow analysis across populations and those with specific performance needs or pain, as well as considering the chronic effects of percussive therapy and the impact of multiple treatments.
Following on from previous publications in the topic area, Dr Nichola Kentzer (and wider team, including S&F tutors Dr Jo Horne and Dr Mike Trott) recently published a systematic review in the International Journal of Care and Caring, exploring the barriers and facilitators to physical activity among informal carers in the international literature. Finding very little research in the area in UK based literature, the international literature offered a more in-depth perspective.
Lindsay, R. K.; Vseteckova, J., Horne, J. Smith, L., Trott, M., De Lappe, J., Soysal, P. Pizzol, D. and Kentzer, N. (2023). Barriers and facilitators to physical activity among informal carers: a systematic review of international literature. International Journal of Care and Caring, 1, pp. 1–29. https://doi.org/10.1332/239788221X16746510534114
As part of this ongoing research, Nichola has authored a further output – an Open Learn course, endorsed by Carers Trust, that educated carers on the benefits of physical activity in the caring role. The course ‘Physical activity for health and wellbeing in the caring role’ continues the work to support carers to access physical activity opportunities appropriate for their needs and has been well received by the caring population, and those who work to support them.
Dr Ben Langdown, Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching with #TeamOUsport, recently had an Open Access paper published for a project that he and his co-author Dr Alex Ehlert ran during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
The COVID-19 restrictions very quickly turned golfers’ routines on their head and forced them to adapt to different practice and training environments and ways of interacting with their strength and conditioning coach. This mixed-methods study surveyed amateur and professional golfers (n = 107), to examine the applied impact of the pandemic on their strength and conditioning, golf practice, tournament engagement, levels of stress and motivation and the impact upon diet and sleep.
The research highlighted that, although training and practice continued to some extent, there were increased levels of stress and disturbed sleep. The lack of equipment reported by over 71% of the participants led to perceptions of reduced physical gains from training during this period where maintaining ‘progressive overload’ was challenging (i.e. with a lack of weights to lift at home). Furthermore, the research highlighted that coming out of lockdown posed a potential for increased risk of injury when normal practice and training resumed. Coaches were advised to monitor workload carefully, especially in future situations similar to the stay-at-home orders (e.g. when golfers are travelling for an extended period with restricted access to training / practice facilities).
This project also involved surveying strength and conditioning coaches during the same period and Ben and Alex hope this will be published soon too.
Congratulations to Ben and his co-author Alex!
Langdown, Ben and Ehlert, Alex (2022). An investigation into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon golfers’ strength and conditioning and golf practice. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching (Early Access).
The study looks at the Facebook narrative surrounding Simone Biles’ withdrawal from several gymnastics events at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Over 87,000 user comments were collected and analysed in total, with the results revealing a polarised public response. This research adds to the expanding body of literature on the framing of athlete mental health and is the first to focus on a female athlete. It reveals two notable findings: first, the public has failed to reach a consensus on athlete mental health, with many believing that athletes should be immune to the strains of competition. Second, while it was not a major theme throughout the narrative, Biles’ gender and race were presented both positively and negatively by social media users, which may not have been the case with male or White athletes.
Ben’s other two chapters, ‘Meeting a Golfer’s Needs’ (focusing on conducting a needs analysis, profiling golfers and coaching considerations) and ‘Warming-up for Golf’ were co-authored with Dr Jack Wells of The Professional Golfers’ Association. Their recent research provided an evidence base to share within both chapters and allowed them to suggest many applied and practical solutions to working with golfers in a strength and conditioning setting.
The book, edited by Alex Bliss, was launched in August 2022 and features contributions from various experts from the world of golf and strength and conditioning.
The chapter explores how issues of ‘race’, ethnicity and racism can influence community sport coaching settings, and proposes some good practice suggestions for coaches working with ethnically diverse participants. It was co-written with Dr Dan Kilvington, an academic researcher with an expertise on racism in sport and Asad Qureshi, a community sports coach with many years’ experience of coaching in ethnically diverse settings. This blend of academic theory and professional practice offers a well-rounded discussion of the key issues that coaches should consider when working with participants from a range of ethnic backgrounds. The chapter proposes the need to develop a form of coaching practice that is explicitly anti-racist in its approach to ensure that all participants are able to feel safe, enjoy and thrive during their sport experiences.
Click on the image to read the abstract:
Jim and his co-authors are currently in discussions with sport organisations to create a range of resources and training to help coaches develop an anti-racist approach to their own coaching practice.
Congratulations to Jim and his co-authors!
Lusted, J., Kilvington, D., & Qureshi, A. (2021). Coaching Ethnically Diverse Participants:‘ Race,’ Racism, and Anti-Racist Practice in Community Sport. In B. Ives et al. (eds) Community Sport Coaching. London: Routledge. Pp. 77-96.
It reports on an intervention study that explored the use of the Overhead Deep Squat (OHS) as a screening tool to predict loss of posture in the golf swing. With much debate in this area, results showed that, while golfers were able to achieve greater depth in the OHS following the intervention, there were no significant changes to posture during the golf swing. This suggests that either there were spurious relationships between the OHS screen and swing positions or that there is an amount of lag time required for the transfer of new ranges of movement/physiological adaptations to the movements used in the golf swing. This may also require extensive coaching or practice to incorporate these adaptations into performance. Ben has previously presented the results at The World Golf Fitness Summit and at various invited keynote presentations / workshops across Europe.
Congratulations to Ben and his co-authors!
Langdown, B.L., Bridge, M.W., Li, F-X. (2022). The Influence of an 8-Week Strength and Corrective Exercise Intervention on the Overhead Deep Squat and Golf Swing Kinematics. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, (online ahead of print). https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000004254
On 6th July 2022 AL Sport and Fitness Staff Tutor Jane Dorrian will be delivering an ‘Ignite’ presentation at the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference being held at Northumbria University in Newcastle.
The focus of the conference is ‘Teaching in the spotlight: Where next for enhancing student success?’ and Jane will be presenting her PRAXIS funded scholarship project titled
‘What is a tutorial? An exploration of ‘learning event literacy’ on student experience’.
The project is looking at issues connected to the fact that all learning events in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport are currently labelled as tutorials on timetables even though their content, organisation and delivery differ widely. Jane is working with the Student Support Team to look at how students find information about what to expect when they attend a tutorial and she is undertaking analysis of a series of tutorials to identify different characteristics that could be used to distinguish them into different categories such as seminars, workshops or lectures. She is also trialling delivery of a different type of learning event, labelled as an assignment surgery on the timetable, to see how students respond to having an alternative type of session.
An introduction to athletic development which orientates a holistic, psychological perspective of the athletic development process.
Social influences on athletic development, which explores the impact of varied social influences (e.g., coach, family, peers, school) on sports participation and performance from a psychological perspective.
Athlete wellbeing, which explores various aspects influencing mental health and welfare as an athlete progresses through their sports career.
The book features contributions from experts in the field including #TeamOUsport central academics Jess Pinchbeck and Candice Lingam-Willgoss and associate lecturers Jo Horne and Iain Greenlees and is a core resource in our new module E312 Athletic Development: A Psychological Perspective.
The book comprises fifteen chapters as outlined below.
Section I: Athletic Development: A Holistic View of the Journey Ben Oakley
What Is Athletic Development? Ben Oakley
How Did We Get Here? Exploring the Evolution of Athletic Development Perspectives Ben Oakley
Transitions on the Athlete Journey: A Holistic Perspective Robert Morris
Retirement from Sport: The Final Transition Candice Lingam-Willgoss
Researching Athletic Development Joanna Horne
Section II: Social Influences on the Athlete’s Journey Nichola Kentzer
Coach-Athlete Relationships: The Role of Ability, Intentions and Integrity Sophia Jowett and Katelynn Slade
Towards Mutual Understanding: Communication and Conflict in Coaching Lauren R. Tufton
Creating an Optimal Motivational Climate for Effective Coaching Iain Greenlees
The Family Behind the Athlete Jessica Pinchbeck
How Does the School Setting Influence Athletic Development? Nichola Kentzer
Section III: Mental Health and Wellbeing on the Athlete’s Journey Caroline Heaney
Understanding Mental Health and Wellbeing in Sport Caroline Heaney
Developing Resilience on the Athlete’s Journey Karen Howells
Thriving in Athletic Development Environments Daniel J Brown
Athlete Welfare for Optimal Athletic Development Daniel J. A. Rhind
Section IV: Conclusions
Effective Athletic Development: Closing Thoughts Ben Oakley, Caroline Heaney, and Nichola Kentzer
Congratulations to Caroline, Nichola and Ben and all the contributing authors!