Category Archives: Journal Paper

New Publication

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva:
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva:


Dr Caroline Heaney and Dr Nichola Kentzer have recently published an article in Case Studies In Sport and Exercise Psychology titled ‘A Case Study Investigation Into a Group Online Sport Psychology Support Intervention for Injured Athletes’. The article explored the impact of an online sport psychology support hub on a group of sixteen injured athletes. The online hub moderated by a sport psychologist, provided sport psychology support through:

  • 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.


A screenshot of the abstract for the paper. The abstract can be read at the link above in the post.

New Publication

Sport and Fitness PhD researcher, Lorna Sams, and supervisors Dr Ben Langdown, Professor Joan Simons, Dr Jitka Vseteckova have recently had Open Access Systematic Literature Review published. The paper titled “The effect of percussive therapy on musculoskeletal performance and experiences of pain: a systematic literature review” has been published in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy and is receiving a lot of attention from practitioners and online publications. Check out the infographic and YouTube summaries below that have referenced the paper:

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.

Congratulations to Lorna and her co-authors!

Sams, L., Langdown, B. L., Simons, J. and Vseteckova, J. (2023) ‘The effect of percussive therapy on musculoskeletal performance and experiences of pain: A systematic literature review’, International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, Int J Sports Phys Ther, vol. 18, no. 2 [Online]. DOI: 10.26603/001C.73795

New Publication

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.

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.

Congratulations to Nichola and the wider team!

New Publication

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 paper, titled ‘An investigation into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon golfers’ strength and conditioning and golf practice’ has been published in the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching.

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).


New Publication

Steph Doehler of #TeamOUSport has recently had a paper published which focuses on the public perception of athlete mental health. The paper titled, ‘Role Model or Quitter? Social Media’s Response to Simone Biles at Tokyo 2020’ has been published in the International Journal of Sport Communication.

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.

Steph has previously presented the findings from this research at the Center for Sociocultural Sport and Olympic Research Annual Conference at California State University, Fullerton.

Congratulations to Steph!

Doehler, Steph (2022). Role Model or Quitter? Social Media’s Response to Simone Biles at Tokyo 2020. International Journal of Sport Communication (Early access).


New Publication

Dr Ben Langdown of #TeamOUsport, has recently had another of his PhD chapters accepted as a journal paper. The paper, titled ‘The Influence of an 8-Week Strength and Corrective Exercise Intervention on the Overhead Deep Squat and Golf Swing Kinematics’ has been published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

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).

New Publication

Quest for Freedom!

Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies

Dr Helen Owton has published an article providing an insight into the embodied and sensorial experiences of motorcycling through a series of vignettes. Helen’s research focused on ‘bringing the body back in’ via a phenomenologically inspired approach, exploring how ‘tests of experience’ can cultivate a sensuous self by sharpening awareness of all the senses. Motorcycling requires a sharpening of senses, meticulous preparation, and swift recovery following setbacks. There may be risks attached to pursue ‘tests of experiences’, but new adventures and unique experiences can cultivate joy, fulfilment, enhance confidence and resilience, and provide an opportunity to grow and expand one’s sense of self.

To read the full article, please click here and to read Helen’s OU blog on the ‘Thrill of Motorcycling’. 

Congratulations to Helen!

New Publication

Dr Nichola Kentzer and OU colleagues Dr Jo Horne, Dr Jitka Vseteckova and Dr Joe De Lappe, have had another systematic review published examining the prevalence of physical activity among informal carers, this time with an international perspective. This follows Nichola’s previous paper examining the physical activity behaviours of informal carers in the United Kingdom. The team of colleagues from the UK, Italy and Turkey, completed the review along with a separate international review examining the barriers and facilitators to physical activity in informal carers which has just been submitted. Watch this space!

Congratulations to Nichola and her co-authors!

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 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!