Category Archives: Research

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).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/17479541221140016

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).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsc.2022-0143

New Book Chapters

Dr Ben Langdown, a senior lecturer with #TeamOUsport was invited to contribute three chapters to a new Routledge book called ‘Strength and Conditioning for Golf: A Guide for Coaches and Players’. Ben’s applied strength and conditioning work with the West Midlands England Golf Under 18 Regional Squads provided inspiration and experience for his chapter on ‘The Junior Golfer’. Here he discusses the considerations needed for training junior golfers and some common misconceptions around strength and conditioning in this cohort.

Click on the image to see full contents page:

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.

Congratulations to Ben and his co-author Jack!

New Book Chapter

One of the #TeamOUsport lecturers, Dr Jim Lusted, recently contributed a chapter to a book collection titled ‘Community Sport Coaching: Policies and Practice’, edited by Ben Ives, Paul Potrac, Laura Gale and Lee Nelson published by Routledge. His chapter is called ‘Coaching Ethnically Diverse Participants: ‘Race’, Racism and Anti-Racist Practice in Community Sport’.

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.

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). https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000004254

Research Conference – Presentation Accepted

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.

Woman Writing on a Notebook Beside Teacup and Tablet Computer · Free Stock Photo (pexels.com)

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.

More information about the conference is available here: Teaching and Learning Conference 2022: Teaching in the spotlight: Where next for enhancing student success? | Advance HE (advance-he.ac.uk)

Congratulations on the presentation acceptance, Jane!

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!

Research conference presentation

In November 2021, Sport and Fitness AL and Staff Tutor Steph Doehler presented findings from her publication on the media framing of Colin Kaepernick at the European Communication Research and Education Association’s Media, Sport, and Diversity conference. The online event hosted by Aarhus University in Denmark was attended by scholars from across Europe and included several presentations on sports communication and journalism. Steph’s research centred on how the American press responded to Kaepernick’s sustained activism during the 2016 NFL season, and compared this with their response to him in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020.

 

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 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