The Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences has a strong and energetic research culture. In the RAE2008, a proportion of the Department’s research was considered to be “world-leading” and other esteem indicator scores designated 70% of staff submitted to the Sports-Related studies Unit of Assessment as being “ internationally excellent” or “world leading”. Its research activity can be divided into two distinct groups – Sociology of Sport and Exercise and Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences – which focus on advancing knowledge through high quality research that is of benefit to numerous recipients as a consequence of its impact on the exercising and sporting populations, society, public policy, culture and quality of life. Staff and postgraduate research is positively developed in an energetic environment which provides the opportunity to disseminate and discuss research through Department research seminars. This facilitates an interdisciplinary approach to a number of research questions which have evolved from identified real life problems.

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  • Importance of GNSS data quality assessment with novel control criteria in professional soccer match- play

    Shergill, Aman S.; Twist, Craig; Highton, Jamie; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2021-07-06)
    This study assessed the quality of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal during professional football match-play in different stadia with the application of a novel Data Quality Control Criteria (DQCC). DQCC was applied to GPS-files from match-play, derived using 10 Hz GNSS devices for 27 professional soccer players across a season to assess external load measures accounting for poor positioning quality (%) and horizontal dilution of precision. Performances were categorised on playing position as Wide or Central to assess proximity to stand cover on GNSS signal quality. An average reduction in total distance (11.2%), high-speed running distance (6.4%), sprint distance (7.0%), accelerations (10.3%) and decelerations (10.0%) (all P <0.01) was observed upon DQCC application. In worst cases, 90% of an external variable was affected by poor quality signal. Signal quality was worse for wide positioned players than centrally positioned (positioning quality 2.6% lower (P <0.01)), resulting in a larger reduction of external variables upon DQCC application. Large stands in football stadia affect the data quality of GNSS and is exacerbated for players positioned closer to stand cover. Viewing only data with acceptable Position Quality and HDOP meaningfully reduces measured external loads, which has implications for the application of match data.
  • Effect of varying recovery intensities on power outputs during severe intensity intervals in trained cyclists during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Chorley, Alan; Lamb, Kevin; University of Chester
    Purpose: The study aimed to investigate the effects of different recovery intensities on the power outputs of repeated severe intensity intervals and the implications for W′ reconstitution in trained cyclists. Methods: 18 trained cyclists (FTP 258.0 ± 42.7 W; weekly training 8.6 ± 1.7 h∙week-1) familiar with interval training, use of the Zwift® platform throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and previously established FTP (95% of mean power output from a 20-min test), performed 5 x 3-min severe intensity efforts interspersed with 2-min recoveries. Recovery intensities were: 50 W (LOW), 50% of functional threshold power (MOD), and self-selected power output (SELF). Results: Whilst power outputs declined as the session progressed, mean power outputs during the severe intervals across the conditions were not different to each other (LOW 300.1 ± 48.1 W; MOD: 296.9 ± 50.4 W; SELF: 298.8 ± 53.3 W) despite the different recovery conditions. Mean power outputs of the self-selected recovery periods were 121.7 ± 26.2 W. However, intensity varied during the self-selected recovery periods, with values in the last 15-s being greater than the first 15-s (p <0.001) and decreasing throughout the session (128.7 ± 25.4 W to 113.9 ± 29.3 W). Conclusions: Reducing recovery intensities below 50% of FTP failed to enhance subsequent severe intensity intervals, suggesting a lower limit for optimal W′ reconstitution had been reached. As self-selected recoveries were seen to adapt in order to maintain the severe intensity power output as the session progressed, adopting such a strategy might be preferential for interval training sessions.
  • Perfectionism among young female competitive Irish dancers: prevalence and relationship with injury responses

    Pentith, Rebecca; Moss, Samantha; Lamb, Kevin; Edwards, Carmel; University of Chester (J. Michael Ryan Publishing, 2021-03-29)
    This study investigated the prevalence of perfectionism among young female competitive Irish dancers and examined the relationships between perfectionistic tendencies and coping strategies used when experiencing injury. Sixty-eight female dancers (Mean age: 14 ± 2.3 years) completed the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire and provided a record of injuries incurred during their championship careers. Participants reported 189 injuries, mostly involving the lower extremities. Seventy-nine percent of dancers reported perfectionistic tendencies (mixed perfectionism 40%, pure self-oriented perfectionism 29%, pure socially prescribed perfectionism 10%), and most frequently adopted “planful problemsolving,” “seeking social support,” “distancing,” and “self-controlling” strategies to cope with injury. Perfectionism and two coping strategies were found to be significantly related (p = 0.03); “planful problem-solving” was typically used “quite a bit or a great deal” by the mixed perfectionism group, but only “somewhat” by the non-perfectionism group, whereas “confrontive coping” was typically not used by the non-perfectionism group but was used “somewhat” by the mixed perfectionism group. Given the presence of such a large degree of perfectionism and the simultaneous employment of problem- and emotion-focused strategies when coping with injuries, it is suggested that medical practitioners acknowledge such tendencies when supporting their dancers in order to reduce the likelihood of negative psychological impact.
  • Sport, Children, and Socialization

    Green, Ken; Wheeler, Sharon; Foss Johansen, Patrick; University of Chester; Wrexham Glynd?r University; Inland University of Applied Sciences (Oxford University Press, 2022-11-21)
    This chapter explores what is meant by ‘socialization’ as well as some of the key aspects of sports socialization (such as the long-standing problematic of the process of socialization into sport, the impact of socio-economic divisions on socialization, and the relationship between socialization and lifelong participation). It also examines the main approaches to understanding socialization into sport and some of the main debates (such as the growing involvement of parents in the sporting socialization of children). All-in-all, there is now a substantial body of evidence that the foundations for lifelong participation in sport are usually laid in childhood and youth in family contexts. Participation is unlikely to endure into and through adulthood unless foundations have been laid in childhood in the family.
  • ‘Not to judge by the looks but you can tell by the looks!’ Physical capital as symbolic capital in the individualization of health among young Norwegians

    Green, Ken; Roset, Linda; Tjomsland, Hege; Cale, Lorraine; Sigurjonsson, Thorsteinn; Thurston, Miranda; University of Chester; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences; Western Norway University of Applied Sciences; Loughborough University; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (Taylor and Francis, 2022-12-28)
    In this paper we explore how 15–16-year-old Norwegians experience social and cultural norms that shape their relationship with health and physical activity (PA) in a country where participation in PA is normative, in the sense that it is not only a widely shared practice but, in having significant cultural traction, is commonly understood as a ‘normal’ part of Norwegian daily life. The study draws upon qualitative data generated from 31 focus groups involving 148 10th graders (15–16-year-olds) in eight secondary schools in Norway. A key finding was that health was primarily viewed as synonymous with physical health and physical health as closely related to PA. A symbolic marker for physical condition – and, by extension, physical health – was physical appearance and ‘looks’ (in other words, physical attractiveness), revolving around gender normative bodily ‘shape’. In this vein, the youngsters tended towards individualistic views of health – seeing health as a responsibility that lay largely in their hands. We argue that the significance of growing up and living in a wealthy, social democratic nation-state, with high living standards and high social and cultural expectations, can have profound implications for youngsters’ perceptions of health and PA, the impact of neoliberalism notwithstanding.
  • Home‐based care nurses' lived experiences and perceived competency needs: A phenomenological study

    Rusli, Khairul Dzakirin Bin; orcid: 0000-0002-8096-0006; Ong, Shu Fen; orcid: 0000-0001-9179-1968; Speed, Shaun; orcid: 0000-0002-6133-7622; Seah, Betsy; orcid: 0000-0002-6048-2190; McKenna, Lisa; orcid: 0000-0002-0437-6449; Lau, Ying; orcid: 0000-0002-8289-3441; Liaw, Sok Ying; orcid: 0000-0002-8326-4049 (Wiley, 2022-05-31)
  • Scholar, gentleman and player: a tribute to Eric Dunning

    Malcolm, Dominic; Waddington, Ivan; Loughborough University; University of Chester (Informa UK Limited, 2020-09-14)
  • Alchemy: Brian Clough & Peter Taylor at Hartlepools United

    Hull, Christopher; University of Chester
    Boxing Day 1962: Sunderland’s star striker Brian Clough suffers a career-ending knee injury when he collides with an outrushing goalkeeper. After a forlorn battle to regain fitness, he retires early and sinks into deep despair. October 1965: Clough persuades ex-Middlesbrough teammate Peter Taylor to join him in managing perennial North-East strugglers Hartlepools United, lying next to bottom of the Fourth Division. A magical football odyssey has begun. Alchemy reveals the bittersweet reality of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor’s first management job together. Lower-league Hartlepools United are penniless, with a meddling chairman, a ramshackle ground and want-away players. Yet the management pair tackle every challenge head-on, forging a winning blueprint that later transforms unfashionable Derby County and Nottingham Forest into League and European Cup champions. Exploiting a wealth of archive newspapers, plus interviews with those present at the creation, Alchemy exposes the humble origins of Clough & Taylor’s meteoric rise to the top of the football tree.
  • The physiological, perceptual and neuromuscular responses of team sport athletes to a running and cycling high intensity interval training session

    Twist, Craig; Bott, Richard; Highton, Jamie; University of Chester (Springer, 2022-10-07)
    Purpose: The acute physiological, perceptual and neuromuscular responses to volume-matched running and cycling high intensity interval training (HIIT) were studied in team sport athletes. Methods: In a randomized cross-over design, 11 male team sport players completed 3 x 6 min (with 5 min between sets) repeated efforts of 15 s exercising at 120% speed (s"V" ̇O2max) or power (p"V" ̇O2max) at VO2max followed by 15 s passive recovery on a treadmill or cycle ergometer, respectively. Results: Absolute mean "V" ̇O2 (ES [95%CI] = 1.46 [0.47-2.34], p < 0.001) and heart rate (ES [95%CI] = 1.53 [0.53-2.41], p = 0.001) were higher in running than cycling HIIT. Total time at >90% VO2max during the HIIT was higher for running compared to cycling (ES [95%CI] = 1.21 [0.26-2.07], p = 0.015). Overall differential RPE (dRPE) (ES [95%CI] = 0.55 [-0.32-1.38], p = 0.094) and legs dRPE (ES [95%CI] = -0.65 [-1.48-0.23], p = 0.111) were similar whereas breathing dRPE (ES [95%CI] = 1.01 [0.08-1.85], p = 0.012) was higher for running. Maximal isometric knee extension force was unchanged after running (ES [95%CI] = -0.04 [-0.80-0.8], p = 0.726) compared to a moderate reduction after cycling (ES [95%CI] = -1.17 [-2.02- -0.22], p = 0.001). Conclusion: Cycling HIIT in team sport athletes is unlikely to meet the requirements for improving run-specific metabolic adaptation but might offer a greater lower limb neuromuscular load.
  • Quantifying the hip-ankle synergy in short-term maximal cycling

    Burnie, Louise; Barratt, Paul; Davids, Keith; Worsfold, Paul; Wheat, Jon; Northumbria University; Sheffield Hallam University; English Institute of Sport; BAE Systems Digital; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2022-08-24)
    Simulation studies have demonstrated that the hip and ankle joints form a task-specific synergy during the downstroke in maximal cycling to enable the power produced by the hip extensor muscles to be transferred to the crank. The existence of the hip-ankle synergy has not been investigated experimentally. Therefore, we sought to apply a modified vector coding technique to quantify the strength of the hip-ankle moment synergy in the downstroke during short-term maximal cycling at a pedalling rate of 135 rpm. Twelve track sprint cyclists performed 3 × 4 s seated sprints at 135 rpm, interspersed with 2 × 4 s seated sprints at 60 rpm on an isokinetic ergometer. Data from the 60 rpm sprints were not analysed in this study. Joint moments were calculated via inverse dynamics, using pedal forces and limb kinematics. The hip-ankle moment synergy was quantified using a modified vector coding method. Results showed, for 28.8% of the downstroke the hip and ankle moments were in-phase, demonstrating the hip and ankle joints tend to work in synergy in the downstroke, providing some support findings from simulation studies of cycling. At a pedalling rate of 135 rpm the hip-phase was most frequent (42.5%) significantly differing from the in- (P = 0.044), anti- (P < 0.001), and ankle-phases (P = 0.004), demonstrating hip-dominant action. We believe this method shows promise to answer research questions on the relative strength of the hip-ankle synergy between different cycling conditions (e.g., power output and pedalling rates).
  • Are you lookin’ at me? A mixed-methods case study to investigate the influence of coaches’ presence on performance testing outcomes in male academy rugby league players

    Richardson, Ben; Dobbin, Nick; White, Christopher; Bloyce, Daniel; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; York St John University; Manchester Metropolitan University; Wrexham Glyndwr University; University of Chester (Sage Publications, 2022-09-21)
    The study used a mixed-methods approach to examine how the presence of coaches influenced male academy rugby league players’ performance during physical performance testing. Fifteen male rugby players completed two trials of 20 m sprint, countermovement jump and prone Yo-Yo test; one with only the lead researcher present and a second where the lead researcher conducted the battery with both the club’s lead S&C coach, academy manager, and the first team assistant and head coach present. Players and coaches then completed one-to-one semi-structured interviews to explore their beliefs, attitudes and opinions towards physical performance testing. In all tests, the players’ performance was better when the coaches were present compared to when this was conducted by the sport scientist alone. Interviews revealed performance testing was used by coaches to exercise their power over players to socialise them into a desired culture. Players’ own power was evident through additional effort during testing when coaches were present. Practitioners should ensure consistency in the presence of significant observers during performance testing of male rugby players to minimise their influence on test outcome.
  • Individual and situational factors affecting the movement characteristics and internal responses to Touch match-play during an international tournament.

    Dobbin, Nick; Thorpe, Cari; Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; Manchester Metropolitan University; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2022-08-03)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of individual and situational factors on the movement characteristics and internal responses of players to an international Touch tournament. Using 47 International Touch players (25 men and 22 women), the associations between the movement characteristics and internal responses with individual (sprint, glycolytic test, Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 [Yo-Yo IR1], jump performance and wellbeing) and situational (sex, squad, position, competition day, points scored/conceded, result, and opposition rank) factors were examined using linear mixed modelling. Yo-Yo IR1 distance was associated with all movement characteristics and internal responses (r=-0.29 to 0.37), whilst sprint and glycolytic times only influenced mean heart rate (HRmean) (r=0.15) and high-speed distance (r=0.10), respectively. Sex influenced high-speed distance (r=-0.41), whilst squad was associated with playing time and HRmean (r=-0.10-0.33). Other associations included: playing position with all movement characteristics (r=-0.67-0.81); points conceded with relative distance (r=-0.14); winning with high metabolic power and session RPE (r=-0.07-0.09), and opposition rank with HRmean and RPE (r=0.11-0.35). Individual and situational factors can influence the movement characteristics and internal responses to Touch and should be considered when developing the characteristics of players and interpreting responses to match-play.
  • The effects of prehabilitation on body composition in patients undergoing multimodal therapy for esophageal cancer

    Halliday, Laura J; Boshier, Piers R; Doganay, Emre; Wynter-Blyth, Venetia; Buckley, John P.; Moorthy, Krishna (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2022-07-07)
    Summary Prehabilitation aims to optimize a patient’s functional capacity in preparation for surgery. Esophageal cancer patients have a high incidence of sarcopenia and commonly undergo neoadjuvant therapy, which is associated with loss of muscle mass. This study examines the effects of prehabilitation on body composition during neoadjuvant therapy in esophageal cancer patients. In this cohort study, changes in body composition were compared between esophageal cancer patients who participated in prehabilitation during neoadjuvant therapy and controls who did not receive prehabilitation. Assessment of body composition was performed from CT images acquired at the time of diagnosis and after neoadjuvant therapy. Fifty-one prehabilitation patients and 28 control patients were identified. There was a significantly greater fall in skeletal muscle index (SMI) in the control group compared with the prehabilitation patients (Δ SMI mean difference = −2.2 cm2/m2, 95% CI –4.3 to −0.1, p=0.038). Within the prehabilitation cohort, there was a smaller decline in SMI in patients with ≥75% adherence to exercise in comparison to those with lower adherence (Δ SMI mean difference = −3.2, 95% CI –6.0 to −0.5, P = 0.023). A greater decrease in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) was seen with increasing volumes of exercise completed during prehabilitation (P = 0.046). Loss of VAT during neoadjuvant therapy was associated with a lower risk of post-operative complications (P = 0.017). By limiting the fall in SMI and promoting VAT loss, prehabilitation may have multiple beneficial effects in patients with esophageal cancer. Multi-center, randomized studies are needed to further explore these findings.
  • Can Player Tracking Devices Monitor Changes in Internal Response During Multidirectional Running?

    Oxendale, Chelsea L.; Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; Smith, Grace; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2022-07-07)
    Purpose: We examined the movement, physiological and muscle function responses to running with and without (i.e. linear) multiple directional changes to understand which measures of external demands better reflected changes in the internal response. Methods: Twelve team sport athletes completed a linear and multidirectional running trial during which movement characteristics, oxygen consumption (), blood lactate (B[La]) and heart rate (HR) were measured. Isometric peak torque of knee extensors and flexors was also assessed before and after each trial. Results: High speed running distance was higher during the linear trial (p < 0.001), whereas time at high metabolic power (p = 0.046), number of accelerations (p < 0.001), summated HR (p = 0.003) and B[La] (p = 0.002) were higher during the multidirectional trial. Integrated external to internal ratios of high-speed running: summated HR and high-speed running: total were different between multidirectional and linear trials (p ≤ 0.001). Conversely, high metabolic power: summated HR and high metabolic power: total were similar (p ≥ 0.246). Small decrements in knee flexor (p = 0.003) and extensor torque (p = 0.004) were observed after both trials. Conclusion: Time at high metabolic power better reflects the increased internal response during running with more directional changes than high speed running
  • Effects of strength training on the biomechanics and coordination of short-term maximal cycling.

    Burnie, Louise; Barratt, Paul; Davids, Keith; Worsfold, Paul; Wheat, Jonathan S. (2022-06-28)
    The aim was to investigate the effects of a gym-based strength training intervention on biomechanics and intermuscular coordination patterns during short-term maximal cycling. Twelve track sprint cyclists performed 3 × 4 s seated sprints at 135 rpm, interspersed with 2 × 4 s seated sprints at 60 rpm on an isokinetic ergometer, repeating the session 11.6 ± 1.4 weeks later following a training programme that included two gym-based strength training sessions per week. Joint moments were calculated via inverse dynamics, using pedal forces and limb kinematics. EMG activity was measured for 9 lower limb muscles. Track cyclists 'leg strength" increased (7.6 ± 11.9 kg, = 0.050 and ES = 0.26) following the strength training intervention. This was accompanied by a significant increase in crank power over a complete revolution for sprints at 135 rpm (26.5 ± 36.2 W, = 0.028 and ES = 0.29). The increase in leg strength and average crank power was associated with a change in biceps femoris muscle activity, indicating that the riders successfully adapted their intermuscular coordination patterns to accommodate the changes in personal constraints to increase crank power.
  • ‘It’s about portraying that we are organised …’ A case study looking at identity changes within one Free school’s Physical Education and School Sport (PESS) programme.

    Williams, Gareth; Burrows, Adam; Williams, Dean; University of Chester; St John Rigby College; Edge Hill University (Taylor and Francis, 2021-05-20)
    This research looked at changes made towards PESS at one of the first Free schools in England. Opened by parents as a new institution within an unfamiliar setting, the school had to contend with limited resources for an ambitious programme based upon a full complement of examination courses and an emphasis on prestigious team sports. A single case study methodology revealed that subsequent changes in identity stemmed from staffing changes, alongside a shift in personal philosophies towards a more inclusive ideology. Research participants agreed that ‘too much’ had been attempted ‘too soon.’ Using Goffman’s concept of ‘impression management’, changes are explained by the analysis of a team ‘performance’ communication to parents, identified by interviewees as key policy actors in the life of the school. This approach has been successful in justifying change, a finding that will help to understand the extent to which parental expectations are managed at Free schools.
  • Beyond the Rainbow: A Discourse Analysis of English Sports Organisations LGBT+ Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policies.

    Spurdens, Bradley; Bloyce, Daniel; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2022-05-31)
    LGBT+ issues and advocacy are becoming more considered in various policies throughout society. However, sport is often described as a resistive space to such policies. This paper examines the effectiveness of current LGBT+ equality policies within English sports organisations. Specifically, 188 National Governing Body (NGB) policies were reviewed as well as 67 policies from other relevant organisations. We utilised a Foucauldian discourse analysis to identify the dominant narratives within the policies. From our analysis we suggest that what is explicit throughout the policies is a partial stasis. This stasis takes the form of organisations gesturing towards change but failing to implement it concretely in their policies. We describe this process using the concept of ‘equality-proofing’ where just enough is done by organisations to gesture towards change or equality. Finally, recommendations for future policy praxis are considered.
  • A figurational analysis of employees’ experiences of organizational change within NGBs

    Bloyce, Daniel; Thompson, Anne (University of Chester, 2022-04-28)
    National governing bodies of sport (NGBs) are intrinsically and dependably aligned to delivering the UK government’s sport policies of increasing participation in sport and winning medals. NGBs operate within an environment characterized by social processes shaped by dynamic interdependent relationships, a results-orientated approach, and intense scrutiny of performance. Change has become an integral part of the organizational life for employees. Yet, the existing literature has overemphasized the structural characteristics of organizations by being preoccupied with the treatment of organizations as rational and static objects. This thesis aims to make an original contribution to the literature by employing a figurational analysis to understand the meanings constructed by employees as they responded to the government’s deliberate, overtly prescriptive, and task-orientated strategy of modernization. This study employed a mixed method ‘lite’ approach, comprising semi-structured interviews and an e-survey. Initially, semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior administrators from five National Sport Organizations (NSOs) and seven NGBs to establish context on the external processes influencing change within NGBs. Two case study NGBs were selected, and 25 semi-structured interviews and an e-survey (n=52) conducted to gather data on the experiences and realities of employees in responding to and managing internal changes. The study draws attention to a constant, top-down process of change reinforced by the four-yearly cycle of funding administrated by Sport England and UK Sport. Employees increasingly focused upwardly to align their goal orientation to that of their funding partners, constraining the ability of employees to balance the needs of their other partners across their wider network. These processes have shaped the formation of extreme power imbalances, in favour of the government, Sport England, and UK Sport, through strategies to centralize power and to influence a strong functional and resource dependency by NGBs. The process of change created unintentional consequences as NGBs moved away from their traditional voluntary sport clubs (VSC) network, to concentrate on easy targets to ensure delivery of their contractual obligations. The process of habitus formation mediated the way in which employees made sense of internal changes, and in managing the hostilities that employees experienced from those board members and club officials deeply embedded within the traditional sporting ethos and philosophy of NGBs. It concludes that the adoption of a figurational analysis to organizational change, with employees positioned at the centre of the investigation, has provided a more adequate understanding of the interweaving of social processes of change and human action. As the UK government continues to modernize NGBs, policy-makers, and particularly NGB senior managers, should consider readdressing the levels of interdependency and extreme power imbalances between NGBs, government, Sport England, and UK Sport, to enable the longer-term sustainability of NGBs, through more effectively balancing their role as member-led organizations and strategic deliverers of government sport policies.
  • Weight loss practices and eating behaviours among female physique athletes: Acquiring the optimal body composition for competition

    Alwan, Nura; Moss, Samantha; Davies, Ian; Elliott-Sale, Kirsty; Enright, Kevin; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester; Nottingham Trent University (Public Library of Science, 2022-01-14)
    Little is known about weight loss practices and eating behaviours in female physique athletes. This study investigated the weight loss history, practices, and key influences during the pre-competition period in a large cohort of female physique athletes stratified by division and experience level. Eating attitudes and behaviours were assessed to identify whether athletes were at risk of developing an eating disorder. Using a cross-sectional research design, female physique athletes (n = 158) were recruited and completed an anonymous online self-reported survey consisting of two validated questionnaires: Rapid Weight Loss Questionnaire and Eating Attitudes Test-26. Irrespective of division or experience, female physique athletes used a combination of weight loss practices during the pre-competition phase. Gradual dieting (94%), food restriction (64%) and excessive exercise (84%), followed by body water manipulation via water loading (73%) were the most commonly used methods. Overall, 37% of female physique athletes were considered at risk of developing an eating disorder. Additionally, 42% of female physique athletes used two pathogenic weight control methods with 34% of Figure novice athletes indicating binge eating once a week or more. The coach (89%) and another athlete (73%) were identified as key influences on athletes' dieting practices and weight loss. The prevalence of athletes identified with disordered eating symptoms and engaging in pathogenic weight control methods is concerning. In future, female physique athletes should seek advice from registered nutritionists to optimise weight management practices and minimise the risk of developing an eating disorder.
  • ‘If you haven’t got the contacts… you have no choice’: A figurational examination of unpaid work in football scouting in men’s professional football in England.

    Griffiths, Jacob; Bloyce, Daniel; University of Chester (Sage, 2022-03-09)
    Association football has been viewed as an industry with considerable lucrative career prospects; however, this has not prevented the use of unpaid staff throughout football in the UK. There has been increasing academic research regarding the professionalisation and commercialisation of football, yet there has been little acknowledgement of the role of those working in football in an unpaid capacity. Therefore, this paper examines the culture of unpaid work in football scouting, by exploring the motivations of 12 unpaid scouts at professional clubs, from a figurational perspective. Our findings suggest that scouts want to work in the industry because of their ‘love of the game’, in a ‘quest for excitement’ in their career. Unpaid work was in the pursuit of experience and contacts, the latter of which was highly valued in the industry. Football clubs are enclosed figurations and the scouts placed importance on developing interdependent social relations to gain entry to the industry, demonstrating how football may be perceived nepotistic. The likelihood of gaining a paid role directly from an unpaid position was low and therefore the decisions to continually accept unpaid work represented the notion of fantasy-laden thinking.

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