Archive for Vol. 3, 2012

The Winner Takes All: A Qualitative Study of Cooperation on Cycling Teams

by Katrine O. Netland, Vidar Schei & Therese E. Sverdrup

Vol. 3 2012, pages 189–209
Published December 10, 2012


Cycling is arguably one of the most physically demanding sports. However, road cycling athletes are also challenged by a social-psychological tension induced by a fairly simple dilemma: There will only be one individual winner, but no one can win unless teammates sacrifice their own chances to win. This article addresses ways to effectively handle this challenge. We conducted in-depth interviews with athletes from professional and continental road cycling teams, as well as team sports directors. Our findings indicate that a prime undertaking indeed is to deal with the trade-off between individual goals and team goals. We identify three principles that may help to improve cooperation: involvement, cohesion, and the psychological contract. These principles seem to facilitate cooperation and a collective orientation, and they seem to be positively related to performance and satisfaction. We discuss these findings and their implications for cycling teams in particular, as well as for teams and team management in general.

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About the Authors

KATRINE O. NETLAND holds a master degree from NHH Norwegian School of Economics, and have also studied corporate social responsibility at Södertörns Högskola in Buenos Aires and French at the Université de Paul Valéry in Montpellier. She is now at Deloitte in Oslo. Her areas of interests include sport and teamwork in general, and she has a passionate interest for road cycling in particular.

VIDAR SCHEI is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the NHH Norwegian School of Economics, and Deputy Head of the Department of Strategy and Management. His research interests are teams, conflict management, creativity and culture. He has taken part in research appearing in journals such as ScienceJournal of Experimental Social PsychologyGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations, and Journal of Managerial Psychology.

THERESE E. SVERDRUP has a Cand. Polit degree in Organizational Psychology from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and defended her Ph.D about psychological contracts in work groups at the NHH Norwegian School of Economics in November 2012. Her research interests are team, leadership and working relations, and she is now research coordinator at the FOCUS program at NHH.

Learning by Joining the Rhythm: Apprenticeship Learning in Elite Double Sculls Rowing

by Ole Lund, Susanne Ravn & Mette Krogh Christensen

Vol. 3, 2012, pages 167–188
Published October 31, 2012


This article aims to explore how a joint rhythm is learned. The exploration is based on a combination of a case study of training in elite rowing and theoretical considerations concerning mutual incorporation of skills in learning. In 2009 Juliane and Anne start to row the double scull together. The two rowers’ aim is to be among the exclusive group of teams that qualify for the Olympic Games three years later. However, Anne is not a rower, and has to be apprenticed by Juliane, who is an experienced elite rower. One important learning goal in the apprenticeship is to find a good joint rhythm, which will enable the rowers to put optimal effort into the rowing. Thus the apprenticeship is about developing a sense for a good rhythm in Anne which corresponds to Juliane’s finely tuned sense of what a good rhythm should feel like. Our study suggests that apprenticeship learning has to be understood as an embodied and mutually affecting process rather than as unidirectional exchanges of information. This means that not only the inexperienced athlete is learning: the experienced athlete is also learning by compensating for the inexperienced athlete’s inadequacy.

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About the Authors

OLE LUND is PhD student at the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark, Denmark. His research focuses on the development of expertise in sport and apprenticeship learning among elite athletes. The aim of his PhD-project is to explore the interrelated learning processes of among elite athletes in double rowing, synchronized trampoline and handball. Theoretically his research is inspired by phenomenology and theories on social learning and social and embodied cognition.

SUSANNE RAVN is an associate professor of dance and movement-communication at the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark. Her research interests center round the sociology and phenomenology of the body, including dancing bodies, the expertise of elite athletes and the teaching and learning of dancing. She is the author of several books and articles in peer reviewed journals.

METTE KROGH CHRISTENSEN is an Associate Professor within the Centre of Medical Education at Aarhus University and Institute of Sports Science at University of Southern Denmark. Her research interests revolve around talent development in education and elite sport as well as careers, paradigmatic trajectories and the development of coaching expertise. She has published in for example the Sociology of Sport Journal, European Physical Education Review, PE and Sport Pedagogy and Sport, Education and Society.

Ethno-politics and state sport policy: The case of how the Sámi Sport Association–Norway challenged the Norwegian onfederation of sport’s monopoly for state subsidies to sport

by Eivind Å. Skille

Vol. 3 2012, pages 143–165
Published September 19, 2012


This paper investigates how the Sámi Sport Association of Norway (SVL-N), with the support of the Sámi Parliament in Norway, challenged the Norwegian confederation of sport’s (NIF) monopoly to state funding to sport. Through document analysis of correspondence between the Ministry of Culture and the Sámi Parliament, the Sámi sport Association (SVL-N) and the Norwegian confederation of sports, it was revealed how the Ministry of Culture changed its opinion from wanting to keep NIF’s monopoly to willingly support also SVL-N with state subsidies to sport. Applying the theoretical perspective of Bourdieu, it is pointed out how the mode of heterodoxy which is needed to create change in a political and organizational field, such as the Norwegian field of sport policy and organization which has traditionally been based on the relationship between the Ministry of Culture and NIF, was developed. Employing the perspective of Brubaker, it is pointed out how this heterodoxy was achieved by the utilization of ethno-political entrepreneurs such as the president of the Sámi parliament.

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About the Author

EIVIND Å. SKILLE is Professor with the Department of Culture and Society at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway. Eivind is a sport sociologist and his main research interests are within sport policy, sport organization, and sport participation. Much of his work has focused on the relationship between the state’s sport policy making and the possibilities and constraints for implementation of this policy through the voluntary sport organizations. His latest publications include Idrettslaget – helseprodusent eller trivselsarena? (2012, Oplandske Bokforlag), The Conventions of Sport Clubs: Enabling and Constraining the Implementation of Social Goods Through Sport’ (2011, Sport, Education and Society, 16 (2): 253-265), and ‘Sport for all in Scandinavia: sport policy and participation in Norway, Sweden and Denmark’ (2011, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 3 (3): 327-340).

Subjective Beliefs Among Sport Coaches About Communication During Practice

by Frode Moen & Kristin Garland

Vol. 3 2012, pages 121–142
Published June 6, 2012



This article looks at subjective beliefs among sport coaches in terms of what they consider to be effective communication during practice. A sample of 36 different opinions about different underlying aims for communication, and how this affects athletes’ abilities to understand better (knowing), to perform better (doing), and/ or improve their focus, was presented to 23 sport coaches from different top level sports. A sample from a concourse of statements was presented to the coaches who were asked to consider the statements regarding what they thought are optimal communication during practice in action. The authors develop their analysis by employing the Q methodology. Four different factors emerged from the factor analysis, and one stronger factor had 18 cases when mixed cases were included. In general, coaches agree that during practice they must stimulate their athletes to be focused. In order to do this, their communication must be based on information and concepts that both coaches and athletes understand. Communication that effects common understanding and is based on clear and direct instructions seems to be beneficial to achieve a strong focus during action. The results also indicate that coaches must have conversations with their athletes in order to achieve common understanding, so that the information that is communicated during action is well discussed and clarified between themselves and their athletes.

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About the Authors

FRODE MOEN has a PhD in coaching and performance psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, department of education. His current research focuses on executive coaching, coaching based leadership, sport coaching, communication performance psychology. He is a former coach for the national team in Norway in Nordic combined, and is currently working as the leader of the Olympic organization in middle-Norway, and as coach and mental trainer for national athletes in different sports. He is publishing a new book about performance development during autumn of 2012.

KRISTIN GARLAND has a Master in sport management from the University of Minnesota, in the United States of America. Her current research focuses on international student-athletes in the United States, and the struggles that they experience integrating into American culture and the school sponsored model of athletics. She had a Fullbright scholarship at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology during the period of her work with this article.

Att äga en (huligan-) berättelse: Mediers konstruktion av fotbollsvåld

by Aage Radmann

Vol. 3 2012, pages 97–120
Published June 6, 2012


Creating a (hooligan) narrative: Media’s construction of football violence
The purpose of this article is to interpret and analyze the phenomenon of football hooliganism as presented in “old” print media and “new” digital media. A central issue explored in this article is possible differences between descriptions of the event in the old and new media. Research of the old media’s concept of hooliganism shows that media can create a panic that leads to demands for stricter regulations. In this article I have tried to demonstrate that discussions are even more fierce in some types of new media. It is difficult to clearly distinguish between old and new media. Descriptions and interpretations of the football landscape in the old media create the impression that Swedish football has o problem with meaningless violence and increasing hooliganism. The “high-risk supporters” are depicted as a serious threat to Swedish football, and as enemies of football in general. However, this narrative is also repeated by parts of the new media. In the article, I contextualize (media) images of a hooligan event and make visible the power struggle between different media actors around the question of “good football culture” versus “hooliganism”, a tug-of-war that will affect the Swedish football landscape to the core.

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About the Author

AAGE RADMANN is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sport Sciences, Malmö University, Sweden. Aage is a social scientist and his main research interests are within sociology of sport, sport and media, football culture and hooliganism. His research is inspired both from traditional sociology and theories about the new media context. He uses the football landscape as a prism to understand the interplay between individuals (e.g. hooligans), groups (football firms vs. police forces), and on a structural level (media and identity). His latest publications are “The Structure of Sport Violence” – (Idrottsvåldets karaktär, 2012) for the Swedish National Inquiry in Sport and Violence, SOU 2012:23, p 235-304, and “The New Media and Hooliganism” (2012), in We love to hate each other. Mediated Football Fan culture, Krövel & Roksvold (eds.), Gothenburg, Sweden: Nordicom.

Teenageres idrætsdeltagelse i moderne hverdagsliv

by Maja Pilgaard

Vol. 3 2012, pages 71–95
Published May 9, 2012


maja-pilgaardTeenagers’ Participation in Sports and Exercise in Modern Everyday Life
During adolescence, the tendency to withdraw from club organized sports is high. This has been an issue among researchers for many years but is still a cause for concern for the agents within the field of sports. The latest survey on sports participation among the Danish population shows that the adolescents have become even less involved in sports within the past ten years. This article focuses on what can explain the tendency to drop out. The analysis reveals a pattern of more individualized, self-organized and flexible sports participation among adolescents. Individual reasons for drop out from club organized sports are analyzed, and reasons are categorized into two groups, ‘voluntary drop out’ and ‘forced drop out’. The theoretical approach of individualization as a general tendency of modern everyday life contributes to an understanding of a need for more ‘light sport communities’ in order to allow adolescents to combine sport and social relations as an incorporated part of modern everyday life. .

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About the Author

MAJA PILGAARD is a PhD student at the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, and is employed as an academic researcher at the Danish Institute for Sports Studies in Copenhagen. Maja investigates sport and exercise participation of the Danes, and from a perspective of the sociology of everyday life she examines the development and the character of participation and the variations between different parts of the population. She focuses on how people include sport and exercise in everyday life based on life stages, social background, work and family life, and how sports providers can understand and relate to the new, flexible and individual ways of organizing sports participation in modern everyday life.

Humans, Horses, and Hybrids: On Rights, Welfare, and Masculinity in Equestrian Sports

by Kutte Jönsson

Vol. 3 2012, pages 49–69
Published March 28, 2012


The fact that horses play an essential role for equestrian sports raises rather specific ethical concerns. Questions like what should be morally permissible to do to (non-consenting) nonhumans for the sake of human interests become urgent. Is it not an example of (animal) rights violation to force nonhumans taking part of sport? However, in this article I argue, from a radical egalitarian point of view, that it is possible to defend the existence of equestrian sports, but not unconditionally. I suggest that it is the masculinity norms in the sports culture that compromise the already complicated relationship between humans and animals, and therefore become an obstacle for the vision of equality between humans and nonhumans.

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KUTTE JÖNSSON is associate professor of sport philosophy and sport ethics at Malmö University, Sweden. He is the author of three books, among them two on sport ethics (all of them in Swedish). He has also published in journals such as Sport, Ethics and Philosophy and Sport in Society. Apart from the academic work, he is continuously involved in the ongoing debate on sport, gender issues and ethics.

Écuyères and “doing gender”: Presenting Femininity in a Male Domain – Female Circus Riders 1800–1920

by Susanna Hedenborg & Gertrud Pfister

Vol. 3 2012, pages 25–47
Published March 28, 2012


The purpose of this article is to analyse gender relations in equestrianism from the beginning of the 19th to the first decades of the 20th century. Focus will be on the female horse riding circus artists, the écuyères. The fact that women were circus riders at this time is interesting as in many parts of the world and in many epochs, horses have played a significant role in the lives of men. Traditionally men used horses in agriculture, forestry, the transport sector and in the army and a real man was a horseman. Widespread practices and, in particular, the symbolic correlation between masculinity and horsemanship conveys the impression that women had nothing to do with horses. This is true for many situations. The circus arena, however, seems to have been an exception as women could perform there. At the heart of the performances was not only equestrianism, but also the notion of gender. It is even likely that ”doing gender” was an indispensable part of the show, as the allure of the écuyères depended on the embodiment and presentation of seemingly incompatible features: beauty, grace and femininity as well as mastery of an art that was a traditionally male domain.

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About the Authors

SUSANNA HEDENBORG is professor of sport studies at Malmö University, Sweden. Her research focuses on sport history as well as on issues of gender and age. Currently she is working with the history of equestrian sports – gender, age and nationality. She is the author of several books and articles in peer reviewed journals.

GERTRUD PFISTER s professor of sport sociology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her current research focuses on sport history as well as on issues of gender, leadership, transnationalism, aging and media coverage in the context of physical activities and sport. She the author of more than 100 articles in peer reviewed journals and the author or editor of several books, e.g. Understanding American Sport (Routledge 2009), and Muslim Women and Sport (with Tansin Benn, Routledge 2011).

Psychological Research on Martial Artists: A Critical View from a Cultural Praxis Framework

by Anna Kavoura, Tatiana V. Ryba & Marja Kokkonen

Vol. 3 2012, pages 1–23
Published February 15, 2012


In this article, we problematize sport psychology research on martial artists and offer some suggestions for advancing our knowledge in this area of research and practice. First, we review the previous research in the field. Then we introduce “cultural praxis” as a theoretical framework that will guide our analysis. Finally, we engage sociological studies of female fighters in conjunction with the adopted theoretical lens to outline the limitations of sport psychological research with regards to the experiences of women. It seems that the majority of the studies have used the male athlete as the norm, while research on the female athlete remains limited and focused on “differences”. Focusing persistently on gender differences, without drawing at all on gender theory reflects a gender bias, which seems to be engrained in sport psychology studies. Recent sociological studies have shed some light on the experiences of female martial artists, but have paid scant attention to the constantly changing locale in which female athletes operate. Here, we suggest “cultural praxis” as an intervention to gain insights into the behaviors, values, and emotions of the other sex athletes.

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About the Authors

ANNA KAVOURA (MA in Sport and Exercise Psychology) is a PhD student in the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.  As a competitive Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete herself, her current research interests encompass issues of gender, culture and equality in the male domain of martial arts. She has also been interested in applied sport psychology, mental training and imagery for martial art athletes.

TATIANA V. RYBA is associate professor of sport psychology at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her current research focuses on issues of transnationality, mobile identity, career transitions and cultural adaptation in and through sport. She is co-editor of two books, The Cultural Turn in Sport Psychology (with Robert Schinke and Gershon Tenenbaum; Fitness Information Technology, 2010) and the forthcomingAthletes’ Careers across Cultures (with Natalia Stambulova; Routledge, 2013).

MARJA KOKKONEN (PhD in Psychology, MA in Sport Sciences) is a  Researcher in the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.  In the domains of personality and developmental psychology and sport and exercise psychology, she has been interested in the role of  socio-emotional skills, emotional intelligence, and social competence in physical education, and in the well-being of professional coaches, athletes, and PE teachers.