Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming

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Abstract

Underpinned by a Foucauldian analysis of sporting practices, this paper identifies the disciplinary mechanism of surveillance at work in competitive youth swimming. It highlights the ways in which swimmers and their coaches are subject to and apply this mechanism to produce embodied conformity to normative behaviour and obedient, docile bodies. The data were drawn from a wider ethnographic study of 17 competitive squads and 13 coaches at three competitive swimming clubs in England. Data from participant observations of squad training sessions and semi-structured interviews with swimming coaches indicate that the pressure of being under constant surveillance leads athletes to submit to intensive training protocols and coaches to perform according to norms dictated by discourses of child safety. For athletes, submitting to these normalised training protocols increases risk of short and long-term injury and psychological harm. Meanwhile, working in a climate where discourses of child safety position every act of child�adult touch as suspicious leaves coaches feeling resentful, angry and constrained and denies them and their swimmers one of the most fulfilling, rewarding relationships available: that between a coach and an athlete.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-37
JournalSport, Education and Society
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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coach
conformity
surveillance
athlete
Athletes
Safety
discourse
Touch
clubs
Climate
participant observation
England
Mentoring
Emotions
climate
Interviews
Psychology
Pressure
Wounds and Injuries
interview

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@article{21955e56b53a4ac4ae3dbd333aeae1fb,
title = "Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming",
abstract = "Underpinned by a Foucauldian analysis of sporting practices, this paper identifies the disciplinary mechanism of surveillance at work in competitive youth swimming. It highlights the ways in which swimmers and their coaches are subject to and apply this mechanism to produce embodied conformity to normative behaviour and obedient, docile bodies. The data were drawn from a wider ethnographic study of 17 competitive squads and 13 coaches at three competitive swimming clubs in England. Data from participant observations of squad training sessions and semi-structured interviews with swimming coaches indicate that the pressure of being under constant surveillance leads athletes to submit to intensive training protocols and coaches to perform according to norms dictated by discourses of child safety. For athletes, submitting to these normalised training protocols increases risk of short and long-term injury and psychological harm. Meanwhile, working in a climate where discourses of child safety position every act of child�adult touch as suspicious leaves coaches feeling resentful, angry and constrained and denies them and their swimmers one of the most fulfilling, rewarding relationships available: that between a coach and an athlete.",
author = "Melanie Lang",
note = "Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). (2003) The swimmer pathway: long-term athlete development (Loughborough, ASA). Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). (2004) Wavepower: child welfare in swimming*procedures and guidelines (Loughborough, ASA). Aycock, A. (1992) The confession of the flesh: disciplinary gaze in casual bodybuilding, Play and Culture, 5, 338�357. Balyi, I. (1990) Quadrennial and double quadrennial planning of athletic training (Victoria, B.C., Canadian Coaches Association). Balyi, I. & Hamilton, A. (2004) Long-term athlete development: trainability in childhood and adolescence. Windows of opportunity, optimal trainability (Victoria, National Coaching Institute British Columbia & Advances Training and Performance). Barth, L. (1998) Michael Foucault, in: R. Stones (Ed.) Key sociological thinkers (London, Macmillan), 252�265. Baxter-Jones, A. D. G. & Helms, P. J. (1996) Effects of training at a young age: a review of the training of young athletes (TOYA) study, Pediatric Exercise Science, 8, 310�327. Bevir, M. (1999) Foucault and critique: deploying agency against autonomy, Political Theory, 27, 65�84. Booth, F. W. & Gould, E. W. (1975) Effects of training and disuse on connective tissue, Exercise Sports Science Review, 3, 83�112. Brackenridge, C. H. (2001) Spoilsports: understanding and preventing sexual exploitation in sport (London, Routledge). Bridgeman, J. & Monk, D. (2000) Reflections on the relationship between feminism and child law, in: J. Bridgeman & D. Monk (Eds) Feminist perspectives on child law (London, Cavendish), 1�18. Bringer, J. (2002) Swimming coaches’ perceptions and the development of role conflict and role ambiguity. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Leisure and Sport Research Unit, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education. 34 M. Lang Downloaded By: [Lang, Melanie] At: 09:08 29 June 2010 British Swimming. (2008) Swimming unveils ‘target squad’ for 2012 games [Internet]. Available online at: http://www.britishswimming.org (accessed 18 January 2008). Bunting, L. (2007) Dealing with a problem that doesn’t exist? Professional responses to female perpetrated child sexual abuse, Child Abuse Review, 16, 252�267. Carlisle Duncan, M. (1994) The politics of women’s body images and practices: Foucault, the Panopticon and ‘Shape’ magazine, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 18, 48�65. Chambliss, D. F. (1989) The mundanity of excellence: an ethnographic report on stratification and Olympic swimmers, Sociological Theory, 7, 70�86. Chapman, G. E. (1997) Making weight: lightweight rowing, technologies of power and technologies of the self, Sociology of Sport Journal, 14, 205�223. Danaher, G., Schirato, T. & Webb, J. (2000) Understanding Foucault (London, Sage). David, P. (1999) Children’s rights and sports: young athletes and competitive sports*exploit and exploitation, International Journal of Children’s Rights, 7, 53�81. Donnelly, P. (1993) Problems associated with youth involvement in high-performance sport, in: B. R. Cahill & A. J. Pearl (Eds) Intensive participation in children’s sports (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics), 95�126. Eitzen, D. S. (2006) Fair and foul: beyond the myths and paradoxes of sport (3rd edn) (Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield). Engh, F. (2002) Why Johnny hates sports: why organised youth sports are failing our children and what we can do about it (New York, Square One). English Sports Council (ESC). (1998) Development of sporting talent 1997: report of findings (London, ESC). Eskes, T. B., Carlisle Duncan, M. & Miller, M. (1998) The discourse of empowerment: Foucault, Marcuse and women’s fitness texts, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 22, 317�344. Fasting, K., Brackenridge, C. & Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2004) Prevalence of sexual harassment among Norwegian female elite athletes in relation to sport type, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 39, 373�386. Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison (London, Allen Lane). Foucault, M. (1985) The use of pleasure: the history of sexuality (vol. 2) (London, Penguin). Foucault, M. (1988) Technologies of the self, in: L. H. Martin, H. Gutman & P. H. Hutton (Eds) Technologies of the self: a seminar with Michel Foucault (Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press), 16�49. Foucault, M. (1991) Disciplines and sciences of the individual, in: P. Rabinow (Ed.) The Foucault reader: an introduction to Foucault’s thought (London, Penguin), 169�256. Fraser, A. (2004) How the British fared [Internet]. Available online at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics_2004/3610780.stm (accessed 14 April 2008). Gervis, M. & Dunn, N. (2004) The emotional abuse of elite child athletes by their coaches, Child Abuse Review, 13, 215�223. Gilbert, T. (1995) Nursing: empowerment and the problem of power, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 21, 865�871. Glaser, B. & Strauss, A. (1967) The discovery of grounded theory: a strategy for qualitative research (Chicago, IL, Aldine). Green, M. & Houlihan, B. (2006) Elite sport development: policy learning and political development (London, Routledge). Hargreaves, J. (1986) Sport, power and culture (Cambridge, Polity Press). Hargreaves, J. (1987) Sport, the body and social relations, in: J. Horne, D. Jary & A. Tomlinson (Eds) Sport, leisure and social relations (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul), 139�159. Heikkala, J. (1993) Discipline and excel: techniques of the self and body and the logic of competing, Sociology of Sport Journal, 10, 397�412. Hemery, D. (1988) Should a child specialize just in one sport? The pursuit of sporting excellence: a study of sport’s highest achievers (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics). Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming 35 Downloaded By: [Lang, Melanie] At: 09:08 29 June 2010 Hollander, E. B., Meyers, M. C. & LeUnes, A. (1995) Psychological factors associated with overtraining: implications for youth sport coaches, Journal of Sport Behaviour, 18, 3�20. Hudson, A. (1992) The child sexual abuse ‘industry’ and gender relations in social work, in: M. Langan & L. Day (Eds) Women, oppression and social work: issues in anti-discriminatory practice (London, Routledge), 129�148. Johns, D. P. & Johns, J. S. (2000) Surveillance, subjectivism and technologies of power: an analysis of the discursive practice of high-performance sport, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 35, 219�234. Jones, A. (2004) Social anxiety, sex, surveillance and the ‘safe’ teacher, British Journal of the Sociology of Education, 25, 53�66. Jones, J. H. (1999) Swimming overuse injuries, Physical Medicine Rehabilitation Clinic of North America, 10, 77�94. Jones, R. L., Glintmeyer, N. & McKenzie, A. (2005) Slim bodies, eating disorders and the coach�athlete relationship: a tale of identity creation and disruption, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 40, 377�391. Kirby, S. Greaves, L. & Hankivsky, O. (2000) Dome of silence: sexual harassment and abuse in sport (London, Zed Books). Kirk, D. (1998) Schooling bodies: school practice and public discourse 1880�1950 (London, Leicester University Press). Leonard, J. (2006) Age-group training volumes in the USA, American Swimming Coaches Association Newsletter, 4, 1�2. Lincoln, Y. S. & Guba, E. (1985) Naturalistic enquiry (Beverley Hills, CA, Sage). Lord, C. (2000) Britain out of their depth, The Times online [Internet]. Available online at: http://www.times-olympics.co.uk/archive/swimmings21o.html (accessed 14 April 2008). MacKay, D. (2000) Edwards attacks ‘awful’ swimmers [Internet]. Available online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sydney/story/0,,366970,00.html (accessed 14 April 2008). Maguire, J. & Mansfield, L. (1998) No body’s perfect: women, aerobics and the body beautiful, Sociology of Sport Journal, 15, 109�137. Markula, P. (1995) Firm but shapely, fit but sexy, strong but thin: the postmodern aerobicising female bodies, Sociology of Sport Journal, 12, 424�453. Markula, P. & Pringle, R. (2006) Foucault, sport and exercise: power, knowledge and transforming the self (London, Routledge). Martino, W. & Beckett, L. (2004) Schooling the gendered body in health and physical education: interrogating teachers’ perspectives, Sport, Education and Society, 9, 239�251. McNay, L. (1992) Foucault and feminism: power, gender and the self (Boston, MA, Northeastern University Press). McWilliam, E. (2001) Pleasures proper and improper: a genealogy of teacher/student intimacy, in: A. Jones (Ed.) Touchy subject: teachers touching children (Dunedin, Otago University Press), 27�38. McWilliam, E. (2003) The vulnerable child as a pedagogical subject, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 19, 35�45. McWilliam, E. & Jones, A. (2005) An unprotected species? On teachers as risky subjects, British Educational Research Journal, 31, 109�120. Micheli, L. J. (1990, October 29) Children and sports, Newsweek, p. 12. Miller, P. J. (1988) Factories, monitorial schools and Jeremy Bentham: the origins of the ‘management syndrome’ in popular education, in: A. Westoby (Ed.) Culture and power in educational organisations (Buckingham, Open University Press), 56�78. National Speedo Swimming League. (2005) National speedo league handbook [Internet]. Available online at: www.speedoleague.org.uk (accessed 5 January 2007). Pankhurst, A. & England Netball. (2005) Preparing for a life in sport: a guide to good practice for all people involved in netball (Leeds, National Coaching Foundation/England Netball). 36 M. Lang Downloaded By: [Lang, Melanie] At: 09:08 29 June 2010 Perryman, J. (2006) Panoptic performativity and school inspection regimes: disciplinary mechanisms and life under special measures, Journal of Education Policy, 21, 147�161. Piper, H., Powell, J. & Smith, H. (2006) Parents, professionals and paranoia: the touching of children in a climate of fear, Journal of Social Work, 6, 151�167. Raglin, J. S. & Wilson, G. S. (1999) Overtraining in athletes, in: Y. L. Hanin (Ed.) Emotion in sport (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics), 191�207. Ryan. J. (1995) Little girls in pretty boxes: the making and breaking of elite gymnasts and figure skaters (New York, Warner Books). Salguero, A., Gonzalz-Boto, R., Tuero, C. & Marquez, S. (2003) Identification of dropout reasons in young competitive swimmers, The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 43, 530�534. Shogan, D. (1999) The making of high-performance athletes: discipline, diversity and ethics (Toronto, ON, University of Toronto Press). Starosta, W. (1996) Selection of children for sport, in: V. Rogozkin & R. Maughan (Eds) Current research in sport sciences: an international perspective (London, Plenum), 21�25. Tsang, T. (2000) Let me tell you a story: a narrative exploration of identity in high-performance sport, Sociology of Sport Journal, 17, 44�59. Valios, N. (2000) Women abuse too, Community Care, 14, March 28�29, 14�20. Webb, L., McCaughtry, N. & Macdonald, D. (2004) Surveillance as a technique of power in physical education, Sport, Education and Society, 9, 207�222. Webb, L. A. & Macdonald, D. (2007) Techniques of power in physical education and the underrepresentation of women in leadership, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 26, 279�297. Westlund, A. C. (1999) Pre-modern and modern power: Foucault and the case of domestic violence, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 24, 1045�1066. Wolstencroft, E. (2002) Talent identification and development: an academic review (Edinburgh, Sport Scotland). Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming 37",
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Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming. / Lang, Melanie.

In: Sport, Education and Society, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2010, p. 19-37.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming

AU - Lang, Melanie

N1 - Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). (2003) The swimmer pathway: long-term athlete development (Loughborough, ASA). Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). (2004) Wavepower: child welfare in swimming*procedures and guidelines (Loughborough, ASA). Aycock, A. (1992) The confession of the flesh: disciplinary gaze in casual bodybuilding, Play and Culture, 5, 338�357. Balyi, I. (1990) Quadrennial and double quadrennial planning of athletic training (Victoria, B.C., Canadian Coaches Association). Balyi, I. & Hamilton, A. (2004) Long-term athlete development: trainability in childhood and adolescence. Windows of opportunity, optimal trainability (Victoria, National Coaching Institute British Columbia & Advances Training and Performance). Barth, L. (1998) Michael Foucault, in: R. Stones (Ed.) Key sociological thinkers (London, Macmillan), 252�265. Baxter-Jones, A. D. G. & Helms, P. J. (1996) Effects of training at a young age: a review of the training of young athletes (TOYA) study, Pediatric Exercise Science, 8, 310�327. Bevir, M. (1999) Foucault and critique: deploying agency against autonomy, Political Theory, 27, 65�84. Booth, F. W. & Gould, E. W. (1975) Effects of training and disuse on connective tissue, Exercise Sports Science Review, 3, 83�112. Brackenridge, C. H. (2001) Spoilsports: understanding and preventing sexual exploitation in sport (London, Routledge). Bridgeman, J. & Monk, D. (2000) Reflections on the relationship between feminism and child law, in: J. Bridgeman & D. Monk (Eds) Feminist perspectives on child law (London, Cavendish), 1�18. Bringer, J. (2002) Swimming coaches’ perceptions and the development of role conflict and role ambiguity. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Leisure and Sport Research Unit, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education. 34 M. Lang Downloaded By: [Lang, Melanie] At: 09:08 29 June 2010 British Swimming. (2008) Swimming unveils ‘target squad’ for 2012 games [Internet]. Available online at: http://www.britishswimming.org (accessed 18 January 2008). Bunting, L. (2007) Dealing with a problem that doesn’t exist? Professional responses to female perpetrated child sexual abuse, Child Abuse Review, 16, 252�267. Carlisle Duncan, M. (1994) The politics of women’s body images and practices: Foucault, the Panopticon and ‘Shape’ magazine, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 18, 48�65. Chambliss, D. F. (1989) The mundanity of excellence: an ethnographic report on stratification and Olympic swimmers, Sociological Theory, 7, 70�86. Chapman, G. E. (1997) Making weight: lightweight rowing, technologies of power and technologies of the self, Sociology of Sport Journal, 14, 205�223. Danaher, G., Schirato, T. & Webb, J. (2000) Understanding Foucault (London, Sage). David, P. (1999) Children’s rights and sports: young athletes and competitive sports*exploit and exploitation, International Journal of Children’s Rights, 7, 53�81. Donnelly, P. (1993) Problems associated with youth involvement in high-performance sport, in: B. R. Cahill & A. J. Pearl (Eds) Intensive participation in children’s sports (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics), 95�126. Eitzen, D. S. (2006) Fair and foul: beyond the myths and paradoxes of sport (3rd edn) (Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield). Engh, F. (2002) Why Johnny hates sports: why organised youth sports are failing our children and what we can do about it (New York, Square One). English Sports Council (ESC). (1998) Development of sporting talent 1997: report of findings (London, ESC). Eskes, T. B., Carlisle Duncan, M. & Miller, M. (1998) The discourse of empowerment: Foucault, Marcuse and women’s fitness texts, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 22, 317�344. Fasting, K., Brackenridge, C. & Sundgot-Borgen, J. (2004) Prevalence of sexual harassment among Norwegian female elite athletes in relation to sport type, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 39, 373�386. Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison (London, Allen Lane). Foucault, M. (1985) The use of pleasure: the history of sexuality (vol. 2) (London, Penguin). Foucault, M. (1988) Technologies of the self, in: L. H. Martin, H. Gutman & P. H. Hutton (Eds) Technologies of the self: a seminar with Michel Foucault (Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press), 16�49. Foucault, M. (1991) Disciplines and sciences of the individual, in: P. Rabinow (Ed.) The Foucault reader: an introduction to Foucault’s thought (London, Penguin), 169�256. Fraser, A. (2004) How the British fared [Internet]. Available online at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/olympics_2004/3610780.stm (accessed 14 April 2008). Gervis, M. & Dunn, N. (2004) The emotional abuse of elite child athletes by their coaches, Child Abuse Review, 13, 215�223. Gilbert, T. (1995) Nursing: empowerment and the problem of power, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 21, 865�871. Glaser, B. & Strauss, A. (1967) The discovery of grounded theory: a strategy for qualitative research (Chicago, IL, Aldine). Green, M. & Houlihan, B. (2006) Elite sport development: policy learning and political development (London, Routledge). Hargreaves, J. (1986) Sport, power and culture (Cambridge, Polity Press). Hargreaves, J. (1987) Sport, the body and social relations, in: J. Horne, D. Jary & A. Tomlinson (Eds) Sport, leisure and social relations (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul), 139�159. Heikkala, J. (1993) Discipline and excel: techniques of the self and body and the logic of competing, Sociology of Sport Journal, 10, 397�412. Hemery, D. (1988) Should a child specialize just in one sport? The pursuit of sporting excellence: a study of sport’s highest achievers (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics). Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming 35 Downloaded By: [Lang, Melanie] At: 09:08 29 June 2010 Hollander, E. B., Meyers, M. C. & LeUnes, A. (1995) Psychological factors associated with overtraining: implications for youth sport coaches, Journal of Sport Behaviour, 18, 3�20. Hudson, A. (1992) The child sexual abuse ‘industry’ and gender relations in social work, in: M. Langan & L. Day (Eds) Women, oppression and social work: issues in anti-discriminatory practice (London, Routledge), 129�148. Johns, D. P. & Johns, J. S. (2000) Surveillance, subjectivism and technologies of power: an analysis of the discursive practice of high-performance sport, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 35, 219�234. Jones, A. (2004) Social anxiety, sex, surveillance and the ‘safe’ teacher, British Journal of the Sociology of Education, 25, 53�66. Jones, J. H. (1999) Swimming overuse injuries, Physical Medicine Rehabilitation Clinic of North America, 10, 77�94. Jones, R. L., Glintmeyer, N. & McKenzie, A. (2005) Slim bodies, eating disorders and the coach�athlete relationship: a tale of identity creation and disruption, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 40, 377�391. Kirby, S. Greaves, L. & Hankivsky, O. (2000) Dome of silence: sexual harassment and abuse in sport (London, Zed Books). Kirk, D. (1998) Schooling bodies: school practice and public discourse 1880�1950 (London, Leicester University Press). Leonard, J. (2006) Age-group training volumes in the USA, American Swimming Coaches Association Newsletter, 4, 1�2. Lincoln, Y. S. & Guba, E. (1985) Naturalistic enquiry (Beverley Hills, CA, Sage). Lord, C. (2000) Britain out of their depth, The Times online [Internet]. Available online at: http://www.times-olympics.co.uk/archive/swimmings21o.html (accessed 14 April 2008). MacKay, D. (2000) Edwards attacks ‘awful’ swimmers [Internet]. Available online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sydney/story/0,,366970,00.html (accessed 14 April 2008). Maguire, J. & Mansfield, L. (1998) No body’s perfect: women, aerobics and the body beautiful, Sociology of Sport Journal, 15, 109�137. Markula, P. (1995) Firm but shapely, fit but sexy, strong but thin: the postmodern aerobicising female bodies, Sociology of Sport Journal, 12, 424�453. Markula, P. & Pringle, R. (2006) Foucault, sport and exercise: power, knowledge and transforming the self (London, Routledge). Martino, W. & Beckett, L. (2004) Schooling the gendered body in health and physical education: interrogating teachers’ perspectives, Sport, Education and Society, 9, 239�251. McNay, L. (1992) Foucault and feminism: power, gender and the self (Boston, MA, Northeastern University Press). McWilliam, E. (2001) Pleasures proper and improper: a genealogy of teacher/student intimacy, in: A. Jones (Ed.) Touchy subject: teachers touching children (Dunedin, Otago University Press), 27�38. McWilliam, E. (2003) The vulnerable child as a pedagogical subject, Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 19, 35�45. McWilliam, E. & Jones, A. (2005) An unprotected species? On teachers as risky subjects, British Educational Research Journal, 31, 109�120. Micheli, L. J. (1990, October 29) Children and sports, Newsweek, p. 12. Miller, P. J. (1988) Factories, monitorial schools and Jeremy Bentham: the origins of the ‘management syndrome’ in popular education, in: A. Westoby (Ed.) Culture and power in educational organisations (Buckingham, Open University Press), 56�78. National Speedo Swimming League. (2005) National speedo league handbook [Internet]. Available online at: www.speedoleague.org.uk (accessed 5 January 2007). Pankhurst, A. & England Netball. (2005) Preparing for a life in sport: a guide to good practice for all people involved in netball (Leeds, National Coaching Foundation/England Netball). 36 M. Lang Downloaded By: [Lang, Melanie] At: 09:08 29 June 2010 Perryman, J. (2006) Panoptic performativity and school inspection regimes: disciplinary mechanisms and life under special measures, Journal of Education Policy, 21, 147�161. Piper, H., Powell, J. & Smith, H. (2006) Parents, professionals and paranoia: the touching of children in a climate of fear, Journal of Social Work, 6, 151�167. Raglin, J. S. & Wilson, G. S. (1999) Overtraining in athletes, in: Y. L. Hanin (Ed.) Emotion in sport (Champaign, IL, Human Kinetics), 191�207. Ryan. J. (1995) Little girls in pretty boxes: the making and breaking of elite gymnasts and figure skaters (New York, Warner Books). Salguero, A., Gonzalz-Boto, R., Tuero, C. & Marquez, S. (2003) Identification of dropout reasons in young competitive swimmers, The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 43, 530�534. Shogan, D. (1999) The making of high-performance athletes: discipline, diversity and ethics (Toronto, ON, University of Toronto Press). Starosta, W. (1996) Selection of children for sport, in: V. Rogozkin & R. Maughan (Eds) Current research in sport sciences: an international perspective (London, Plenum), 21�25. Tsang, T. (2000) Let me tell you a story: a narrative exploration of identity in high-performance sport, Sociology of Sport Journal, 17, 44�59. Valios, N. (2000) Women abuse too, Community Care, 14, March 28�29, 14�20. Webb, L., McCaughtry, N. & Macdonald, D. (2004) Surveillance as a technique of power in physical education, Sport, Education and Society, 9, 207�222. Webb, L. A. & Macdonald, D. (2007) Techniques of power in physical education and the underrepresentation of women in leadership, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 26, 279�297. Westlund, A. C. (1999) Pre-modern and modern power: Foucault and the case of domestic violence, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 24, 1045�1066. Wolstencroft, E. (2002) Talent identification and development: an academic review (Edinburgh, Sport Scotland). Surveillance and conformity in competitive youth swimming 37

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - Underpinned by a Foucauldian analysis of sporting practices, this paper identifies the disciplinary mechanism of surveillance at work in competitive youth swimming. It highlights the ways in which swimmers and their coaches are subject to and apply this mechanism to produce embodied conformity to normative behaviour and obedient, docile bodies. The data were drawn from a wider ethnographic study of 17 competitive squads and 13 coaches at three competitive swimming clubs in England. Data from participant observations of squad training sessions and semi-structured interviews with swimming coaches indicate that the pressure of being under constant surveillance leads athletes to submit to intensive training protocols and coaches to perform according to norms dictated by discourses of child safety. For athletes, submitting to these normalised training protocols increases risk of short and long-term injury and psychological harm. Meanwhile, working in a climate where discourses of child safety position every act of child�adult touch as suspicious leaves coaches feeling resentful, angry and constrained and denies them and their swimmers one of the most fulfilling, rewarding relationships available: that between a coach and an athlete.

AB - Underpinned by a Foucauldian analysis of sporting practices, this paper identifies the disciplinary mechanism of surveillance at work in competitive youth swimming. It highlights the ways in which swimmers and their coaches are subject to and apply this mechanism to produce embodied conformity to normative behaviour and obedient, docile bodies. The data were drawn from a wider ethnographic study of 17 competitive squads and 13 coaches at three competitive swimming clubs in England. Data from participant observations of squad training sessions and semi-structured interviews with swimming coaches indicate that the pressure of being under constant surveillance leads athletes to submit to intensive training protocols and coaches to perform according to norms dictated by discourses of child safety. For athletes, submitting to these normalised training protocols increases risk of short and long-term injury and psychological harm. Meanwhile, working in a climate where discourses of child safety position every act of child�adult touch as suspicious leaves coaches feeling resentful, angry and constrained and denies them and their swimmers one of the most fulfilling, rewarding relationships available: that between a coach and an athlete.

U2 - 10.1080/13573320903461152

DO - 10.1080/13573320903461152

M3 - Article

VL - 15

SP - 19

EP - 37

JO - Sport, Education and Society

JF - Sport, Education and Society

SN - 1357-3322

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