Metaphorical perceptions of weight class athletes about pre-competition rapid weight loss
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Keywords:Metaphor, perception, rapid weight loss, weight class athlete
Pre-competition rapid weight loss is a practice that athletes competing in weight class sports frequently resort to before the competition in order to reach the target weight and gain an advantage. Therefore, in this study, the perceptions of weigh class athletes about the phenomenon of pre-competition rapid weight loss were tried to be clarified through metaphors. The research was conducted with phenomenological design, one of the qualitative research methods based on the interpretive paradigm. A total of 126 weight class athletes (81 wrestling, 45 taekwondo) who had experience of pre-competition rapid weight loss participated in the study voluntarily. The data were obtained from the athletes through metaphorical data collection method, which is frequently used in qualitative research. In this direction, the athletes were asked to complete the statement “Pre-competition rapid weight loss is like/similar to ... because ...”. The data obtained in the study were analyzed by inductive content analysis. The analysis results showed that 81 different metaphors were created by the weight class athletes for the phenomenon of pre-competition rapid weight loss, and the most preferred metaphors were torment, death, torture, persecution, fasting, climbing to the top, fatigue, and nightmare. The thematic coding based on the similarities and differences of the metaphors created by the weight class athletes showed that the phenomenon of pre-competition rapid weight loss was perceived as difficulty/challenge, struggle/effort, success/performance tool, sacrifice, burnout, motivational tool, performance loss and health by the weight class athletes. In conclusion, weight class athletes have positive as well as negative perceptions towards pre-competition rapid weight loss.
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