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Ali Brian, Sally Taunton Miedema, Jerraco L. Johnson, and Isabel Chica

Fundamental motor skills (FMS) are an underlying mechanism driving physical activity behavior and promoting positive developmental trajectories for health. However, little is known about FMS of preschool-aged children with visual impairments (VI). The purpose of this study was to examine the FMS of preschool-aged children (N = 25) with (n = 10) and without (n = 15) VI as measured using the Test of Gross Motor Development-3. Children without VI performed significantly higher than their peers for locomotor (M = +11.87, p = .014, η2 = .31) and ball skills (M = +13.69, p < .001, η2 = .56). Regardless of the presence of a VI, many participants struggled with developing FMS, with the greatest disparity resting within ball skills. These findings help to clarify the FMS levels of preschool-aged children with VI. Thus, there is a need for both further inquiry and intervention for all children.

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Helmi Chaabene, Yassine Negra, Senda Sammoud, Jason Moran, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Urs Granacher, and Olaf Prieske

Purpose: To examine the effects of balance exercises conducted prior to complex training (bCT) versus complex training (CT) only on measures of physical fitness in young female elite handball players. Methods: Participants aged 17 years were randomly assigned to bCT (n = 11) or CT (n = 12). The 2 training interventions lasted 8 weeks with 2 sessions per week in replacement of some technical/tactical handball exercises and were matched for total training volume. Before and after training, tests were performed for the evaluation of proxies of muscle power (countermovement jump height, standing long-jump distance, and reactive strength index), muscle strength (back half-squat 1-repetition maximum), dynamic balance (Y-balance test), linear sprint speed (20-m sprint test), and change-of-direction speed (T test). Results: Two-factor repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed significant group × time interactions for the reactive strength index (d = 0.99, P = .03) and Y-balance test score (d = 1.32, P < .01). Post hoc analysis indicated significant pre–post reactive strength index improvements in CT (d = 0.69, P = .04) only. For the Y-balance test, significant pre–post increases were found in bCT (d = 0.71, P = .04) with no significant changes in CT (d = 0.61, P = .07). In addition, significant main effects of time were observed for half-squat 1-repetition maximum, countermovement jump, standing long jump, and T test performance (d = 1.50 to 3.10, P < .05). Conclusions: Both bCT and CT interventions were effective in improving specific measures of physical fitness in young elite female handball players. If the training goal is to improve balance in addition, balance exercises can be conducted within a CT training session and prior to CT exercises.

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David I. Anderson

I am not sure by what fortunate circumstance I was invited to contribute to this special issue of Kinesiology Review. However, I am deeply honored to be part of an issue with such esteemed scholars and colleagues. Like many, my introduction to the field of kinesiology was through sports, but my inspiration to pursue kinesiology as a career was the result of an injury that ended my sporting ambitions. My career is characterized by little planning, large amounts of dumb luck, a willingness to explore some paths that are less well trodden, and deep and enduring friendships that have resulted from a spirit of teamwork and collaboration. The work has been hard, the hours have been long, but the payoff has been enormously gratifying. The overarching lesson from my career for emerging scholars is to have an adventurous spirit and seek out excellent mentors and collaborators.

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Daniel L. Plotkin, Kenneth Delcastillo, Derrick W. Van Every, Kevin D. Tipton, Alan A. Aragon, and Brad J. Schoenfeld

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are one of the most popular sports supplements, marketed under the premise that they enhance muscular adaptations. Despite their prevalent consumption among athletes and the general public, the efficacy of BCAA has been an ongoing source of controversy in the sports nutrition field. Early support for BCAA supplementation was derived from extrapolation of mechanistic data on their role in muscle protein metabolism. Of the three BCAA, leucine has received the most attention because of its ability to stimulate the initial acute anabolic response. However, a substantial body of both acute and longitudinal research has now accumulated on the topic, affording the ability to scrutinize the effects of BCAA and leucine from a practical standpoint. This article aims to critically review the current literature and draw evidence-based conclusions about the putative benefits of BCAA or leucine supplementation on muscle strength and hypertrophy as well as illuminate gaps in the literature that warrant future study.

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Mana Ogawa, Chiaki Ohtaka, Motoko Fujiwara, and Hiroki Nakata

The authors investigated the kinematic characteristics of the standing long jump in preschool children. Sixty 4-year-old children (boys: 30 and girls: 30) and sixty 5-year-old children (boys: 30 and girls: 30) participated in the present study. The authors focused on three differences in kinematics: between 4- and 5-year-old children, between boys and girls, and between high and low jumping performance groups at the same age. The kinematic data included the maximum flexions of the knee and hip before takeoff, at takeoff, and on landing; angular displacement of the upper body; takeoff speeds in horizontal and vertical directions; and takeoff angle of the greater trochanter. Anthropometric variables and kinematic data were separately analyzed with factors of age, sex, and group. The authors also performed multiple regression analysis to identify predictors of the jump distance. The movement speed of the greater trochanter in a horizontal direction, the maximum flexion angle of the hip before takeoff, and the hip angle on landing were identified as significant predictors of the jump distance among young children. These findings suggest that knowing how to use the hip and awareness of the horizontal direction are key factors to improve the long jump distance in young children.

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Scott Kretchmar

An examination of the kinds of questions we ask ourselves provides a window through which to interpret our history and imagine our future. I suggest that there are three kinds of questions—large ones, small ones, and leaky ones. Those that are identified as large and small map onto the value structures we have created for ourselves in higher education. I call these structures caste systems in which some subdisciplines are valued over others, and theoreticians stand above both practitioners and skill teachers. Leaky questions are those that cross boundaries because they cannot be effectively answered by those residing in any one area or at any one level. I argue that leaky questions generate humility, mutual respect, and incentives for collaboration. I trace my own attempts to address all three kinds of questions as a sport philosopher and conclude that our brighter future in kinesiology, including our attempts to address the harms created by the caste system, requires us to see that most of the questions we find interesting are, in fact, leaky in nature.

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Jane E. Clark

The past is prologue, writes Shakespeare in The Tempest. And there seems no better expression to capture the theme of my essay on searching the future of kinesiology in its recent past through my lens as a motor development scholar. Using the developmental metaphor of climbing a mountain amidst a range of mountains, the progressing stages of my development and that of kinesiology are recounted. Over the five-plus decades of my growth as an academic and that of kinesiology, I look for the antecedents and the constraints that shape our change and may shape the future of the field of motor development and kinesiology.

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Barbara E. Ainsworth

This paper provides reflections on my academic career in kinesiology and public health from an autobiographical perspective. Themes include the importance of movement and physical activity in my development and career choices, a recognition of the importance of physical activity for health outcomes, experiences in studying physical activity in a public health framework, and observations on kinesiology in higher education. I also reflect on the importance of the physical education and physical activity environment that brought me a sense of belonging, enjoyment, and accomplishment that has lasted throughout my career. As in sports and professional activities, I have tried my best and never given up until I felt the task was done.

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Patricia Vertinsky

In this essay, I drew upon the perspectives of Walter Benjamin’s “angel of history” in reflecting upon the history of kinesiology and the influences that led to my own academic career in kinesiology. I have outlined how my disciplinary training as a physical educator and educational historian provided the resources to propel my continuing inquiry into the inter- and cross-disciplinary (and intrinsically entangled) nature of kinesiology. Gender, nationality, training, location, and timing all had their influences on my education and job opportunities and upon building toward a career in a research university where physical education and kinesiology, by design and accident, increasingly separated from one another. From the perspective of a sport historian, I suggest that the language and pursuit of balance might be applied productively to thinking about the future of kinesiology. Sport historians can help in this mission by training a critical lens upon the ongoing traffic between nature and culture and the deep sociocultural situatedness of the science and technology practices used in kinesiology teaching and research in the 21st century. In essence, they can illuminate the historical context of the tools that now frame kinesiology’s questions and the political context in which their answers emerge.