Motor control is a young and aspiring field of natural science. Over the past 40 years, it has become an established field of study with several important theoretical developments, including the equilibrium-point hypothesis and its more recent version known as the control with referent spatial coordinates, the principle of abundance, the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis, and the concept of dynamic neural field as the means of task formulation. Important experimental advances have included the exploration of the notion of synergies, the links between descending signals from the brain and referent coordinates of the effectors, and applications of motor control principles to analysis of disordered movements. Further maturation of motor control requires focusing on theory-driven studies. It promises fruitful applications to applied fields such as movement disorders and rehabilitation.
Motor Control: Creating a Natural Science of Biological Movement
Mark L. Latash
Physical Activity and Public Health: Four Decades of Progress
Sarah K. Keadle, Eduardo E. Bustamante, and Matthew P. Buman
Over the past 40 years, physical activity (PA) and public health has been established as a field of study. A robust evidence base has emerged demonstrating that participation in recommended amounts of PA results in a wide array of physical and mental health benefits. This led to the establishment of federal and global PA guidelines and surveillance programs. Strong evidence supports the efficacy of individual-level (e.g., goal setting) and environmental (e.g., policies) interventions to promote PA. There has also been progress in establishing a skilled and diverse workforce to execute the work of PA and public health. Looking forward, major challenges include stemming the obesity and chronic disease epidemics, addressing health inequities, and diversifying the workforce. Given the known benefits of PA and the availability of evidence-based interventions, efforts now must focus on implementing this knowledge to improve population health and reduce inequities through PA.
Biomechanics: 40 Years On
Joseph Hamill, Kathleen M. Knutzen, and Timothy R. Derrick
In the last 40 years, biomechanics has progressed significantly as a subdiscipline within kinesiology. The development of national and international societies dedicated to biomechanics and the increase in the number of scientific biomechanics journals has led to a growth in the biomechanics community. In the last few decades, the research focus in biomechanics has broadened substantially. With this diversity of focus, there have been many novel developments in new technologies used in biomechanics. Biomechanics has become an integral subdiscipline that has interfaced with several other areas in kinesiology and has contributed significantly to enhancing the knowledge base in all areas. Much of the development of biomechanics has resulted from improvements in the technology used in movement research. Although it may be overreaching to say that biomechanics can solve many human movement problems, the technology has allowed researchers to at least answer more comprehensive questions and answer them in greater depth.
The Distinctiveness of Sport Management Theory and Research
George B. Cunningham, Janet S. Fink, and James J. Zhang
Four decades have passed since the publication of Perspectives on the Academic Discipline of Physical Education: A Tribute to G. Lawrence Rarick—an edited text that offered a comprehensive overview of the field at the time. Missing, however, was any discussion of sport management. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to overview sport management and the development of the field since the publication of Brooks’s edited text. The authors summarize events in the field, including those related to educational advances and professional societies. Next, they highlight theoretical advances and then review the research in the field over time. In doing so, they categorize the scholarship into three groups: Young Field, Enduring Questions, and Emerging Trends. The authors conclude by identifying advances in the field and how sport management has emerged as a distinctive, robust discipline.
The History of Physical Activity in the Past, Present, and Future of Kinesiology’s Big Questions, Hot Topics, and Prospects for Integration
Mark Dyreson and Jaime Schultz
Since the 1981 publication of Perspectives on the Academic Discipline of Physical Education, the history of physical activity has secured a prominent place in the field of kinesiology. Yet, despite encouraging signs of growth, the subdiscipline still remains an undervalued player in the “team scholarship” approach. Without the integration of historical sensibilities in kinesiology’s biggest questions, our understanding of human movement remains incomplete. Historians of physical activity share many “big questions” and “hot topics” with researchers in other domains of kinesiology. Intriguing possibilities for integrating research endeavors between historians and scholars from other domains beckon, particularly as scientists share the historical fascination with exploring the processes of change over time.
Challenges, Achievements, and Uncertainties: The Philosophy of Sport Since the 1980s
R. Scott Kretchmar and Cesar R. Torres
The philosophy of sport has flourished in some ways and struggled in others since the publication of George Brooks’s anthology Perspectives on the Academic Discipline of Physical Education: A Tribute to G. Lawrence Rarick in 1981. In this article, the authors trace challenges faced by the philosophy of sport, discuss trends and hot topics, analyze opportunities for integrations with other subdisciplines, and speculate on the current issues in and the future of the philosophy of sport. While they conclude that the philosophy of sport’s prospect within kinesiology is uncertain and that it has work to do, they also conclude that this subdiscipline is uniquely positioned to provide kinesiology with the clarity and unity of purpose it needs.
The N-Pact Factor, Replication, Power, and Quantitative Research in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
Jeffrey Martin and Drew Martin
In the current study, a 20-year span of 80 issues of articles (N = 196) in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly (APAQ) were examined. The authors sought to determine whether quantitative research published in APAQ, based on sample size, was underpowered, leading to the potential for false-positive results and findings that may not be reproducible. The median sample size, also known as the N-Pact Factor (NF), for all quantitative research published in APAQ was coded for correlational-type, quasi-experimental, and experimental research. The overall median sample size over the 20-year period examined was as follows: correlational type, NF = 112; quasi-experimental, NF = 40; and experimental, NF = 48. Four 5-year blocks were also analyzed to show historical trends. As the authors show, these results suggest that much of the quantitative research published in APAQ over the last 20 years was underpowered to detect small to moderate population effect sizes.
Sociology of Sport: Growth, Diversification, and Marginalization, 1981–2021
This article tells the story of the sociology of sport over the last 4 decades. In the process, it identifies key developments and trends in the field, the questions and topics that have shaped research and the production of knowledge about sports as social phenomena, the challenges currently facing the sociology of sport, and what may happen to the field over the next 40 years.
Motor Learning: Reflections on the Past 40 Years of Research
Timothy D. Lee and Heather Carnahan
The authors reflect on the dire state of motor learning at the time of Brooks’s book and consider reasons why research was resurrected in the 1980s and flourished in the ensuing years. In so doing, they provide an overview of the various research topics that have been studied, discuss the influence of motor learning on other fields of study, and consider the future of motor learning research both within and outside the academic study of kinesiology.