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David I. Anderson and Richard E.A. van Emmerik

This special issue of Kinesiology Review celebrates the 40th anniversary of the publication of George Brooks’s Perspectives on the Academic Discipline of Physical Education: A Tribute to G. Lawrence Rarick (1981). Written by many of the luminaries within kinesiology, the papers in this special issue highlight the tremendous growth of knowledge that has occurred in the subdisciplines of kinesiology over the last 40 years and the breadth of contexts in which new knowledge is now being applied. Kinesiology has rapidly become an influential discipline, and its breadth, depth, and influence continue to grow. Though not without challenges, there is much to be optimistic about concerning kinesiology’s future.

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Melinda A. Solmon

Scholarship related to physical education and sport pedagogy is rigorous and should be central to the academic discipline of kinesiology. The goal of this article is to situate physical education and sport pedagogy as an applied field in kinesiology, grounded in the assumption that physical education, as the professional or technical application of the broader academic discipline, is of critical importance to the success of kinesiology. A brief overview of the history of research on teaching physical education is followed by an overview of the streams of research that have evolved. Major tenets of research on effective teaching and curricular reform are discussed. The status of physical education teacher education and school physical education programs is considered, and a rationale for a broader view of pedagogy that has the potential not only to promote physical education and sport pedagogy but also to enrich the academic discipline is offered.

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Jane A. Kent and Kate L. Hayes

The field of exercise physiology has enjoyed tremendous growth in the past 40 years. With its foundations in the natural sciences, it is an interdisciplinary field that is highly relevant to human performance and health. The focus of this review is on highlighting new approaches, knowledge, and opportunities that have emerged in exercise physiology over the last four decades. Key among these is the adoption of advanced technologies by exercise physiologists to address fundamental research questions, and the expansion of research topics to range from molecular to organismal, and population scales in order to clarify the underlying mechanisms and impact of physiological responses to exercise in health and disease. Collectively, these advances have ensured the position of the field as a partner in generating new knowledge across many scientific and health disciplines.

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Diane L. Gill, Erin J. Reifsteck, and Leilani Madrigal

As part of the 40th anniversary of the publication of Brooks’s (1981) Perspectives on the Academic Discipline of Physical Education, the authors offer an update on the Sport Psychology chapter, including key developments, topics, and issues in sport and exercise psychology. They begin with an overview of the 1981 chapter and state of sport psychology as described during that time. Then, in the main part of the article, they go through each of the main topics as presented in the 1981 chapter—highlighting what’s gone, what’s stayed, what’s changed, and what’s new. In the final section, they discuss the current state of sport and exercise psychology and end with their aspirations for sport and exercise psychology.

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Mark L. Latash

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.