Biomechanics is a diverse field of study founded in a vertically integrated body of knowledge, from cells to behavior, with the goal of understanding the function of biological systems using methods in mechanics. Historically, the field lies in the general domain of science, not to be isolated but well integrated with others focused on the study of movement. Using advances in technology as a conduit, specific examples of collaborative research involving biomechanics, motor development, and neuromuscular control are discussed. Challenges in the study of interface control (i.e., hypotheses focused on the neural control of movement, performance enhancement, and injury prevention) are presented in the context of the intellectual interface required among scientists to gain a new understanding of the function of biological systems.
Robert J. Gregor, W. Lee Childers, Mark A. Lyle, and Linda Fetters
Frank W. Booth
Exercise physiology is an old profession that dates back to 1500 B.C.E., having rises and falls in intervening years. The author provides comments from firsthand observations he has experienced in the past six decades. Events in the 1950s and 1960s caused a rise in exercise physiology in the next decades, with a decline being initiated in the late 1990s by the Center for Scientific Review's decision to treat exercise by individual organs or individual diseases rather than as a preexisting vibrant translational science for human health. In the opinion of this author and of some National Institutes of Health (NIH) program officials, the decline of qualified individuals to wisely spend taxpayer's monies on exercise research has resulted in the December 13, 2013 publication of the NIH's “Request for Information (RFI): Identifying Gaps in Understanding the Mechanisms of Physical Activity-Induced Health Benefits.”
Howard N. Zelaznik
Over the past 40 years the research area of motor learning and control has developed into a field closely aligned with information processing in neuroscience. The basic, implicit assumption is that motor learning and control is the domain of the brain. Several crucial studies and developments from the past and the present are presented and discussed that highlight this position. The future of following that current path is discussed. Then, the case is made that the control of movement is not just a brain process, and thus scientists in kinesiology need to study movement behavior at a coarser level of analysis. Motor control in kinesiology should use the Newell framework and thus should examine the nature of individual attributes, environmental information, and task constraints on learning and performance of motor skills.
In this essay I argue that predictions for the future of the philosophy of sport (as well as kinesiology as a whole) are complicated by at least three factors. These include the emergence of what I identify as “minority voices,” the fact that appearances deceive and that going “backwards” sometimes results in moving forwards, and the emerging realization that those of us in seemingly independent research silos are actually interrelated. Philokinesiologists cannot predict where they are going without knowing where physiokinesiologists, biomeckinesiologists, pedekinesiologists, and others are moving, and visa versa. I describe this uncertain journey as an exciting adventure, one that is made all the more interesting because we will be traveling together.
Bradley J. Cardinal
This paper offers a critical review and analysis of physical activity psychology research over the past quarter century (primarily), describes current research trends in the area, and suggests future research directions. This is a vast and ambitious task. Furthermore, the contributions come from those within kinesiology, as well as outside of kinesiology, with many new disciplines and professions advancing research agendas in this domain. There are rich and distinctive opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations in this area, opportunities that have genuine transformative potential. Following the paper's introduction, six major topics are addressed, including: what physical activity psychology is, foundational work in physical activity psychology research, trends in physical activity psychology research, behavioral specificity, physical activity prevalence, and where to go in the future. The paper concludes with a call-to-action, particularly aimed at helping to get and keep people physically active across the lifespan, which is the fundamental work of physical activity psychology.
Alison M. Wrynn
This article examines the past, present, and future of historical research in sport and physical education. Due to time and space limitations, the focus is on work that has emerged and is emerging in North America—particularly the United States—but it must be noted there are very active sport historians throughout the world; in departments of kinesiology, history, and American studies. This article covers two broad categories: the past to the present and the present to the future of research in sport history. Within these two sections, there is also an analysis of changes in the conduct of research by historians as this has had, and will continue to have, a major impact on the kinds of work that will be produced in the future.
Catherine D. Ennis
As typically taught, sport-based, multiactivity approaches to physical education provide students with few opportunities to increase their skill, fitness, or understanding. Alternative curriculum models, such as Sport Education, Teaching Games for Understanding, and Fitness for Life, represent a second generation of models that build on strong statements of democratic, student-centered practice in physical education. In the What Goes Around section of the paper, I discuss the U.S. perspective on the origins of alternative physical education curriculum models introduced in the early and mid-20th century as a response to sport and exercise programs of the times. Today, with the help of physical educators, scholars are conducting research to test new curricular alternatives or prototypes to provide evidence-based support for these models. Yet, the multiactivity, sport-based curriculum continues to dominate in most U.S. physical education classes. I discuss reasons for this dogged persistence and propose reforms to disrupt this pervasive pattern in the future.
David A. Dzewaltowski and Richard R. Rosenkranz
Positive youth development (PYD) is an emerging area of study and practice that targets fostering the assets of young people to avoid problem behaviors and excel in meeting diverse life challenges. This paper describes how PYD evolved from treating problem behaviors to preventing problem behaviors in at-risk youth, to more recently helping all youth thrive and excel in numerous domains. Although evidence to inform community policy and practice has emerged, there is a lack of consensus on how to define PYD, and this lack of consensus has impacted progress in PYD physical activity behavioral science. This paper recommends PYD physical activity behavioral science reject disciplinary boundaries and (a) examine the nature of person-environment interaction in the context of physical activity as the primary outcome, (b) target big-picture physical activity outcome questions, and (c) come to a consensus on the domains of physical activity behavioral science research competencies.