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Logan T. Markwell, Andrew J. Strick, and Jared M. Porter

Sports, along with nearly all facets of life, have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Basketball Association quickly adopted a unique method to finish the 2019–2020 regular season and playoffs. The entire league quarantined for months in what was known as the “NBA bubble” where games were played in spectator-less arenas. During this time, increases in shooting accuracy were reported, suggesting that free throws and field goals were made at record-breaking levels. This study examined differences in free throw shooting accuracy with and without spectators. Archival data were retrieved and analyzed to evaluate the potential differences. Free throw shooting accuracy with and without spectators were examined in multiple analyses. Our examination revealed free throw percentages were significantly greater in spectator-less arenas compared with the 2018 and 2019 seasons with spectators. Changes of the environmental characteristics, due to spectator-less arenas, were likely contributors to the improved free throw phenomenon reported in this study.

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Alexandra Stribing, Adam Pennell, Emily N. Gilbert, Lauren J. Lieberman, and Ali Brian

Individuals with visual impairments (VI) trend toward lower motor competence when compared with peers without VI. Various forms of perception often affects motor competence. Thus, it is important to explore factors that influence forms of perception and their differential effects on motor competence for those with VI. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to explore and describe the differential effects of age, gender, and degree of vision on self-perceptions, parents’ perceptions, metaperceptions, and locomotor skills, and to examine potential associations among all variables with actual locomotor competence for adolescents with VI. Adolescents with VI completed two questionnaires and the Test of Gross Motor Development-Third Edition. Parents completed a parent perception questionnaire. Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis H analyses showed no differential effects for gender or age on any dependent measures. Degree of vision affected locomotor skills, but not any other factor. Spearman rho correlations showed significant associations among locomotor and self-perceptions, degree of vision and locomotor, and metaperceptions with parents’ perceptions. Adolescents reported relatively high self-perceptions and metaperceptions; however, their actual locomotor competence and parents’ perceptions were relatively low. Findings may help situate future intervention strategies targeting parents supporting their children’s locomotor skills through self-perceptions.

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Paul Bernard Rukavina

The deleterious effects of weight bias in physical activity spaces for children, adolescents, and adults are well documented. Different types of weight bias occur, and they interact at multiple levels within a person’s ecology, from the messaging of often unattainable sociocultural thin/muscular ideals and physical inequities (e.g., equipment not appropriate for body shapes and sizes) to interpersonal and public discriminatory comments. However, the most damaging is the internalization and application of negative weight-bias stereotypes by those with overweight and obesity to themselves. An imperative for social justice is now; there is great need to advocate for, provide support for, and design inclusive physical activity spaces to reduce weight bias so that all individuals feel welcome, accept their bodies, and are empowered to live a healthy, active lifestyle. To make this a reality, an interdisciplinary and preventive approach is needed to understand bias and how to minimize it in our spaces.

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Karol Dillon, Paul Kinnerk, Ian Sherwin, and Philip E. Kearney

Developing players who are adept at using both sides of the body (i.e., bilateral skill) is a challenge for coaches in many sports. With players being required to execute a range of skills with hand and foot on both sides of the body, Gaelic football provides an ideal natural laboratory for the study of laterality. Previous quantitative research has produced equivocal findings regarding the importance of bilateral skill performance in sport. In light of this equivocality, this paper utilized a qualitative approach to distill the beliefs and experiences of 14 players and five coaches who had performed at the highest level in Gaelic football. Three higher order categories were produced from the transcripts: the importance of being bilaterally skilled, the potential to develop bilateral skill, and methods to develop bilateral skills. Overall, this study highlights lessons for the design of future quantitative studies of bilateral skill in sport and should stimulate reflection on current practice regarding both short- and long-term bilateral skill development on the part of researchers, applied sport scientists, and coaches.

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Stephen Shannon, Mark Shevlin, and Gavin Breslin

Aim: A recent mental health in sport consensus statement advocates Keyes’ two continua model with an associated Mental Health Continuum (MHC) instrument to assess mental health in athletes. However, there remains statistically inconsistent usage of the MHC in athletes, so further exploration of the MHC’s psychometric factors is required. Methods: Athletes (N = 1,097) aged 32.63 (SD = 11.16) comprising 603 females (55.7%) and 478 males (44.3%), completed the 14-item MHC-Short Form, alongside validated measures of anxiety and depression. Five confirmatory factor analytic and bifactor models were developed based on extant research and theory. Results: Overall, a bifactor structure with a “general” positive mental health factor, and three specific factors (“hedonic well-being,” “social well-being,” and “psychological well-being”) fitted the data well and was deemed the superior model. Conclusion: A bifactor model of the MHC-Short Form is recommended comprising a composite score alongside specific factors of hedonic, social, and psychological well-being.

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Leonardo S. Fortes, Maicon R. Albuquerque, Heloiana K.C. Faro, Dalton de Lima-Júnior, Maria E.C. Ferreira, and Sebastião S. Almeida

The study aimed to analyze the effect of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on soccer athletes’ decision making and visual search behavior. It was a single-blind, randomized, and experimental investigation. The 23 soccer athletes were pair-matched according to decision-making skill and then randomized into two groups: a-tDCS and sham. The decision making (during small-sided game and screen task) and visual search behavior were measured before and after the 8-week intervention. Only the a-tDCS group reduced response time in the decision-making screen task (p < .05). The a-tDCS group showed a higher number of fixations than sham group (p < .05) during the small-sided game. The a-tDCS group showed a lower duration of fixation than sham group (p < .05) during the small-sided game. Our results indicated that using a-tDCS over left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex changed visual search behavior and improved the response time of decision-making skill.

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Camille Sabourin, Stéphanie Turgeon, Laura Martin, Scott Rathwell, Mark Bruner, John Cairney, and Martin Camiré

Although psychological distress has been shown to increase during adolescence, participation in organized activities may have protective effects. The present study aimed to identify whether there is a relationship between high school student-athletes’ breadth of participation in organized activities and psychological distress, using a latent class analysis. Canadian adolescent-athletes (n = 930) in Grades 11 and 12 completed an online survey that measured: (a) high school sport participation, (b) community sport participation, (c) nonsport extracurricular activities participation, and (d) psychological distress. The latent class analysis indicated that a two-class model (i.e., Class 1 = narrower breadth, low distress; Class 2 = wider breadth, moderate distress) was most appropriate. Results indicated that despite the divergent probability of organized activity participation, participants in both classes had a low to moderate probability of presenting elevated levels of psychological distress. However, levels of psychological distress were still higher than other Canadian adolescent populations, suggesting that overscheduling could be of concern. Gender and time (i.e., prior/during COVID-19 pandemic) were significant covariates in the model.

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Becky Breau, Hannah J. Coyle-Asbil, Jess Haines, David W.L. Ma, Lori Ann Vallis, and on behalf of the Guelph Family Health Study

Purpose: Examine the effect of cutpoint selection on physical activity (PA) metrics calculated from young children’s accelerometer data and on the proportion of children meeting PA guidelines. Methods: A total of 262 children (3.6 ± 1.4 years, 126 males) wore ActiGraph wGT3X-BT accelerometers on their right hip for 7 days, 24 hr/day. Ten cutpoint sets were applied to the sample categorized by age, based on populations of the original cutpoint calibration studies using ActiLife software. Resulting sedentary behavior, light PA, moderate to vigorous PA, and total PA were compared using repeated-measures analysis of variance. Proportion of children meeting age-appropriate PA guidelines based on each cutpoint set was assessed using Cochran’s q tests. Results: Children wore the accelerometer for an average of 7.6 ± 1.2 days for an average of 11.9 ± 1.2 hr/day. Significant differences in time spent in each intensity were found across all cutpoints except for sedentary, and total PA for three comparisons (Trost vs. Butte Vertical Axis [VA], Pate vs. Puyau, and Costa VA vs. Evenson) and moderate to vigorous PA for four comparisons (Trost vs. Pate, Trost vs. Pate and Pfeiffer, Pate vs. Pate and Pfeiffer, and van Cauwenberghe vs. Evenson). When examined within age-appropriate groups, all sets of cutpoints resulted in significant differences across all intensities and in the number of children meeting PA guidelines. Conclusion: Choice of cutpoints applied to data from young children significantly affects times calculated for different movement intensities, which in turn impacts the proportion of children meeting guidelines. Thus, comparisons of movement intensities should not be made across studies using different sets of cutpoints.

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Liam P. Pellerine, Derek S. Kimmerly, Jonathon R. Fowles, and Myles W. O’Brien

The Physical Activity Vital Sign (PAVS) is a two-question assessment used to estimate habitual moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity (MVPA). Previous studies have shown active adults cannot estimate the physical activity intensity properly. The initial purpose was to investigate the criterion validity of the PAVS for quantifying habitual MVPA in young adults meeting weekly MVPA guidelines (n = 140; 21 ± 3 years). A previously validated PiezoRx waist-worn accelerometer served as the criterion measure (wear time, 6.7 ± 0.6 days). All participants completed the PAVS once before wearing the PiezoRx. Standardized activity monitor validation procedures were followed. The PAVS (201 ± 142 min/week) underestimated (p < .001) MVPA compared to the PiezoRx (381 ± 155 min/week). To correct for this large error, the sample was divided into calibration model development (n = 70; 21 ± 3 years) and criterion validation (n = 70; 21 ± 3 years) groups. The PAVS score, age, gender, and body mass index outcomes from the development group were used to construct a multiple linear regression model-based calibrated PAVS (cPAVS) equation. In the validation group, the cPAVS was similar (p = .113; 352 ± 23 min/week) compared to accelerometry. Equivalence testing demonstrated the cPAVS, but not the PAVS, was equivalent to the PiezoRx. Despite achieving most statistical criteria, the PAVS and cPAVS still had high degrees of variability, preventing their use on an individual level. Alternative strategies are needed for the PAVS in an active young adult population. These results caution using the PAVS in active young adults and identify a case where obvious variabilities in accuracy conflict with statistically congruent results.