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Teri A. Todd, Keely Ahrold, Danielle N. Jarvis, and Melissa A. Mache

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) typically demonstrate deficits in gross motor skills such as the overhand throw. It has not been determined whether such deficits persist into adulthood. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the kinematics and developmental level of overhand throws among young adults with and without ASD. Three-dimensional motion-capture data were collected during overhand throwing trials performed by 20 college students (10 students with ASD). Individuals with ASD demonstrated similar throw duration, stride length, and step width but a longer acceleration phase and slower ball velocity than individuals without ASD. Young adults with ASD also performed the overhand throw with less developmental proficiency than those without ASD. Specifically, individuals with ASD exhibited developmental deficits in the backswing and composite throwing score. Motor skill interventions for individuals with ASD should address throwing skills, with a particular focus on the preparatory phase of the overhand throw.

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Kerri L. Staples, E. Andrew Pitchford, and Dale A. Ulrich

The Test of Gross Motor Development is among the most commonly used measures of gross motor competency in children. An important attribute of any developmental assessment is its sensitivity to detect change. The purpose of this study was to examine the instructional sensitivity of the Test of Gross Motor Development—third edition (TGMD-3) performance criteria to changes in performance for 48 children (age 4–7 years) with and without Down syndrome following 10 weeks of physical education. Paired t tests identified significant improvements for all children on locomotor (p < .01) and ball skills (p < .01). These significant differences were associated with moderate to large effect sizes. SEM was low relative to the maximum raw score for each subtest, indicating high confidence in the scores. These findings provide evidence that the TGMD-3 is sensitive to change in performance for children with and without Down syndrome.

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Marte Bentzen, Danielle Alexander, Gordon A. Bloom, and Göran Kenttä

The purpose of this scoping review was to provide a broad overview of the literature pertaining to parasport coaches, including information regarding the size and scope of research, the populations and perspectives obtained, and the type of methods used to conduct the research. Data were collected and analyzed using a six-stage framework for conducting scoping reviews. The results revealed that the majority of articles were based on interviews, and an overwhelming majority of the participants were men coaching at the high-performance level in North America. Three of the most frequent topics were becoming a parasport coach, being a parasport coach, and having general parasport coaching knowledge. Articles ranged in date from 1991 to 2018, with 70% of empirical articles published from 2014 onward, indicating an emerging interest in this field of research. This review has the potential to advance the science and practice of parasport coaching at all levels.

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Gennaro Boccia, Marco Cardinale, and Paolo Riccardo Brustio

Purpose: To quantify how many of the top 50 under-18 (U18) sprinters in the world managed to become top 50 ranked as adult competitors. The authors also described the career trajectory of athletes ranked in the top 50 during either U18 or senior category. Methods: A total of 4924 male and female athletes competing in sprint races and ranked in the International Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics) lists in any of the seasons between the 2000 and 2018 were included in the study. The athletes ranked in the top 50 positions of all-time lists during U18, senior, or both categories were analyzed. Results: Only 17% of the male and 21% of the female top 50 ranked U18 managed to become top 50 ranked senior athletes. The top 50 ranked senior athletes consistently produced yearly larger improvements during late adolescence and early adulthood compared with those who ranked in the top 50 at U18. Furthermore, top 50 ranked senior athletes reached their peak performance later compared with the top 50 ranked only in U18. Conclusions: This study confirms that early success in track and field is not a good predictor of success at senior level in sprinting events. The yearly performance improvements and their tracking provide the most suitable approach to identify athletes more likely to succeed as elite performers in adulthood. The authors hope that the results of this study can provide useful comparative data and reference criteria for talent-identification and -development programs.

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Katie E. McGibbon, David B. Pyne, Laine E. Heidenreich, and Robin Pla

Purpose: Pacing, or the distribution of energy expenditure, is particularly important in swimming; however, there is limited research examining pacing profiles in long-distance freestyle events. This study aimed to characterize the pacing profiles of elite male 1500-m freestyle swimmers using a novel method to provide a detailed analysis of different race segments. Methods: The race data for 327 male 1500-m freestyle long-course races between 2010 and 2019 were analyzed retrospectively. The raw 50-m split times for each lap were converted to a percentage of overall race time. The races were classified as a fast-, average-, or slow-start strategy (laps 1–2); as an even, negative, or positive pacing strategy (laps 3–28); and as a fast-, average-, or slow-finish strategy (laps 29–30) to give an overall pacing profile. Results: Slow- and average-start strategies were associated with faster overall 1500-m times than a fast-start strategy (mean = −21.2 s; 90% confidence interval, −11.4 to −32.3 s, P = .00). An even pacing strategy in laps 3 to 28 yielded faster overall 1500-m times than a positive pacing strategy (−8.4 s, −3.9 to −13.0 s, P = .00). The overall 1500-m times did not differ substantially across the finish strategies (P = .99). The start strategy differed across age groups and nationalities, where younger swimmers and swimmers from Australia and Great Britain typically spent a lower percentage of race time in laps 1 to 2 (faster start strategy; −0.10%, −0.01% to −0.23%, P ≤ .02). Conclusion: Adopting a relatively slower start strategy helps conserve energy for the latter stages of a 1500-m freestyle race.

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Sjur J. Øfsteng, Linnea Nirenberg, Daniel Hammarström, Joar Hansen, Bent R. Rønnestad, and Øyvind Sandbakk

Performance-determining variables are usually measured from a rested state and not after prolonged exercise, specific to when athletes compete for the win in long-distance events. Purpose: (1) To compare cross-country skiing double-poling (DP) performance and the associated physiological and biomechanical performance-determining variables between a rested state and after prolonged exercise and (2) to investigate whether the relationship between the main performance-determining variables and DP performance is different after prolonged submaximal DP than when tested from a rested state. Methods: Male cross-country skiers (N = 26) performed a blood lactate profile test and an incremental test to exhaustion from a rested state on day 1 (D1; all using DP) and after 90-minute submaximal DP on day 2 (D2). Results: The DP performance decreased following prolonged submaximal DP (D1: peak speed = 15.33–20.75 km·h−1, median = 18.1 km·h−1; D2: peak speed = 13.68–19.77 km·h−1, median = 17.8 km·h−1; z = −3.96, P < .001, effect size r = −.77), which coincided with a reduced submaximal gross efficiency and submaximal and peak cycle length, with no significant change in peak oxygen uptake (P = .26, r = .23). The correlation coefficient between D1 cycle length at 12 km·h−1 and D2 performance is significantly smaller than the correlation coefficient between D2 cycle length at 12 km·h−1 and D2 performance (P = .033), with the same result being found for peak cycle length (P < .001). Conclusions: The reduced DP performance after prolonged submaximal DP coincided with a reduced submaximal gross efficiency and shorter peak cycle length. The results indicate that performance-determining variables could be determined after prolonged exercise to gain more valid insight into long-distance DP performance.

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Andrew M. Colombo-Dougovito and Jihyun Lee

Researchers posit that physical activity (PA) settings may provide an increased opportunity for social interaction. However, little consensus exists regarding the construct of social skills. Moreover, little is known about what type or amount of PA is necessary for individuals on the autism spectrum to benefit from this increased interaction. Thus, this scoping review synthesized the components (e.g., design, participants, independent and dependent variables, etc.) and findings of PA-based interventions that included social skill components to identify how interventions have incorporated these skills in different settings. Based on a review of 25 articles, this review revealed a great deal of variability in the types of PA, social skills, and instruments studied, as well as the intensity of intervention delivery in the published findings. No longitudinal studies were identified as a part of the search. These results provide a foundation for the design of effective PA-based interventions that may have an increased impact on the social skills of individuals on the autism spectrum. Future research should employ longitudinal designs to capture the relationship between social skills and PA, as well as to increase the likelihood of capturing change.

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Jordan L. Fox, Robert Stanton, Aaron T. Scanlan, Masaru Teramoto, and Charli Sargent

Purpose: To investigate the associations between sleep and competitive performance in basketball. Methods: A total of 7 semiprofessional, male players were monitored across the in-season. On nights prior to competition, sleep duration and quality were assessed using actigraphs and sleep diaries. The data were accumulated over 1 (night 1), 2 (nights 1–2 combined), 3 (nights 1–3 combined), and 4 (nights 1–4 combined) nights prior to competition. Performance was reported as player statistics (field goal and free-throw accuracy, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and turnovers) and composite performance statistics (offensive rating, defensive rating, and player efficiency). Linear regression analyses with cluster-robust standard errors using bootstrapping (1000 replications) were performed to quantify the association between sleep and performance. Results: The night before competition, subjective sleep quality was positively associated with offensive rating and player efficiency (P < .05). Conclusions: Strategies to increase subjective sleep quality the night before competition should be considered to increase the likelihood of successful in-game performance, given its association with composite performance metrics.

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Jessica A. Calderbank, Paul Comfort, and John J. McMahon

Purpose: The aim of the current study was to investigate the relationship between dive distance (DD) and countermovement jump (CMJ) height, track start CMJ height, countermovement broad jump (CMBJ) distance, track start broad jump distance, and isometric midthigh pull peak force and relative peak force. Methods: A total of 27 (11 female and 16 male) regional-national-international-standard swimmers (mean [SD]; age = 19.5 [5.5] y; mass = 69.3 [10.5] kg; height = 1.77 [0.09] m) performed 3 trials of a track start dive, CMJ, track start CMJ, CMBJ, track start broad jump, and isometric midthigh pull. Results: Data were separated into pooled (females and males combined), females, and males. Large to very large correlations were found between DD and all variables tested for pooled data (r = .554–.853, P < .001–.008), with DD-CMBJ displaying the highest correlation (r = .853, P < .001). CMBJ accounted for 70% of the variance in DD. Females demonstrated moderate nonsignificant correlations between DD isometric midthigh pull (r = .379, P < .125). Males demonstrated very large significant correlations between DD-CMJ (r = .761, P < .001). Conclusions: DD demonstrated strong correlations with jump performances and multijoint isometric force production in pooled data. Males showed stronger correlations than females due to being stronger and being able to perform the jumping/strength tasks to a higher standard. Enhanced jump performance and increased maximal force production may, therefore, enhance DD in swimmers.