This study aimed to examine young swimmers’ behavioral flexibility when facing different task constraints, such as swimming speed and stroke frequency. Eighteen (five boys and 13 girls) 13- to 15-year-old swimmers performed a 15 × 50-m front crawl with five trials, at 100%, 90%, and 70% each of their 50 m maximal swimming speed and randomly at 90%, 95%, 100%, 105%, and 110% of their preferred stroke frequency. Seven aerial and six underwater cameras were used to assess kinematics (one cycle), with upper-limb coordination computed through a continuous relative phase and index of coordination. A cluster analysis identified six patterns of coordination used by swimmers when facing various speed and stroke frequency constraints. The patterns’ nature and the way the swimmers shifted between them are more important than getting the highest number of patterns (range of repertoire), that is, a change in the motor pattern in order to adapt correctly is more important than being able to execute a great number of patterns.
Ana F. Silva, Pedro Figueiredo, Sara Morais, João P. Vilas-Boas, Ricardo J. Fernandes and Ludovic Seifert
Tomoko Aoki, Hayato Tsuda and Hiroshi Kinoshita
The purpose of this study was to examine finger motor function in terms of temporal and force characteristics during rapid single-finger tapping in older adults. Ten older and 10 young males performed maximum frequency tapping by the index, middle, ring, or little finger. Nontapping fingers were maintained in contact with designated keys during tasks. Key-contact force for each of the fingers was monitored using four force transducers. The older subjects had slower tapping rates of all fingers during single-finger tapping than the young subjects. The average forces exerted by the nontapping fingers were larger for the older subjects than for the young subjects during tapping with the ring and little fingers. The ranges of the nontapping finger forces were larger for the older subjects during tapping by the middle, ring, and little fingers than for the young subjects. Thus, the motor abilities of the fingers evaluated by rapid single-finger tapping decline in older adults compared with young adults in terms of both movement speed and finger independence.
Soubhagyalaxmi Mohanty, Balaram Pradhan and Alex Hankey
Physical activities provide fundamental benefits to children’s health and well-being. They are vital for development and healthy life, but participation of children with visual impairment is limited. Herein, the authors report results of a 16-wk yoga program, evaluating its effects on physical fitness in children with visual impairment. Eighty-three children age 9–16 years (12.37 ± 2.19) participated in a 2-arm, single-blind wait-list-controlled study at a residential school in south India. Participants (yoga group 41, controls 42) were assessed on muscle strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination, and respiratory health. Significant improvements in physical fitness were observed after the yoga intervention (Group × Time interactions for right-hand grip strength, p < .001; sit-up, p < .001; sit and reach, p < .001; bilateral plate tapping, p < .001; and peak expiratory flow rate, p < .001). Left-hand grip strength showed main effects of time, although there were no Group × Time interactions. Results demonstrate yoga’s ability to improve a wide range of physical variables in children with visual impairment.
Cameron T. Gibbons, Polemnia G. Amazeen and Aaron D. Likens
Variability is commonly observed in complex behavior, such as the maintenance of upright posture. The current study examines the value added by using nonlinear measures of variability to identify dynamic stability instead of linear measures that reflect average fluctuations about a mean state. The largest Lyapunov exponent (λ1) and SD were calculated on mediolateral movement as participants performed a sit-to-stand task on a stable and unstable platform. Both measures identified changes in movement across postures, but results diverged when participants stood on the unstable platform. Large SD indicated an increase in movement variability, but small λ1 identified those movements as stable and controlled. The results suggest that a combination of linear and nonlinear analyses is useful in identifying the proportion of observed variability that may be attributed to structured, controlled sources. Nonlinear measures of variability, like λ1, can further be used to make predictions about transitions between stable postures and to identify a system’s resistance to disruption from external perturbations. Those features make nonlinear analyses highly applicable to both human movement research and clinical practice.
Kirsti Van Dornick and Nancy L.I. Spencer
The purpose of this study was to examine the classification experiences (perspectives and reflections) of paraswimmers. Classification provides a structure for parasport, with the goal of reducing the impact of impairment on the outcome of competition. Guided by interpretive description, nine paraswimmers ranging in swimming experience and sport class were interviewed. Reflective notes were also collected. Transcribed interviews were analyzed inductively, followed by a deductive analysis using Nordenfelt’s dignity framework. Three themes represent the findings: access, diversity, and (un)certainty. Despite several positive experiences, paraswimmers also discussed inconsistencies in the process leading them to question competition fairness and classification accuracy. These findings suggest that continued efforts to improve the classification system are required. In addition, paraswimmers and their allies (e.g., coaches) require more information about the classification process to better understand the outcomes and to effectively advocate for their needs.
Robin S. Vealey, Nick Galli and Robert J. Harmison
In this commentary, we respond to Scherzer and Reel’s concerns over the Certified Mental Performance Consultant® (CMPC®) certification program requirements, particularly the certification exam. A reframing is suggested, in which the exam and recertification requirements are viewed as exciting historical milestones and an opportunity for individual professional growth as opposed to a personal inconvenience. In addition, some historical context and rationale for specific aspects of the CMPC certification program are provided, including the rationale for the CMPC credential.
Emily Kroshus, Sara P.D. Chrisman, David Coppel and Stanley Herring
This study sought to identify factors that influence whether coaches support athletes struggling with depression and anxiety. Participants were U.S. public high school coaches who completed a written survey assessing their experiences, attitudes, and behaviors related to student-athlete mental health (n = 190 coaches, 92% response rate). Around two-thirds of coaches were concerned about mental health issues among the students they coached. They were more likely to extend help to a struggling athlete if they were aware of their school’s mental health plan and had greater confidence related to helping, including feeling confident in their ability to identify symptoms of mental health disorders. Mental health professionals, including sport psychologists who work with or consult with coaches, are well positioned to help provide coaches with the education necessary to be able to support and encourage care seeking by athletes who are struggling with anxiety or depression.
Florence Lebrun, Áine MacNamara, Dave Collins and Sheelagh Rodgers
Little is known about the coping strategies used by elite athletes suffering from mental health issues. Therefore, this study examined coping strategies implemented by elite athletes facing clinical depression. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four elite athletes and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results present a broad picture of how elite athletes tried to cope with depression using a range of coping strategies. Among the different strategies highlighted, talking, seeking professional help and social support were particularly emphasized by the participants. Surprisingly, however, only one participant reported transferring the skills and strategies learned on her way to the top to many other aspects of her everyday life such as coping with her depression. Findings, therefore, suggest that athletes should be encouraged to transfer and make the most of the skills learned throughout their sport career to deal with their daily life. Future research perspectives and implications are discussed.
Philp Sullivan, Jessica Murphy and Mishka Blacker
Mental health literacy (MHL), the knowledge and attitudes that aid in recognition, management and prevention of mental health issues, could help maintain positive mental health within the athletic community. As coaches and athletic therapists (ATs) frequently and routinely interact with athletes, this study focused on the MHL of these individuals. Eighty participants (24 females, 54 males; 57 coaches, 18 ATs) completed an on-line version of the MHL Scale. Average MHL score was 131.48, which, is relatively equal to scores seen in university students and a general population. No significant difference was detected between coaches and ATs but females reported significantly higher MHL scores than males. There was a significant negative correlation between MHL and total experience. These results have potentially strong clinical ramifications as increased MHL in this context can affect facilitators and barriers towards seeking help in a high-risk population.
Hannah Butler-Coyne, Vaithehy Shanmuganathan-Felton and Jamie Taylor
Equestrian media is showing an increasing interest in the impact of mental health on performance and general wellbeing of equestrian athletes. This study explores the awareness of mental health difficulties and psychological wellbeing within equestrian sport from the perspectives of equestrian athletes, instructors/coaches and parents. The exploratory nature of the research offered opportunity to use a dual approach including e-surveys and semi-structured interviews. Analysis of the qualitative data identified five key themes (Emotional Wellbeing in Balance; Emotional Wellbeing Imbalance; Wellbeing Imbalance—Impact on Equestrian Sportspeople; Impact of Equestrian Sport on Wellbeing; Regaining Balance) and 22 sub-themes. The findings determine a compelling need for education, promotion of sharing experiences, facilitation of specialist (clinical and sport) professional training and intervention as well as a review of regulations from equestrian Governing Bodies.