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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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Robert C. van de Graaf, Leonard Hofstra, and Erik J.A. Scherder

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Wendy E. Ellis, Sarah Talebi, Tara M. Dumas, and Lindsey Forbes

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus dramatically changed daily life and created many obstacles for adolescents to engage in physical activity (PA). This study tracked rates of self-reported PA and examined its impact on adjustment among adolescents during the first 14 months of the pandemic. Canadian adolescents (N = 1068, 14–18 y, meanage = 16.95 y) reported on their frequency of PA, context of activity, and adjustment across 4 time points (April 2020 to June 2021). In line with our hypothesis, higher average levels of vigorous PA across the pandemic predicted less anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem at our study’s end. Vigorous PA also buffered the relationships COVID-19 stress had with anxiety and self-esteem. The results further support recommendations for PA throughout the pandemic and while dealing with lockdown situations.

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Shiho Amagasa, Shigeru Inoue, Ai Shibata, Kaori Ishii, Sayaka Kurosawa, Neville Owen, and Koichiro Oka

Background: Differences in accelerometer-measured sedentary behavior and different physical activity (PA) intensities between men and women have been poorly described. The authors examined gender differences in time-use activity composition and total volume of PA. Methods: A cross-sectional mail survey was conducted from 2013 to 2015 with a randomized sample of 6000 middle-aged (40–64 y) community-dwelling Japanese adults living in urban and regional cities. Participants wore Active style Pro HJA-350IT on their waist for 7 consecutive days. Gender differences in activity time use was examined using compositional data analysis to control for time spent in all activity measures. Results: In total, 757 participants (303 men, 52.3 [7.1] y) with valid data were included in the analysis. Women spent on average 12.6% less time in sedentary behavior and 23.4% more time in light-intensity PA than men, whereas no significant difference was found for moderate to vigorous PA. Women accumulated a significantly greater volume of PA than men (17.8 vs 15.0 metabolic equivalent of task h/d). Conclusions: Japanese middle-aged women showed higher levels of PA than men because they spent more time in light-intensity PA. Given the health benefits of light-intensity PA, evaluating only moderate to vigorous PA may lead to an underestimation of women’s participation in PA.

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Astrid Reif, Markus Hackl, Alfred Nimmerichter, Stefan Oesen, Harald Tschan, Norbert Bachl, Christoph Triska, and Barbara Wessner

Background: Time constraints comprise one limiting factor for implementing school-based physical activity programs. The aim of this pilot cluster randomized controlled study was to explore the effects of a cycle ergometer intervention during regular lessons on physical fitness, body composition, and health-related blood parameters. Methods: Participants attended one of 2 classes selected from one school, which were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 23, 11.2 [0.5] y) consisting of cycling on classroom-based ergometers during 3 lessons per week at a self-selected intensity and a control group (n = 21, 11.3 [0.5] y) not receiving any treatment. Prior to and after the 5-month intervention period, physical fitness (with ventilatory threshold as primary outcome), body composition, and parameters of glucose and lipid metabolism were assessed. Results: A significant time × group interaction was revealed for ventilatory threshold (P = .035), respiratory compensation point (P = .038), gross efficiency (P < .001), maximal aerobic power (P = .024), triglycerides (P = .041), and blood glucose levels (P = .041) with benefits for the intervention group. Peak oxygen uptake and body composition were not affected. Conclusions: Children’s aerobic capacity benefited from the low-intensity school-based cycling intervention, while body composition and most blood parameters were not affected. The intervention using cycle ergometers is a feasible and time-saving strategy to elevate submaximal physical fitness.

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Tyler Ratts, Braden Norris, and Brian Mancuso

High school athletics represents a major segment of the sport industry and is regarded as an important component in youth development in the United States. With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges emerged that forced athletic directors to provide essential information to key stakeholders, keep people safe, and identify new ways to bring events to fans. To further understand these experiences, this commentary aimed to evaluate the use of communication and technology by high school athletic directors to address challenges, develop new strategies, adapt to day-to-day changes, and manage the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on interscholastic athletics. Through in-depth interviews with athletic directors, responses demonstrated how enhanced communication with key stakeholders (i.e., athletic programs and fellow athletic directors) and a reliance on technologies (i.e., digital ticketing and online live streaming) helped these leaders successfully navigate the pandemic and develop new strategies that will persist into the future.