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Introductory Remarks: Observation and Motor Skill Acquisition

Diane M. Ste-Marie

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A Reputation Bias in Figure Skating Judging

Leanne C. Findlay and Diane M. Ste-Marie

The current study examined whether expectations, assumed to be created by the positive reputation of an athlete, produced a bias in judging at either the encoding or evaluation phase of sport performance appraisal. The short programs of 14 female figure skaters were evaluated by judges to whom the athletes were either known or unknown. Ordinal rankings were found to be higher when skaters were known by the judges as compared to when they were unknown. Furthermore, skaters received significantly higher technical merit marks when known, although artistic marks did not differ. No significant differences were found for the identification of elements or associated deductions, measures which were assumed to be indicative of the encoding phase of judging. These findings suggest that a reputation bias does exist when judging figure skating, and that it is present during the evaluation phase of sport performance appraisal, as reflected by the ordinal and technical merit marks.

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The Effects of Self-Observation When Combined With a Skilled Model on the Learning of Gymnastics Skills

Rebecca Robertson, Laura St. Germain, and Diane M. Ste-Marie

In this experiment, we examined whether self-observation, via video replay, coupled with the viewing of a skilled model was better for motor skill learning than the use of self-observation alone. Twenty-one female gymnasts participated in a within design experiment in which two gymnastics skills were learned. One skill was practiced in conjunction with the self-observation/skilled model pairing and the other with only self-observation. The experiment unfolded over five sessions in which pre-test, baseline, acquisition, retention, and post-test scores were obtained. Analysis of the physical performance scores revealed a significant Condition ×Session interaction in which it was shown that there were no differences between the intervention conditions at baseline and early in acquisition; but, later in acquisition, those skills practiced with the self-observation/skilled model pairing were executed significantly better than those with only self-observation. Also, an error identification test showed that participants had significantly higher response sensitivity scores for those skills learned with the paired intervention compared to self-observation alone. These results suggest that pairing self-observation with a skilled model is better in a gymnastic setting than self-observation alone.

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The Path to Translating Focus of Attention Research into Canadian Physiotherapy, Part 2: Physiotherapist Interviews Reveal Impacting Factors and Barriers to Focus of Attention Use

Julia Hussien, Lauren Gignac, Lauren Shearer, and Diane M. Ste-Marie

Although researchers have highlighted the benefits of adopting an external focus of attention for rehabilitation, studies have consistently revealed low external focus use by physiotherapists. Consequently, the purpose of this research was to explore factors influencing physiotherapists’ focus of attention use and to gain insight into the barriers, and potential solutions, related to effective external focus use. Eight physiotherapists, working with musculoskeletal rehabilitation clients, first completed the Therapists’ Perceptions of Motor Learning Principles Questionnaire and then participated in virtual one-on-one interviews. The interviews followed a semistructured interview guide and were analyzed using a total quality framework approach to qualitative content analysis. Data showed that physiotherapists’ focus of attention use was influenced by physiotherapist, client, and task characteristics/experiences, as well as focus of attention statement provision strategies. Furthermore, the main barriers discussed related to educational experiences, reinforcement of internal focus of attention statement use and aspects related to research. Solutions presented to these barriers included the incorporation of focus of attention content into both the Canadian physiotherapy curriculum and continued education. Overall, these results advance our knowledge of factors underlying physiotherapists’ focus of attention use and barriers that must be overcome to successfully translate the focus of attention research into physiotherapy.

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The Path to Translating Focus of Attention Research Into Canadian Physiotherapy, Part 3: Designing a Workshop Through Consultation With Physiotherapists and Focus of Attention Researchers

Julia Hussien, Lauren Gignac, Lauren Shearer, and Diane M. Ste-Marie

Although researchers have consistently demonstrated the potential benefit of an external focus of attention for rehabilitation, research has shown that this finding has yet to be translated into Canadian physiotherapy. Further, specific barriers to external focus use have been reported by Canadian physiotherapists, and as a solution toward increasing physiotherapists’ use of external focus, these same physiotherapists recommended the development of an educational workshop on focus of attention. Considering this, described herein is the process of developing such a workshop, which involved (a) gathering input from physiotherapists concerning content and format via one-on-one interviews and (b) engaging in discussion about content with focus of attention researchers. Analysis of the interview data featured key content for the workshop, the types of activities to include, and a recommended sequencing for the activities: specifically, sharing didactic information on focus of attention research, then providing instruction and demonstration of external focus use, and finally, finishing with opportunities for generating and delivering external focus statements. This input, along with that of the researchers, led to the development of a two-component focus of attention workshop, which includes an asynchronous component, featuring seven self-directed learning modules and a synchronous component, which consists of a virtual group session.