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Duncan R.D. Mascarenhas, Dave Collins and Patrick Mortimer

To identify a framework for referee training and selection, based on the key areas of effective performance, we conducted content analyses on Rugby Football Union referee assessor reports, referee training materials, performance profiles from a group of English premier league referees, and a review of published research on sports officiating. The Cornerstones Performance Model of Refereeing emerged, overarched by the psychological characteristics of excellence (see McCaffrey & Orlick, 1989) and featuring four key areas: (a) knowledge and application of the law; (b) contextual judgment; (c) personality and management skills; and (d) fitness, positioning, and mechanics. Focus group interviews confirmed the usefulness of the model as an assessment and training tool, which the RFU now use to develop referees throughout England.

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Bruce Hale, Paul Holmes, Dave Smith, Neil Fowler and Dave Collins

Several years ago Collins and Hale (1997) commented on nonrigorous experimental designs and procedures which typified published research examining the psychophysiology of the imagery process. Conceptual, methodological, and analytical guidelines were offered to improve the quality of future research undertakings. While Slade, Landers, and Martin (2002) have followed some of these suggestions, their recent imagery study examining the “mirror hypothesis” and a theory-expectancy hypothesis with EMG recordings still appears to have some conceptual inconsistencies, methodological flaws, and analytical weaknesses that make their conclusions ambiguous. These concerns are identified, and more suggestions for improved designs are given, in another attempt to improve the quality of the scientific research undertaken in sport psychophysiology.

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Jonathan Leo Ng, Chris Button, Dave Collins, Susan Giblin and Gavin Kennedy

Validated assessment tools for movement competence typically involve the isolation and reproduction of specific movement forms, which arguably neglects individuals’ ability to combine and adapt movements to overcome constraints within a dynamic environment. A new movement assessment tool, the General Movement Competence Assessment (GMCA), was developed for this study using Microsoft Kinect. Movement competence of 83 children (36 boys and 47 girls), aged 8–10 years (9.06 ± 0.75 years) was measured using the GMCA. An exploratory approach was undertaken to examine the internal consistency reliability (McDonald’s omega coefficient) and factorial structure of the GMCA for the study sample. Factorial structure was determined using exploratory factor analysis by principal component analysis with varimax rotation. For the sample data, reliability for the GMCA games were acceptable (ω = 0.53–0.89) and indicated that combinations of movement attributes were measured by GMCA games. Factorial analysis extracted four movement constructs accounting for 71.31% of variance. Dexterity was tentatively identified as a new independent construct alongside currently accepted movement constructs (i.e., locomotion, object-control, stability). While further development of the GMCA is still required, initial results are encouraging in view of an objective and theoretically informed approach to assess general movement competence in children.

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Duncan R.D. Mascarenhas, Dave Collins, Patrick W. Mortimer and Bob Morris

The purpose of this investigation was to pilot a video-based training program designed to develop referees’ shared mental models. A group of English Rugby Football Union (RFU) national referees, divided into a control group (n = 15) and experimental group (n = 41) made their immediate decisions on pre and posttests of 10 video clips taken from real game referee perspective recordings. Over a six-week period the experimental group studied training tapes consisting of 5 sets of 5 tackles, in each case with an expert providing his interpretation of the correct decision. The lowest ranked referees on the national panel significantly improved their percentage of correct decisions, becoming 17.43% more accurate in their decisions at the posttest. These results suggest that such shared mental model training is an appropriate method for improving referee performance.