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  • Author: Alexandra MacGregor x
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Tim Woodman, Matt Barlow, Comille Bandura, Miles Hill, Dominika Kupciw and Alexandra MacGregor

Although high-risk sport participants are typically considered a homogenous risk-taking population, attitudes to risk within the high-risk domain can vary considerably. As no validated measure allows researchers to assess risk taking within this domain, we validated the Risk Taking Inventory (RTI) for high-risk sport across four studies. The RTI comprises seven items across two factors: deliberate risk taking and precautionary behaviors. In Study 1 (n = 341), the inventory was refined and tested via a confirmatory factor analysis used in an exploratory fashion. The subsequent three studies confirmed the RTI’s good model–data fit via three further separate confirmatory factor analyses. In Study 2 (n = 518) and in Study 3 (n = 290), concurrent validity was also confirmed via associations with other related traits (sensation seeking, behavioral activation, behavioral inhibition, impulsivity, self-esteem, extraversion, and conscientiousness). In Study 4 (n = 365), predictive validity was confirmed via associations with mean accidents and mean close calls in the high-risk domain. Finally, in Study 4, the self-report version of the inventory was significantly associated with an informant version of the inventory. The measure will allow researchers and practitioners to investigate risk taking as a variable that is conceptually distinct from participation in a high-risk sport.

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Joel B. Chidley, Alexandra L. MacGregor, Caoimhe Martin, Calum A. Arthur and Jamie H. Macdonald

Purpose:

To identify physiological, psychological, and skill characteristics that explain performance in downhill (DH) mountainbike racing.

Methods:

Four studies were used to (1) identify factors potentially contributing to DH performance (using an expert focus group), (2) develop and validate a measure of rider skill (using video analysis and expert judge evaluation), (3) evaluate whether physiological, psychological, and skill variables contribute to performance at a DH competition, and (4) test the specific contribution of aerobic capacity to DH performance.

Results:

Study 1 identified aerobic capacity, handgrip endurance, anaerobic power, rider skill, and self-confidence as potentially important for DH. In study 2 the rider-skill measure displayed good interrater reliability. Study 3 found that rider skill and handgrip endurance were significantly related to DH ride time (β = –0.76 and –0.14, respectively; R 2 = .73), with exploratory analyses suggesting that DH ride time may also be influenced by self-confidence and aerobic capacity. Study 4 confirmed aerobic capacity as an important variable influencing DH performance (for a DH ride, mean oxygen uptake was 49 ± 5 mL · kg−1 · min−1, and 90% of the ride was completed above the 1st ventilatory threshold).

Conclusions:

In order of importance, rider skill, handgrip endurance, self-confidence, and aerobic capacity were identified as variables influencing DH performance. Practically, this study provides a novel assessment of rider skill that could be used by coaches to monitor training and identify talent. Novel intervention targets to enhance DH performance were also identified, including self-confidence and aerobic capacity.