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Jordan Golding, Aaron Johnson, and Andrew T. Sensenig

Psychological momentum in sports is a series of high or low human performances that seem to defy statistical randomness, and instead is often attributed to a positive feedback system in the athlete’s physiology and psyche. Quantitative approaches have found some evidence of psychological momentum. We measured the throw speeds and accuracy of adult males throwing baseballs while subjecting them to verbal criticism (positive or negative). Our study of short-term momentum suggested evidence of psychological momentum only in top-performing university baseball players, and not in the lower-performing players or in nonathletes.

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Christine E. Johnson, Heather E. Erwin, Lindsay Kipp, and Aaron Beighle

We used achievement goal theory to examine students’ physical activity (PA) motivation and physical education (PE) enjoyment. Purposes included: 1) determine whether schools with different pedagogical approaches varied in student perceptions of mastery and performance climate dimensions, enjoyment, and PA; 2) examine gender and grade differences in enjoyment and PA; and 3) determine if dimensions of motivational climate predicted enjoyment and PA levels in PE, controlling for gender and grade. Youth (n = 290, 150 girls) from three southeast United States middle schools wore a pedometer and completed a motivational climate and enjoyment questionnaire. Boys were more active and enjoyed PE more than girls, and 7th/8th grade students were more active than 6th grade students. Enjoyment was positively predicted by teacher’s emphasis on two mastery climate dimensions, controlling for gender. PE activity time was predicted by two performance climate dimensions, controlling for gender and grade. Implications for practice are discussed.

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Heather E. Erwin, Megan Babkes Stellino, Michael W. Beets, Aaron Beighle, and Christine E. Johnson

Obesity levels among American children are increasing at an alarming rate, due in part to a lack of regular physical activity (PA). Physical education (PE) is one way to facilitate student PA. The overarching PA goal for physical educators is 50% PA for students. Self-determination theory suggests that PA levels in PE and a variety of other contexts depend upon individuals’ motivation levels. The purpose of this study was to determine whether autonomy and lesson type related to children’s self-determination for, and actual, PA in elementary PE. Children from four elementary schools in the southern US engaged in four different PE lessons, representing variations in teaching conditions associated with student groupings and level of task choice. Students completed a motivation scale and wore pedometers and accelerometers. Results showed no situational motivation differences, but PA differences by lesson type existed. A number of plausible explanations are presented.

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Aaron MacDonald, Darren Johnson, Barton Branam, and Michael Krueger

Edited by R. Barry Dale