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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.

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Nina Verma, Robert C. Eklund, Calum A. Arthur, Timothy C. Howle and Ann-Marie Gibson

This study examined whether teachers’ use of transformational teaching behaviors, as perceived by adolescent girls, in physical education would predict girls’ moderate to vigorous physical activity via mediated effects of physical activity self-presentation motives, physical activity identity, and physical education class engagement. Self-report data were acquired from 273 Scottish high school girls in Grades S1–S3 (the equivalent of Grades 7–9 in North America) at 2 time points separated by 1 week. Significant predictive pathways were found from transformational teaching to girls’ moderate to vigorous physical activity via mediated effects of acquisitive self-presentation motives and physical activity identity. This preliminary study provides a novel contribution to the research area by showing how previously unrelated psychosocial constructs work together to predict adolescent girls’ moderate to vigorous physical activity. Results are discussed in relation to existing literature and future research directions.

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Matthew J. Smith, David J. Young, Sean G. Figgins and Calum A. Arthur

We examined transformational leadership behaviors are exhibited in an elite sport environment. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 9 professional county cricket players to explore perceptions of transformational leadership behaviors of their captain and head-coach. Behaviors were firstly deductively categorized based on the Differentiated Transformational Leadership Inventory, with the most frequently cited being high performance expectations and individual consideration from the coach, and appropriate role-modeling of the captain. Further inductive analyses revealed a range of other factors which may influence players’ perceptions of transformational leadership. From these findings, suggestions are offered for those working in an applied context with sporting leaders.