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Flora Panteli, Charilaos Tsolakis, Dimitris Efthimiou, and Athanasia Smirniotou

This study examined the contribution of instructional self-talk and observational learning on the development of long jump technique. Sixty-nine beginner athletes were randomly assigned to four groups: ‘self-talk’, ‘video’, ‘self-talk + video’ and control group. All groups performed 24 practice sessions, consisting of a cognitive intervention program in the form of either instructional self-talk or observational learning, or a combination of both, and the practice of specific drills. A significantly higher performance improvement was recorded for the self-talk group in post test, whereas when kinematic variables of the motor skill (center of mass displacement) were assessed, “observational learning” proved to be more effective. The findings of the current study suggest that young, beginner athletes, participating in complicated tasks, may benefit from cognitive intervention techniques, through enhanced attentional focus on the most critical elements of the motor skill.

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Eleftherios Paraskevopoulos, Theocharis Simeonidis, Charilaos Tsolakis, Panagiotis Koulouvaris, and Maria Papandreou

Context: Volleyball players have shown to be at an increased risk of developing scapular dyskinesis. The kinetic chain exercise approach has gained a lot of attention because of its claims to provide an improved motor control and scapular kinematics. A form of cross exercise, known as mirror therapy, may enhance the effects of a kinetic chain exercise approach in throwing performance. Objective: To examine the effects of mirror cross exercise (MCE), based on a kinetic chain exercise approach in the throwing performance of volleyball athletes with scapular dyskinesis. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Methods: 39 volleyball players with scapular dyskinesis were randomly allocated into 3 groups. The first group completed a 6-week kinetic chain approach (KCA group), the second group completed a kinetic chain exercise approach program in addition to MCE group, and the control group followed only their regular training program. Before and after delivering both interventions, throwing accuracy, speed, and force were determined while measuring the ground reaction forces of the drive leg during throwing. Two-way mixed analysis of variance investigated the effects of intervention and time and their interaction. Results: The results showed intervention × time statistically significant interactions for throwing accuracy, speed, and force for the MCE and the KCA groups. Over the 6-week training period, the MCE and the KCA groups showed significant improvements in throwing accuracy (P < .01) and speed (P < .01), while the ground reaction forces did not change (P > .05). Throwing force increased significantly in the MCE group (P = .01). Between-group comparison showed statistically significant improvements in the throwing accuracy for the MCE and KCA groups against the control group (P < .01) at posttesting. The MCE demonstrated superior results over the KCA in the aforementioned measures. Conclusions: This study suggests that the addition of MCE in a KCA program enhances energy transfer throughout the distal and proximal segments, thus improving kinetic chain recruitment and potentially preventing shoulder pathology.