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Optimizing External Focus of Attention Instructions: The Role of Attainability

Cheryl Coker

This study examined the effect of individually tailoring an external focus reference point in line with ability on standing long jump (SLJ) performance. Twenty-one female Division III hockey players (ages 18–23 years) performed two SLJs under 4 attentional focus conditions: (a) no focus provided (control), (b) focused on rapid knee extension (internal); (c) focused on jumping as close as possible to a cone placed at 3 m (external far), and (d) focused on jumping as far as possible past a cone placed, unbeknownst to them, at the maximum distance achieved on their last SLJ test, recorded during team testing at an earlier date (attainable). Findings were consistent with the literataure in that instructions that induced an external versus internal focus of attention resulted in significantly longer jumping distances. In addition, horizontal displacement was significantly longer when participants adopted an external focus of attention toward an attainable distance goal versus all other conditions. Results suggest that for goal-oriented movements that require maximum effort, individualizing the distance of an external focus of attention according to capability enhances its effect.

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Functional Movement Proficiency’s Association to Actual and Perceived Motor Competence

Cheryl A. Coker and Brittney Herrick

The adoption of compensatory movement patterns occurs when limitations in mobility, stability, or motor control prevent proper motion from occurring. These dysfunctional movements may inhibit fundamental motor skill development and negatively influence perceived movement competence, impeding the development of physical literacy. Therefore, this study examined the relationship between functional movement and perceived and actual motor skill competence in young adolescents. Functional movement proficiency was determined using the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), which provides three variables of interest: (a) FMS total score, (b) number of asymmetries, and (c) number of movement pattern dysfunctions. Perceived physical competence was assessed through the Children and Youth Physical Self-Perception Profile. Finally, the Get Skilled: Get Active process-oriented motor skill assessment was used to evaluate vertical jump, kick, run, and overhand throw proficiency. A significant positive correlation between FMS total score and vertical jump performance was found. A positive relationship was also found between the number of asymmetries and overhand throw performance. The Children and Youth Physical Self-Perception Profile constructs of body attractiveness and physical condition were positively associated with FMS total score, and physical condition was also shown to be inversely related to the number of movement pattern dysfunctions. Results suggest that functional movement may underpin movement competence and confidence.

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Symptomatic Bipartite Patella in a College Football Player

Matthew J. Morrison, Cheryl A. Coker, Michael S. McGuire, and Angela M. Mickle

Column-editor : Joseph J. Piccininni