The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between shot valence, avoidance behavior, and performance in soccer penalty shootouts. Video analyses were conducted with all penalty shootouts ever held in the World Cup, the European Championships, and the UEFA Champions League (n = 36 shootouts, 359 kicks). Shot valence was assessed from the potential consequences of a shot outcome as follows: Shots where a goal instantly leads to victory were classified as positive valence shots and shots where a miss instantly leads to loss as negative valence shots. Avoidance behavior was defined as looking away from the goalkeeper or preparing the shot quickly (thus speeding up the wait). The results showed that avoidance behavior occurred more with negative valence shots than with positive shots and that players with negative valence shots performed worse than those with positive shots. Thus, avoidance motivation may help explain why professional athletes occasionally choke under pressure.
Geir Jordet and Esther Hartman
Esther Hartman, Chris Visscher, and Suzanne Houwen
The aim of this study was to measure physical fitness of deaf Dutch elementary school children compared with hearing children and to investigate the influence of age on physical fitness. Deaf children were physically less fit than hearing children. Overall, physical fitness increased with age in deaf children, but no significant differences were found between the age groups of 9–10 years and 11–12 years on most of the Eurofit items. The difference in performance between deaf and hearing children, favoring the latter, increased with age in handgrip strength and the 20-m endurance shuttle run. More attention should be paid to developing and maintaining an adequate level of physical fitness in deaf children.
Esther Hartman, Suzanne Houwen, and Chris Visscher
This study aimed to examine motor performance in deaf elementary school children and its association with sports participation. The population studied included 42 deaf children whose hearing loss ranged from 80 to 120 dB. Their motor skills were assessed with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, and a questionnaire was used to determine their active involvement in organized sports. The deaf children had significantly more borderline and definite motor problems than the normative sample: 62% (manual dexterity), 52% (ball skills), and 45% (balance skills). Participation in organized sports was reported by 43% of the children; these children showed better performance on ball skills and dynamic balance. This study demonstrates the importance of improving deaf children’s motor skill performance, which might contribute positively to their sports participation.
Suzanne Houwen, Esther Hartman, Laura Jonker, and Chris Visscher
This study examines the psychometric properties of the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD-2) in children with visual impairments (VI). Seventy-five children aged between 6 and 12 years with VI completed the TGMD-2 and the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (Movement ABC). The internal consistency of the TGMD-2 was found to be high (alpha = 0.71−0.72) and the interrater, intrarater, and test-retest reliability acceptable (ICCs ranging from 0.82 to 0.95). The results of the factor analysis supported internal test structure and significant age and sex effects were observed. Finally, the scores on the object control subtest of the TGMD-2 and the ball skills subtest of the Movement ABC correlated moderately to high (r = 0.45 to r = 0.80). Based on the current results, it is concluded that the TGMD-2 is an appropriate tool to assess the gross motor skills of primary-school-age children with VI.
Suzanne Houwen, Chris Visscher, Esther Hartman, and Koen A.P.M. Lemmink
The purpose of this study was to examine the test-retest reliability of physical fitness items from the European Test of Physical Fitness (Eurofit) for children with visual impairments. A sample of 21 children, ages 6-12 years, that were recruited from a special school for children with visual impairments participated. Performance on the following physical fitness items was measured on two test sessions with 4 weeks in between: sit-and-reach, standing broad jump, handgrip, sit-ups, bent-arm hang, and 20-m multistage shuttle run. The 10 × 5-m shuttle run was replaced by a 5 × 10-m shuttle run. Intraclass correlations ranged from .63 to .91, indicating moderate-to-excellent reliability. However, systematic differences between test and retest were found for the sit-and-reach, bent-arm hang, and the modified 5 × 10-m shuttle run items. The results indicate that for most items, test-retest reliability was satisfactory, but that improvements need to be made to the test protocols of the sit-and-reach, bent-arm hang, and the 5 × 10-m shuttle run items to ensure test-retest reliability.
Anna Meijer, Marsh Königs, Irene M.J. van der Fels, Chris Visscher, Roel J. Bosker, Esther Hartman, and Jaap Oosterlaan
The authors performed a clustered randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of an aerobic and a cognitively demanding exercise intervention on executive functions in primary-school-age children compared with the regular physical education program (N = 856). They hypothesized that both exercise interventions would facilitate executive functioning, with stronger effects for the cognitively demanding exercise group. The interventions were provided four times per week for 14 weeks. Linear mixed models were conducted on posttest neurocognitive function measures with baseline level as covariate. No differences were found between the exercise interventions and the control group for any of the measures. Independently of group, dose of moderate to vigorous physical activity was positively related to verbal working memory and attention abilities. This study showed that physical exercise interventions did not enhance executive functioning in children. Exposure to moderate to vigorous physical activity is a crucial aspect of the relationship between physical activity and executive functioning.
Anneke G. van der Niet, Joanne Smith, Jaap Oosterlaan, Erik J.A. Scherder, Esther Hartman, and Chris Visscher
The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of a physical activity program including both aerobic exercise and cognitively engaging physical activities on children’s physical fitness and executive functions. Children from 3 primary schools (aged 8–12 years) were recruited. A quasi-experimental design was used. Children in the intervention group (n = 53; 19 boys, 34 girls) participated in a 22-week physical activity program for 30 min during lunch recess, twice a week. Children in the control group (n = 52; 32 boys, 20 girls) followed their normal lunch routine. Aerobic fitness, speed and agility, and muscle strength were assessed using the Eurofit test battery. Executive functions were assessed using tasks measuring inhibition (Stroop test), working memory (Visual Memory Span test, Digit Span test), cognitive flexibility (Trailmaking test), and planning (Tower of London). Children in the intervention group showed significantly greater improvement than children in the control group on the Stroop test and Digit Span test, reflecting enhanced inhibition and verbal working memory skills, respectively. No differences were found on any of the physical fitness variables. A physical activity program including aerobic exercise and cognitively engaging physical activities can enhance aspects of executive functioning in primary school children.