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James Stephens and Susan Hillier

The Feldenkrais method (FM) is a process that uses verbally and manually guided exploration of novel movements to improve individuals’ self-awareness and coordination. This paper reviews recent literature evaluating the therapeutic value of the FM for improving balance, mobility, and coordination and its effectiveness for management of chronic pain. The authors also explore and discuss studies that have investigated some of the other bodily effects and possible mechanisms of action, such as (a) the process of learning itself, (b) focus of attention during motor learning, (c) autonomic regulation, and (d) body image. They found that research clearly supports the effectiveness of the FM for improvement of balance and chronic pain management. The exploration into mechanisms of action raises interesting questions and possibilities for further investigation.

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James A. Yaggie and Stephen J. Kinzey

Context:

Ankle bracing has been used for many years in an attempt to prevent lateral ligamentous injuries of the ankle by restricting joint range of motion (ROM).

Objective:

To examine the influence of ankle bracing on ROM and sport-related performance.

Design:

Repeated measures.

Setting:

Biomechanics laboratory.

Participants:

30 volunteers. None reported ankle trauma within 2 years preceding the study or had other orthopedic conditions that would have affected physical performance.

Intervention:

Three brace conditions (McDavid A101™, Perform-8™ Lateral Stabilizer) were assessed during performance of the vertical jump and shuttle run.

Main Outcome Measures:

shuttle-run time, vertical jump height, inversion, and plantar flexion ROM.

Results:

Both braces restricted plantar flexion and inversion ROM and caused no change in shuttle-run time or vertical jump height.

Conclusions:

Our results indicate that bracing the ankle joint increases external lateral support to the joint without significantly restricting functional ability.

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Scott C. Wearing, James E. Smeathers, and Stephen R. Urry

Studies investigating the effect of targeting on gait have focused on the analysis of ground reaction force (GRF) within the time domain. Analysis within the frequency domain may be a more sensitive method for evaluating variations in GRF. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of visual targeting on GRF analyzed within the frequency domain. A within-subject repeated-measures design was used to measure the mediolateral, vertical, and antero-posterior components of the GRF of 11 healthy volunteers while walking at their own pace over a paper-covered walkway. A 30 × 24-cm target area was superimposed over a hidden Kistler force plate mounted at the midpoint of the walkway. GRF were recorded with and without the target and were analyzed within the frequency domain. Although visually guided foot placement has previously been undetected by traditional time-domain measures, targeting was found to significantly increase the frequency content of both the mediolateral (t10 = -4.07, p < 0.05) and antero-posterior (t10 = -2.52, p < 0.05) components of GRF. Consequently, it appears that frequency analysis is a more sensitive analytic technique for evaluating GRF. These findings have methodological implications for research in which GRF is used to characterize and assess anomalies in gait patterns.

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Andy Galbraith, James Hopker, Stephen Lelliott, Louise Diddams, and Louis Passfield

Purpose:

To compare critical speed (CS) measured from a single-visit field test of the distance–time relationship with the “traditional” treadmill time-to-exhaustion multivisit protocol.

Methods:

Ten male distance runners completed treadmill and field tests to calculate CS and the maximum distance performed above CS (D′). The field test involved 3 runs on a single visit to an outdoor athletics track over 3600, 2400, and 1200 m. Two field-test protocols were evaluated using either a 30-min recovery or a 60-min recovery between runs. The treadmill test involved runs to exhaustion at 100%, 105%, and 110% of velocity at VO2max, with 24 h recovery between runs.

Results:

There was no difference in CS measured with the treadmill and 30-min- and 60-minrecovery field tests (P < .05). CS from the treadmill test was highly correlated with CS from the 30- and 60-min-recovery field tests (r = .89, r = .82; P < .05). However there was a difference and no correlation in D′ between the treadmill test and the 30 and 60-min-recovery field tests (r = .13; r = .33, P > .05). A typical error of the estimate of 0.14 m/s (95% confidence limits 0.09–0.26 m/s) was seen for CS and 88 m (95% confidence limits 60–169 m) for D′. A coefficient of variation of 0.4% (95% confidence limits: 0.3–0.8%) was found for repeat tests of CS and 13% (95% confidence limits 10–27%) for D′.

Conclusion:

The single-visit method provides a useful alternative for assessing CS in the field.

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Elizabeth Y. Brown, James R. Morrow Jr., and Stephen M. Livingston

The purpose of the present study was to determine if completion of a 14-week conditioning course affected the physical and total self-concepts of college-age women. Analysis of variance was used to contrast experimental and control groups of 50 subjects each on selected subscales of the Tennessee Self Concept Scale. Results indicated that the women showed significant differences in self-concept upon completion of the conditioning program; however, effects were not generalizable to all dimensions of self-concept. Implications are that training programs may be beneficial in their impact on selected aspects of the self-concept of women as well as the physiological parameters typically affected by conditioning programs. Self-concept profiles are developed for those women who entered the program as well as for those who completed the program.

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Stephen D. Ross, Jeffrey D. James, and Patrick Vargas

The Team Brand Association Scale (TBAS), which is intended to measure professional sport team brand associations, was developed through the use of a free-thought listing technique in combination with a confirmatory factor analysis procedure. Information was provided by individuals regarding their favorite sports team, and 11 dimensions underlying professional sport team brand associations were identified: nonplayer personnel, team success, team history, stadium community, team play characteristics, brand mark, commitment, organizational attributes, concessions, social interaction, and rivalry. Review of the TBAS psychometric properties indicated that eight dimensions had acceptable reliabilities (Cronbach’s alpha scores ranging from .76-.90), as well as content validity (verified by a 3-member expert panel review), discriminant validity (based on correlations among latent constructs and their standard errors), concurrent validity (significant correlations with an external measure), and construct validity.

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C. Mark Woodard, Margaret K. James, and Stephen P. Messier

Our purpose was to compare methods of calculating loading rate to the first peak vertical ground reaction force during walking and provide a rationale for the selection of a loading rate algorithm in the analysis of gait in clinical and research environments. Using vertical ground reaction force data collected from 15 older adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and 15 healthy controls, we: (a) calculated loading rate as the first peak vertical force divided by the time from touchdown until the first peak; (b) calculated loading rate as the slope of the least squares regression line using vertical force and time as the dependent and independent variables, respectively; (c) calculated loading rate over discrete intervals using the Central Difference method; and (d) calculated loading rate using vertical force and lime data representing 20% and 90% of the first peak vertical force. The largest loading rate, which may be of greatest clinical importance, occurred when loading rates were calculated using the fewest number of data points. The Central Difference method appeared to maximize our ability to detect differences between healthy and pathologic cohorts. Finally, there was a strong correlation between methods, suggesting that all four methods are acceptable. However, if maximizing the chances of detecting differences between groups is of primary importance, the Central Difference method appears superior.

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Stephen P. Hebard, James E. Bissett, Emily Kroshus, Emily R. Beamon, and Aviry Reich

Sport coaches can play an influential role in athletes’ mental health help seeking through purposeful communication, destigmatization of mental health concerns, and supportive relationships. To positively engage in these behaviors, coaches require mental health knowledge (or literacy), positive attitudes about that knowledge, and self-efficacy to use that knowledge. Guided by a multidimensional health literacy framework, we conducted a content analysis of web content and scholarly literature to identify health education programming for coaches that addressed athlete mental health. A purposive sample of Olympic National Governing Bodies, collegiate athletic associations, high school sport associations, youth sport governing bodies, and the scholarly literature were analyzed. We found inconsistent programming regarding a range of mental health disorders, behaviors critical to mental health promotion, and critical components of mental health literacy. Implications and next steps for mental health literacy support for coaches are discussed.

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David F. Stodden, Glenn S. Fleisig, Scott P. McLean, Stephen L. Lyman, and James R. Andrews

Generating consistent maximum ball velocity is an important factor for a baseball pitcher’s success. While previous investigations have focused on the role of the upper and lower extremities, little attention has been given to the trunk. In this study it was hypothesized that variations in pelvis and upper torso kinematics within individual pitchers would be significantly associated with variations in pitched ball velocity. Nineteen elite baseball pitchers were analyzed using 3-D high-speed motion analysis. For inclusion in this study, each pitcher demonstrated a variation in ball velocity of at least 1.8 m/s (range: 1.8–3.5 m/s) during his 10 fastball pitch trials. A mixed-model analysis was used to determine the relationship between 12 pelvis and upper torso kinematic variables and pitched ball velocity. Results indicated that five variables were associated with variations in ball velocity within individual pitchers: pelvis orientation at maximum external rotation of the throwing shoulder (p = .026), pelvis orientation at ball release (p = .044), upper torso orientation at maximum external rotation of the throwing shoulder (p = .007), average pelvis velocity during arm cocking (p = .024), and average upper torso velocity during arm acceleration (p = .035). As ball velocity increased, pitchers showed an increase in pelvis orientation and upper torso orientation at the instant of maximal external rotation of the throwing shoulder. In addition, average pelvis velocity during arm cocking and average upper torso velocity during arm acceleration increased as ball velocity increased. From a practical perspective, the athlete should be coached to strive for proper trunk rotation during arm cocking as well as strength and flexibility in order to generate angular velocity within the trunk for maximum ball velocity.

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Shaun Abbott, Wei En Leong, Tom Gwinn, Giovanni Luca Postiglione, James Salter, and Stephen Cobley

Purpose: To examine the longitudinal relationships between shoulder internal and external rotation (IR and ER) strength, maturity status, and swim performance (aim 1). To determine whether maturity status mediated (partially/fully) the relationship between shoulder IR/ER strength and performance in age-group swimmers (aim 2). Methods: Using a repeated-measures design, anthropometrics, maturity status, shoulder IR/ER strength, and 200-m front-crawl velocity were assessed over 3 competition seasons in N = 82 Australian male competitive swimmers (10–15 y). For aim 1, linear mixed models examined longitudinal relationships between assessed variables. For aim 2, causal mediation analyses examined proportional (in)direct contributions of maturity status between shoulder IR strength and swim performance. Results: For aim 1, linear mixed models identified a significant relationship between shoulder IR strength and swim performance over time (F 1,341.25 = 16.66, P < .001, marginal R 2 = .13, conditional R 2 = .91). However, maturity status was influential (ΔAkaike information criterion = −75.8, χ 2 = 19.98, P < .001), suggesting removal of the shoulder IR strength–swim velocity relationship (F 1,214.1 = 0.02, P = .88). For aim 2, mediation analyses identified maturity status as fully mediating the shoulder IR strength–swim velocity relationship (92.30%, P < .001). Conclusions: Shoulder IR and ER strength did not account for variance in longitudinal age-group swim performance independent of maturity status. Interindividual differences in maturity status fully explained the relationship between shoulder IR/ER strength and swim performance. For practitioners, findings promote the need to account for maturation status and question the rationale for upper-limb strength assessment during maturational years.