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Dean A. Zoerink and Joseph Wilson

The twofold purpose of this study was (a) to determine the perspectives held by athletes with mental retardation relative to competitiveness, winning, and setting goals in competitive team sports situations and (b) to explore differences between male and female athletes with mental retardation and their counterparts without disabilities regarding their perceptions of competitiveness, winning, and setting goals in team sports environments. Of the 402 subjects who completed the Sport Orientation Questionnaire-Form B (Gill & Deeter, 1988), 288 were male and female athletes with mental retardation who participated in team sports at the 1991 International Special Olympic Games. They were compared with 114 university team sports athletes without disabilities. Analyses of variance revealed that, regardless of disability status, young men viewed themselves to be more competitive than their female counterparts. The findings also indicated that male athletes with mental retardation were more competitive than other athletes and that male athletes without disabilities perceived winning to be more important than did athletes with mental retardation.

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Joseph S. Soltys and Sara E. Wilson

Regulating spinal motion requires proprioceptive feedback. While studies have investigated the sensing of static lumbar postures, few have investigated sensing lumbar movement speed. In this study, proprioceptive contributions to lateral trunk motion were examined during paraspinal muscle vibration. Seventeen healthy subjects performed lateral trunk flexion movements while lying prone with pelvis fixed. A 44.5-Hz vibratory stimulus was applied to the paraspinal muscles at the L3 level. Subjects attempted to match target paces of 9.5, 13.5, and 17.5 deg/s with and without paraspinal muscle vibration. Vibration of the paraspinal musculature was found to result in slower overall lateral flexion. This effect was found to have a greater influence in the difference of directional velocities with vibration applied to the left musculature. These changes reflect the sensitivity of lumbar velocity sense to applied vibration leading to the perception of faster muscle lengthening and ultimately resulting in slower movement velocities. This suggests that muscle spindle organs modulate the ability to sense velocity of motion and are important in the control of dynamic motion of the spine.

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Nima Dehghansai, Daniel Spedale, Melissa J. Wilson and Joseph Baker

Little is known about the factors influencing Paralympic athletes’ journey to expertise and whether these athletes have trajectories similar to those of their able-bodied (AB) peers. The purpose of this project was to compare the developmental trajectories of wheelchair and AB basketball players. A total of 150 participants completed the Developmental History of Athletes Questionnaire. Results revealed that while AB athletes reached early career milestones at a significantly younger age, athletes with congenital impairments reached midcareer milestones at similar ages to AB athletes. In addition, athletes with acquired impairments were able to reach key late-career performance milestones (i.e., national and international debuts) at a similar age to the other two groups. The findings from this study suggest complex developmental pathways that may not be reflected in current developmental models. Therefore, the authors suggest that scientists and practitioners be cognizant of context-specific needs when providing training recommendations.

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Joseph Baker, Jennifer Robertson-Wilson and Whitney Sedgwick

The current study examined whether the distribution of published research papers in the field of sport psychology followed the Lotka-Price Law of scientific productivity. All authors who had published articles in five sport psychology journals from 1970 to 2000 were considered. The impact of those authors was determined by the total number of published papers in all journals. Results provided limited support for the Lotka-Price Law; however, it appeared that the field of sport psychology was less elitist than other fields. Although these findings suggest that productivity in this field is similar to that in other fields of science, more research is needed to shed light on the role of the eminent scientist and the average researcher in the advancement of knowledge in sport psychology.

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Vivian H. Heyward, Kelly L. Cook, Virginia L. Hicks, Kathy A. Jenkins, Joseph A. Quatrochi and Wendy L. Wilson

Three methods of body composition assessment were used to estimate percent body fat (%BF) in nonobese (n=77) and obese (n=71) women, 20-72 yrs of age, Skinfolds (SKF), bioelectrical impedance (BIA), and near-infrared interactance (NIR) methods were compared to criterion-derived %BF from hydrostatic weighing (%BFHW). Nonobese subjects had < 30% BFHW and obese subjects had >30% BFHW. The Jackson, Pollock, and Ward SKF equation and the manufacturer's equations for BIA (Valhalla) and NIR (Futrex-5000) were used. For nonobese women there were no significant differences between mean %BFHW and %BFSKF, %BFB1A, and %BFNIR. The rs and SEEs were 0.65 and 3.4% BF for SKF, 0.61 and 3.6% BF for BIA, and 0.58 and 3.7% BF for NIR for nonobese subjects. For obese women, mean %BPHW was significantly underestimated by the SKF, BIA, and NIR methods. The rs and SEEs for the obese group were 0.59 and 3.4% BF for SKF, 0.56 and 3.5% BF for BIA, and 0.36 and 3.9% BF for NIR. The total errors of the equations ranged from 5.6 to 8.0% BF in the obese group. It is concluded that all three field methods accurately estimate %BF for nonobese women; however, none of the methods is suitable for estimating %BF for obese women.