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Mark Williams and Keith Davids

This research examined whether skilled sports performers’ enhanced declarative knowledge base is a by-product of experience or a characteristic of expertise. Experienced high-skill (n = 12) and low-skill (n = 12) soccer players and physically disabled spectators (n = 12) were tested on soccer recall, recognition, and anticipation ability. MANCOVA showed that high-skill players demonstrated superior anticipatory performance compared with low-skill players, who in turn were better than physically disabled spectators. ANOVA showed that high-skill players demonstrated superior recall performance on structured trials only. Also, low-skill players were significantly better than physically disabled spectators on the structured trials. MANCOVA showed that high-skill players were better at recognizing structured and unstructured trials. No differences were found between low-skill players and physically disabled spectators. It appears that high-skill players possess a larger and more elaborate declarative knowledge base. Thus, declarative knowledge is a constituent of skill rather than a by-product of experience.

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David Sherwood, Keith Lohse, and Alice Healy

Many research studies have shown the advantage of directing the focus of attention (FOA) externally as opposed to internally. However, it is not clear how the availability of concurrent visual feedback might impact attentional processes as the FOA is shifted between internal, external, relevant, and irrelevant sources of attention. The current experiment varied the FOA by asking the participants to judge joint angles (internal-relevant), respiration (internal-irrelevant), dart release angle (external-relevant), and tone loudness (external-irrelevant) at dart release in which task-intrinsic concurrent visual feedback was available or not. Spatial errors and trial-to-trial variability in the outcome were reduced when vision was available. Spatial errors were greater during internal judgments compared with external judgments particularly when vision was not available and when making judgments about task-relevant factors. A focus on irrelevant factors generally did not affect performance compared with relevant factors. These findings suggest that availability of concurrent visual feedback modulates focus of attention effects in motor control.

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Chris Button, Stuart Moyle, and Keith Davids

There has been no direct attempt to evaluate whether gait performed overground and on a treadmill is the same for lower limb amputees. A multiple case study approach was adopted to explore the degenerate movement behavior displayed by three male amputees. Participants walked overground at a self-selected preferred pace and when this speed was enforced on a treadmill (50 stride cycles per condition). The extremities of motion (i.e., maximum flexion) for the hip and knee joints differed between conditions (0.2–3.8°). For two participants, the temporal asymmetry of gait was reduced on the treadmill. Initial data suggest that research on amputees simulating overground walking on a treadmill might need to be interpreted with some caution.

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Mohsen Shafizadeh, Nicola Theis, and Keith Davids

The aim of this study was to examine strategies to absorb impact shock during RaceRunning in participants with neurological motor disorders. For this purpose, 8 RaceRunning athletes (4 male and 4 female) voluntarily took part in the study. Each participant performed a series of 100-m sprints with a RaceRunning bike. Acceleration of the tibia and head was measured with 2 inertial measurement units and used to calculate foot-impact shock measures. Results showed that RaceRunning pattern was characterized by a lack of impact peak in foot–ground contact time and the existence of an active peak after foot contact. Due to the ergonomic properties of the RaceRunning bike, shock is attenuated throughout the stance phase. In conclusion, the results revealed that RaceRunning athletes with neurological motor disorders are capable of absorbing impact shock during assisted RaceRunning using a strategy that mimics runners without disabilities.

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Jamie Cleland, Keith Parry, and David Radford

This article presents the findings of 2,415 posts collected from two prominent Australian Football League message boards that responded to a racist incident involving a banana being thrown at Adelaide Crows player, Eddie Betts, in August 2016. It adopts Bourdieu’s concept of habitus to examine the online practice of fans for evidence of racist discourse and the extent to which this was supported or contested by fellow fans. The overall findings are that online debates about race in Australian Rules Football and wider Australian society remain divided, with some posters continuing to reflect racial prejudice and discrimination towards non-whites. However, for the vast majority, views deemed to have racist connotations are contested and challenged in a presentation centering on social change and racial equality.

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Greg Anson, Digby Elliott, and Davids

Since the middle of the nineteenth century, movement scientists have been challenged to explain processes underlying the control, coordination, and acquisition of skill. Information processing and constraints-based approaches represent two distinct, often perceived as opposing, views of skill acquisition. The purpose of this article is to compare information processing and constraints-based approaches through the lens of Fitts’ three-stage model and Newell’s constraints-based model, respectively. In essence, both models can be identified, at least in spirit, with ideas about skill described by Bernstein (1967, 1996). Given that the product of “skill acquisition” is the same, although the explanation of the processes might differ, it is perhaps not surprising that similarities between the models appear greater than the differences. In continuing to meet the challenge to explain skill acquisition, neural-based models provide a glimpse of the cutting edge where behavior and biological mechanisms underpinning processes of control, coordination, and acquisition of skill might meet.

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Martyn Rothwell, Joseph Stone, and Keith Davids

Social, cultural, and historical constraints can influence attitudes towards learning, developing, and performing in sport. A recent conceptualization of these environmental constraints in athlete development pathways is a form of life, which describes the values, beliefs, traditions, customs, and behaviors that contribute to an athlete’s development. Although a form of life can have a powerful influence on athlete development, research exploring this relationship is limited. In this article we explore the form of life in British rugby league football player development contexts to clarify how social, cultural, and historical constraints influence the development of rugby league players in the United Kingdom. Twenty-four coaches were interviewed through individual semi-structured interviews to collect the data. Findings show how forms of life in rugby league player development pathways are established and maintained by the complex interactions between the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem that shape and guide the development of players. We recommend that player development pathways in sport underpin practice with a theoretical framework of the learning process to protect athletes from social, cultural, and historical constraints that are not conducive to their development.

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Jia Yi Chow, Keith Davids, Chris Button, and Robert Rein

From a nonlinear dynamics perspective, presence of movement variability before a change in preferred movement patterns is hypothesized to afford the necessary adaptability and flexibility for seeking novel functional behaviors. In this study, four novice participants practiced a discrete multiarticular movement for 12 sessions over 4 weeks. Cluster analysis procedures revealed how changes between preferred movement patterns were affected with and without the presence of variability in movement clusters before a defined change. Performance improved in all participants as a function of practice. Participants typically showed evidence of change between preferred movement clusters and higher variability in the use of movement clusters within a session. However, increasing variability in movement clusters was not always accompanied by transition from one preferred movement cluster to another. In summary, it was observed that intentional and informational constraints play an important role in influencing the specific pathway of change for individual learners as they search for new preferred movement patterns.

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Robert Rein, Chris Button, Keith Davids, and Jeffery Summers

The present paper proposes a technical analysis method for extracting information about movement patterning in studies of motor control, based on a cluster analysis of movement kinematics. In a tutorial fashion, data from three different experiments are presented to exemplify and validate the technical method. When applied to three different basketball-shooting techniques, the method clearly distinguished between the different patterns. When applied to a cyclical wrist supination-pronation task, the cluster analysis provided the same results as an analysis using the conventional discrete relative phase measure. Finally, when analyzing throwing performance constrained by distance to target, the method grouped movement patterns together according to throwing distance. In conclusion, the proposed technical method provides a valuable tool to improve understanding of coordination and control in different movement models, including multiarticular actions.