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Paul Ward and A. Mark Williams

This study examined the relative contribution of visual, perceptual, and cognitive skills to the development of expertise in soccer. Elite and sub-elite players, ranging in age from 9 to 17 years, were assessed using a multidimensional battery of tests. Four aspects of visual function were measured: static and dynamic visual acuity; stereoscopic depth sensitivity; and peripheral awareness. Perceptual and cognitive skills were assessed via the use of situational probabilities, as well as tests of anticipation and memory recall. Stepwise discriminant analyses revealed that the tests of visual function did not consistently discriminate between skill groups at any age. Tests of anticipatory performance and use of situational probabilities were the best in discriminating across skill groups. Memory recall of structured patterns of play was most predictive of age. As early as age 9, elite soccer players demonstrated superior perceptual and cognitive skills when compared to their sub-elite counterparts. Implications for training perceptual and cognitive skill in sport are discussed.

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Stefan Ward, Heidi Henschel Pellett and Mark I. Perez

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to explore preservice teachers’ experiences of cognitive disequilibrium (CD) theory during a service-learning project in a study abroad experience.

Method:

A case study with 8 participants was used. Data sources consisted of: Formal interviews, videos of planning, videos of teaching, videos of reflection sessions, and informal interviews. Data were analyzed utilizing open and axial coding (Corbin & Strauss, 2008). Trustworthiness strategies included: prolonged engagement, multiple data source triangulation, and member checks.

Results:

Results indicated four themes: “We made it our own thing”, “Summer camp for teachers”, “Struggle and disequilibrium”, and “By the end it was a transformation”.

Discussion/Conclusions:

CD was ultimately positive for these students. The positive resolution of CD catalyzed a transformative effect on their perceptions of their teaching. This was supported by positive peer interaction.

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David T. Martin, Mark B. Andersen and Ward Gates

This study examined whether the Profile of Mood States questionnaire (POMS) is a useful tool for monitoring training stress in cycling athletes. Participants (n = 11) completed the POMS weekly during six weeks of high-intensity interval cycling and a one-week taper. Cycling performance improved over the first three weeks of training, plateaued during Weeks 4 and 5, decreased slightly following Week 6, and then significantly increased during the one-week taper. Neither the high-intensity interval training nor the one-week taper significantly affected total mood or specific mood states. POMS data from two cyclists who did not show improved performance capabilities during the taper (overtraining) were not distinctly unique when compared to cyclists who did improve. Also, one cyclist, who on some days had the highest total mood disturbance, responded well to the taper and produced his best personal effort during this time period. These findings raise questions about the usefulness of POMS to distinguish, at an individual level, between periods of productive and counterproductive high-intensity training.

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Mark Ward, Sarah Gibney, David O’Callaghan and Sinead Shannon

Despite the benefits, one in three older adults in Ireland has low activity levels. This study examined associations between the local social and built environment and physical activity of older adults to identify age-friendly factors that support physical activity among the aging population. Data were from the population-representative Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative Age-Friendly City and Counties Survey (N = 10,540). Physical activity was measured using a short-form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Mixed-effects negative binomial regression models were adjusted for known health and sociodemographic correlates of physical activity. Results are reported as unstandardized beta coefficients (β) with standard errors. Loneliness, community participation, and difficulty in accessing green spaces partially explained the differences in the number of minutes that respondents were physically active. Combined with individual-level behavior change interventions, improvements to the local environment and promoting social connectedness may also be useful in promoting physical activity among older adults.

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Derek T.Y. Mann, A. Mark Williams, Paul Ward and Christopher M. Janelle

Research focusing on perceptual-cognitive skill in sport is abundant. However, the existing qualitative syntheses of this research lack the quantitative detail necessary to determine the magnitude of differences between groups of varying levels of skills, thereby limiting the theoretical and practical contribution of this body of literature. We present a meta-analytic review focusing on perceptual-cognitive skill in sport (N = 42 studies, 388 effect sizes) with the primary aim of quantifying expertise differences. Effects were calculated for a variety of dependent measures (i.e., response accuracy, response time, number of visual fixations, visual fixation duration, and quiet eye period) using point-biserial correlation. Results indicated that experts are better than nonexperts in picking up perceptual cues, as revealed by measures of response accuracy and response time. Systematic differences in visual search behaviors were also observed, with experts using fewer fixations of longer duration, including prolonged quiet eye periods, compared with nonexperts. Several factors (e.g., sport type, research paradigm employed, and stimulus presentation modality) significantly moderated the relationship between level of expertise and perceptual-cognitive skill. Practical and theoretical implications are presented and suggestions for empirical work are provided.