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Michael R. McGuigan, Glenn A. Wright and Steven J. Fleck

The use of strength training designed to increase underlying strength and power qualities in elite athletes in an attempt to improve athletic performance is commonplace. Although the extent to which strength and power are important to sports performance may vary depending on the activity, the associations between these qualities and performance have been well documented in the literature. The purpose of this review is to provide a brief overview of strength training research to determine if it really helps improve athletic performance. While there is a need for more research with elite athletes to investigate the relationship between strength training and athletic performance, there is sufficient evidence for strength training programs to continue to be an integral part of athletic preparation in team sports.

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Julian North, David Piggott, Alexandra Rankin-Wright and Michael Ashford

Although there have been increasing calls to recognise the “voice of the coach” in both policy and research, there has been very little work that has asked the coaches directly: “what are your main issues and problems?” and “where do you go for support?” Instead, assessments and decisions have been made on these issues by the media, policy makers, support agencies, governing bodies, and researchers with results often reflecting the perspectives and interests of the latter. This paper presents new research with a reasonably representative sample of over 1,000 U.K. coaches that considers the issues and problems, and support networks from the perspective of the coaches themselves. The results suggest that coaches experience a wide range of problems but that they can be broken down into 17 main categories with places to play sport (e.g., facilities), problems with player–coach interaction, and problems with coaching knowledge and skills, being most frequently mentioned. In terms of support networks, the coaches tended to look “closest to home”: to themselves, their family/friends, participants and parents, and local coaching networks. Governing bodies and coaching associations tend to be less well used. Some implications for policy and practise are discussed.

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Steven Wright, Michael McNeill, Joan Fry, Steven Tan, Clara Tan and Paul Schempp

This study examined 49 student teachers’ actions and perspectives when implementing a curricular innovation (the tactical games approach). Data were collected via videotaped lessons, interviews, and follow-up questionnaires. Questions for interviews and questionnaires were pilot tested and data were analyzed using the constant comparison method. Videotape analysis was facilitated by Noldus’s Observer (4.0) software and was tested for interobserver reliability. Results revealed that pupils were actively engaged for more than half (52%) of class time. The majority of student teachers’ questions were of low order (76%). The greatest challenges student teachers faced were pupils being new to the approach, or lacking skills. The greatest facilitators to implementing the tactical approach were physical education teacher education courses. Student teachers suggested that more opportunities to teach using the tactical approach in schools during methods classes would better prepare them for practicum. A follow-up questionnaire, one year later, determined that 87% of participants were still using the “innovation” in their teaching.

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Daniel T. Bishop, Michael J. Wright, Robin C. Jackson and Bruce Abernethy

The aim of this study was to examine the neural bases for perceptual-cognitive superiority in a soccer anticipation task using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thirty-nine participants lay in an MRI scanner while performing a video-based task in which they predicted an oncoming opponent’s movements. Video clips were occluded at four time points, and participants were grouped according to in-task performance. Early occlusion reduced prediction accuracy significantly for all participants, as did the opponent’s execution of a deceptive maneuver; however, high-skill participants were significantly more accurate than their low-skill counterparts under deceptive conditions. This perceptual-cognitive superiority was associated with greater activation of cortical and subcortical structures involved in executive function and oculomotor control. The contributions of the present findings to an existing neural model of anticipation in sport are highlighted.

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Paul M. Wright, K. Andrew R. Richards, Jennifer M. Jacobs and Michael A. Hemphill

Purpose: Research indicates that physical education can be an effective setting for promoting positive values, attitudes, and behaviors that transfer to other settings. However, there is a lack of instrumentation to assess the cognitive and motivational aspects of the transfer process. Therefore, this study proposed and validated the Transfer of Responsibility Questionnaire (ToRQ). Methods: After instrument development and pilot testing, an initial version of the ToRQ was completed by 442 adolescents. Data analysis began with exploratory factor analysis followed by confirmatory factor analysis. Results: The exploratory factor analysis yielded a stable three-factor structure that measured the participants’ cognitive and motivational processes related to transfer. This factor structure was affirmed using confirmatory factor analysis, which also examined convergent and discriminant validity. Discussion/Conclusion: The model was a good fit for the data, and the ToRQ correlated positively with related scales from an existing life skill transfer survey. These analyses support the initial validation of the ToRQ.

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Michael W. Beets, Guy C. Le Masurier, Aaron Beighle, David A. Rowe, Charles F. Morgan, Jack Rutherford, Michael Wright, Paul Darst and Robert Pangrazi

Background:

The purpose of this study was to cross-validate international BMI-referenced steps/d cut points for US girls (12,000 steps/d) and boys (15,000 steps/d) 6 to 12 years of age.

Methods:

Secondary pedometer-determined physical activity data from US children (N = 1067; 633 girls and 434 boys, 6 to 12 years) were analyzed. Using international BMI classifications, cross-validation of the 12,000 and 15,000 steps/d cut points was examined by the classification precision, sensitivity, and specificity for each age–sex stratum.

Results:

For girls (boys) 6 to 12 years, the 12,000 (15,000) steps/d cut points correctly classified 42% to 60% (38% to 67%) as meeting (achieved steps/d cut point and healthy weight) and failing (did not achieve steps/d cut point and overweight). Sensitivity ranged from 55% to 85% (64% to 100%); specificity ranged from 23% to 62% (19% to 50%).

Conclusion:

The utility of pedometer steps/d cut points was minimal in this sample given their inability to differentiate among children who failed to achieve the recommended steps/d and exhibited an unhealthy weight. Caution, therefore, should be used in applying previous steps/d cut points to US children.