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Patrick Ward, Johann Windt and Thomas Kempton

The application of scientific principles to inform practice has become increasingly common in professional sports, with increasing numbers of sport scientists operating in this area. The authors believe that in addition to domain-specific expertise, effective sport scientists working in professional sport should be able to develop systematic analysis frameworks to enhance performance in their organization. Although statistical analysis is critical to this process, it depends on proper data collection, integration, and storage. The purpose of this commentary is to discuss the opportunity for sport-science professionals to contribute beyond their domain-specific expertise and apply these principles in a business-intelligence function to support decision makers across the organization. The decision-support model aims to improve both the efficiency and the effectiveness of decisions and comprises 3 areas: data collection and organization, analytic models to drive insight, and interface and communication of information. In addition to developing frameworks for managing data systems, the authors suggest that sport scientists’ grounding in scientific thinking and statistics positions them to assist in the development of robust decision-making processes across the organization. Furthermore, sport scientists can audit the outcomes of decisions made by the organization. By tracking outcomes, a feedback loop can be established to identify the types of decisions that are being made well and the situations where poor decisions persist. The authors have proposed that sport scientists can contribute to the broader success of professional sporting organizations by promoting decision-support services that incorporate data collection, analysis, and communication.

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Darrell W. Crouch, Phillip Ward and Craig A. Patrick

In this study, three variations of a withdrawal design were used to assess the effects that group instruction, peer-dyads, and peer-mediated accountability had on the number of trials performed, and how successful those trials were, during one-minute trials of volleyball skills. Peer-mediated accountability consisted of teacher-established goals, peer recording of performance, public posting of student performance, and special content-related activities that served as public recognition of achievement. Participants were 67 elementary school students in grades 4 through 6. Results indicated that students performed more trials and were generally more successful in the peer-mediated accountability condition than during either the peer-dyads or group instruction. Findings are discussed in terms of the contingent relation between tasks and consequences created by the peer-mediated accountability variable.

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Craig A. Patrick, Phillip Ward and Darrell W. Crouch

This study investigated the effects of a semiformal accountability intervention (a modified version of the good behavior game) on the occurrence of appropriate and inappropriate social behaviors, and appropriate skill attempts during a 20-lesson volleyball unit. Participants were 67 students in Grades 4, 5, and 6. Following the collection of baseline data, students received intervention consisting of (a) differential awarding and removing of points for appropriate and inappropriate behavior, (b) public posting of team points, (c) the establishment of daily criteria, (d) a special activity for teams that met the criteria, and (e) an end-of-unit activity for teams that consistently met the criteria. A multiple baseline design across students showed that the intervention was effective in reducing inappropriate social behaviors and increasing appropriate social behaviors, but did not affect the number of correct volleyball skills performed. Results are discussed relative to task systems and social skills.

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Patrick Ward, Aaron J. Coutts, Ricard Pruna and Alan McCall

There is a common expression in sports that “there is no ‘I’ in team.” However, collectively, there is actually a very important “I” in sport teams—the individual athlete/player. Each player has his or her own unique characteristics including physical, physiological, and psychological traits. Due to these unique characteristics, each player requires individual provision—whether it be an injury risk profile and targeted prevention strategy or treatment/rehabilitation for injury, dietary regimen, recovery, or psychological intervention. The aim of this commentary is to highlight how 4 high-performance teams from various professional football codes are analyzing individual player data.

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Brad R. Julius, B. Ann Ward, James H. Stein, Patrick E. McBride, Michael C. Fiore, Timothy B. Baker, F. Javier Nieto and Lisa H. Colbert

Background:

We examined the association between ambulatory activity and biological markers of health in smokers.

Methods:

Baseline data from 985 subjects enrolled in a pharmacologic smoking cessation trial were examined. Body size, blood pressure, total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), total and small LDL particles, LDL size, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides (TG), C-reactive protein (CRP), creatinine, fasting glucose, and hemoglobin A1c were assessed in relation to pedometer-assessed ambulatory activity, as was the odds of metabolic syndrome and CRP > 3 mg/L. Effect modification by gender was examined.

Results:

Only waist circumference was lower with greater steps/day in the men and women combined (P trend < 0.001). No other significant relationships were noted in men, while women with ≥ 7500 steps/day had lower weight, BMI, CRP, TG, total, and small LDL particles compared with those with < 7500 steps/day. These women also had 62% and 43% lower odds of metabolic syndrome and elevated CRP, respectively, compared with the less active women. Adjustment for BMI attenuated all the associations seen in women.

Conclusions:

Greater ambulatory activity is associated with lower levels of metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors in female smokers which may, in part, be mediated by a reduction in BMI.