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Ramesh Kaipa, Michael Robb and Richard Jones

In this experiment, we investigated the role of practice variability (constant versus variable practice) and practice schedule (random versus blocked practice) on spatial and temporal learning of a speech task as a function of aging. The participants were 80 healthy individuals (40–80 years) with no history of cognitive, sensory, or motor disorders. A median split was performed to divide the participants into older and younger groups. The median split was at 59 years of age, thus placing 40 participants in each age group. The participants were assigned to one of four practice groups and practiced a nonmeaningful phrase for two consecutive days. On the third day, the participants reproduced the speech phrase without practice. Data analysis revealed that older participants involved in constant practice demonstrated superior temporal learning of the speech task over participants on variable practice. Older participants on random practice demonstrated better spatial learning of the speech task than did participants on blocked practice. In contrast, there was no effect of practice conditions on spatial and temporal learning outcomes in the younger group. The findings indicate that practice variability and practice schedule influence different aspects of a complex speech-motor learning task among older adults but not among younger adults.

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Leigh Jones, Lynne Evans and Richard Mullen

This is a follow-up article to an action research study that explored the effects of an imagery intervention on an elite rugby union player conducted over a 14-week period during the competitive season (Evans, Jones, & Mullen, 2004). A key feature of the study was that the same individual fulfilled multiple roles, specifically those of trainee sport psychologist, coach, and researcher. The aim of this article is to explore, from a trainee sport psychologist’s perspective, some of the issues that resulted from fulfilling multiple roles, both in the context of the study and in professional practice generally. The issues that emerged were consistent with the dual-role literature and involved role conflict surrounding areas of responsibility, scientific evidence versus social validity, confidentiality versus public statement, and the interpersonal welfare of both athlete and coach-sport psychologist (Ellickson & Brown, 1990). The findings highlighted (a) the importance of establishing ground rules (and planning), (b) the intensified emotional demands placed on the multirole practitioner, (c) the importance of involving a critical friend or outside agent, and (d) the potential for role conflict and the threat to objectivity.

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Lynne Evans, Leigh Jones and Richard Mullen

The purpose of the present study was to explore the use of imagery by an elite rugby union football player and to examine the effects of an imagery intervention in a practical performance environment. The study took place over a 14-week period of the competitive season. Data collection comprised semi-structured interviews, diaries, and the Sport Imagery Questionnaire. The findings suggested that the participant primarily used cognitive specific and cognitive general imagery. Post-intervention, the participant reported greater clarity; detail; control over his anxiety, activation, and motivation levels; an improvement in his ability to generate confidence in his playing ability prior to games; and more structure to his imagery use. The study highlighted the importance of individualizing imagery interventions to meet the specific needs of different athletes.

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William McGarvey, Richard Jones and Stewart Petersen

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effect of interval (INT) and continuous (CON) cycle exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Twelve males first completed a graded exercise test for VO2max and then the two exercise challenges in random order on separate days approximately 1 wk apart. The INT challenge consisted of seven 2 min work intervals at 90% VO2max, each followed by 3 min of relief at 30% VO2max. The CON exercise consisted of 30 to 32 min of continuous cycling at 65% VO2max. Gas exchange and heart rate (HR) were measured for 30 min before, during, and for 2 h post-exercise. Three methods were used to analyze post-exercise oxygen consumption and all produced similar results. There were no significant differences in either the magnitude or duration of EPOC between the CON and INT protocols. HR, however, was higher (P < 0.05) while respiratory exchange ratio (RER) was lower (P < 0.05) following INT. These results indicate that when total work was similar, the magnitude and duration of EPOC were similar following CON or INT exercise. The differences in HR and RER during recovery suggest differential physiological responses to the exercise challenges.

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Richard Collins, Katie Evans-Jones and Helen L. O’Connor

In response to the recent literature regarding the development of applied sport psychologists’ service philosophies (Lindsay, Breckon, Thomas, & Maynard, 2007), three neophyte psychologists take an autoethnographical approach to detailing how they developed their current philosophies. Using vignettes and personal accounts of their experiences they describe how reflection on their beliefs and values about people, behavior, sport, and change has underpinned their development as practitioners. The three authors detail how their delivery has developed from an approach that initially relied heavily on one framework into a more client-led approach that is more congruent with their beliefs and how this has in turn enhanced their effectiveness as practitioners. The implications of this reflective process for other neophytes is explored in relation to the experiences of the three authors.

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Doris I. Miller, Ewald Hennig, Marc A. Pizzimenti, Ian C. Jones and Richard C. Nelson

Reaction forces elicited from the 10-m platform by the 29 male and 26 female competitors in the Fifth World Diving Championships during the takeoffs for dives from the back group were analyzed and related to their patterns of motion. Major changes in linear and angular momentum occurred during the final period of upward acceleration. During this “final weighting” phase, maximum vertical reactions of 3.0 to 4.0 times body weight (BW) and maximum horizontal reactions in the “propulsive” direction of 0.5 BW were recorded. Further, the moment of vertical platform reaction with respect to the center of gravity, which was dominant and promoted backward rotation, was opposed by the moment of the horizontal component. At final contact with the platform, higher vertical velocities were more evident for back dives than multiple back somersaults, and for dives performed in tuck than in pike, and in pike than in straight positions.

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Doris I. Miller, Ian C. Jones, Marc A. Pizzimenti, Ewald Hennig and Richard C. Nelson

Takeoffs for 10-m platform dives from the reverse group at the 1986 World Championships and 1989 FINA Cup were analyzed to provide insights into their kinetic and kinematic characteristics. As with back takeoffs, the major changes in both linear and angular momentum occurred during final weighting (i.e., upward acceleration). Vertical velocities at last contact were higher for reverse dives than reverse multiple somersaults, and different moment-of-force patterns were associated with increased rotational requirements. Last-contact vertical velocities were less for reverse rotating dives than corresponding dives from the back group. Although last-contact horizontal velocities for the two groups were not statistically different, the horizontal acceleration patterns of the three composite body segments were near mirror images of one another. Finally, implications of a resultant head velocity of 10 m/s when passing the leading edge of the platform in reverse multiple somersaulting dives were considered.

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Richard E.A. van Emmerik, Stephanie L. Jones, Michael A. Busa and Jennifer L. Baird

Postural instability, falls, and fear of falling that accompany frailty with aging and disease form major impediments to physical activity. In this article we present a theoretical framework that may help researchers and practitioners in the development and delivery of intervention programs aimed at reducing falls and improving postural stability and locomotion in older individuals and in those with disability due to disease. Based on a review of the dynamical and complex systems perspectives of movement coordination and control, we show that 1) central to developing a movement-based intervention program aimed at fall reduction and prevention is the notion that variability can play a functional role and facilitate movement adaptability, 2) intervention programs aimed at fall reduction should focus more on coordination and stability boundary measures instead of traditional gait and posture outcome variables, and 3) noise-based intervention techniques using stochastic resonance may offer external aids to improve dynamic balance control.

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Richard M.H. Briegel-Jones, Zoe Knowles, Martin R. Eubank, Katie Giannoulatos and Diane Elliot

Research has indicated positive effects of mindfulness training as a performance-based intervention and of yoga on mindfulness. This study examined the effects of a 10-week yoga intervention on mindfulness and dispositional flow of elite youth swimmers using a mixed methods design. No significant changes in mindfulness and dispositional flow were identified. Qualitative data suggested that the 10-week yoga intervention had a positive impact on a range of physiological, cognitive, and performance parameters that included elements of mindfulness and flow. Methodological considerations for future research are discussed.

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Susana Meireles, Neil D. Reeves, Richard K. Jones, Colin R. Smith, Darryl G. Thelen and Ilse Jonkers

Medial knee loading during stair negotiation in individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis has only been reported in terms of joint moments, which may underestimate the knee loading. This study assessed knee contact forces (KCF) and contact pressures during different stair negotiation strategies. Motion analysis was performed in 5 individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis (52.8 [11.0] y) and 8 healthy subjects (51.0 [13.4] y) while ascending and descending a staircase. KCF and contact pressures were calculated using a multibody knee model while performing step-over-step at controlled and self-selected speed, and step-by-step strategies. At controlled speed, individuals with osteoarthritis showed decreased peak KCF during stair ascent but not during stair descent. Osteoarthritis patients showed higher trunk rotations in frontal and sagittal planes than controls. At lower self-selected speed, patients also presented reduced medial KCF during stair descent. While performing step-by-step, medial contact pressures decreased in osteoarthritis patients during stair descent. Osteoarthritis patients reduced their speed and increased trunk flexion and lean angles to reduce KCF during stair ascent. These trunk changes were less safe during stair descent where a reduced speed was more effective. Individuals should be recommended to use step-over-step during stair ascent and step-by-step during stair descent to reduce medial KCF.