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Nima Dehghansai, Ross A. Pinder, and Joseph Baker

This three-part investigation conducted a comprehensive analysis of 213 Australian and Canadian athletes’ developmental trajectories, training histories, and experiences in organized sports from 18 Paralympic sports (PS). While athletes with early-onset impairments (i.e., congenital, preadolescent) reached milestones and commenced various types of training at a significantly younger age than athletes with later-onset impairments (i.e., early adulthood, adulthood), the latter groups progressed through their careers and incorporated various trainings at a faster pace (i.e., fewer years). Preferences to certain training conditions varied between groups. Eighty-two percent of the athletes with acquired impairments had experience in able-bodied sports before the onset of their impairment, with 70% noting involvement in sports similar to their current PS. The participation rates (38%) and sport similarity (53%) were lower in PS. The amalgamation of findings from this series of studies highlights the complexity associated with PS athletes’ development and demonstrates the importance of taking an individualized approach.

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Ross A. Pinder, Keith Davids, Ian Renshaw, and Duarte Araújo

Egon Brunswik proposed the concept of “representative design” for psychological experimentation, which has historically been overlooked or confused with another of Brunswik’s terms, ecological validity. In this article, we reiterate the distinction between these two important concepts and highlight the relevance of the term representative design for sports psychology, practice, and experimental design. We draw links with ideas on learning design in the constraints-led approach to motor learning and nonlinear pedagogy. We propose the adoption of a new term, representative learning design, to help sport scientists, experimental psychologists, and pedagogues recognize the potential application of Brunswik’s original concepts, and to ensure functionality and action fidelity in training and learning environments.

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Nima Dehghansai, Veronica Allan, Ross A. Pinder, and Joe Baker

Research has recently examined the role of impairment onset on athlete development in Paralympic sport; however, less is known on how impairment type can impact athlete sporting pathways. In this study, 187 Australian and Canadian Paralympic sport athletes completed a survey. Participants were divided into the following four groups: impaired muscle power (n = 79); ataxia, athetosis, and hypertonia (n = 44); limb deficiencies (n = 42); and other physical impairments (n = 22). Mechanisms of initiation into Paralympic sport varied between groups with some drawn to sport through friends and/or family (i.e., limb deficiencies and other physical impairments groups) while others through talent search programs (i.e., ataxia, athetosis, and hypertonia group) or health care professionals/rehabilitation centers (i.e., impaired muscle power group). Results revealed no significant differences between groups in the chronological age or absolute years for achieving milestones. However, considering the high variability within the sample, more research is necessary to better understand how athletes with different physical impairments navigate through their sporting careers.

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David S. Haydon, Ross A. Pinder, Paul N. Grimshaw, and William S.P. Robertson

Purpose: Maximal acceleration from standstill has been identified as a key performance indicator in wheelchair rugby; however, the impact of classification and kinematic variables on performance has received limited attention. This study aimed to investigate kinematic variables during maximal acceleration, with level of activity limitation accounted for using sport-classification scores. Methods: Based on their sporting classification scores, which reflect combined trunk, arm, and hand function, 25 elite wheelchair rugby players were analyzed in high-, mid-, and low-point groups before completing five 5-m sprints from a stationary position. Inertial measurement units and video analysis were used to monitor key kinematic variables. Results: Significant differences in kinematic variables were evident across the classification groups, particularly for the first stroke-contact angle (1-way ANOVA F 2,122 = 51.5, P < .05) and first stroke time (F 2,124 = 18.3, P < .05). High-point players used a first stroke-contact angle that was closer to top dead center of the wheel than either other group, while also using a shorter overall stroke time than low-point players. A linear mixed-effects model was used to investigate how kinematic variables influenced performance, with results suggesting that increased release angles (ie, farther around the wheel) and decreased stroke angles resulted in larger peak accelerations. Further investigation revealed that these results are likely influenced by strong relationships for the high-point group, as there was often no clear trend evident for midpoint and low-point groups. Conclusion: Findings show that various propulsion approaches exist across classification groups, with this information potentially informing individual wheelchair setups and training programs.