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.
Nima Dehghansai, Ross A. Pinder, and Joseph Baker
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.
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.
Georgia A. Askew, Ross A. Pinder, Ian Renshaw, and Adam D. Gorman
In this insight article, we aim to challenge current thinking regarding coaching and spark new ideas by demonstrating how high-performance Paralympic sport contexts provide rich environments for innovation. We propose an innovative approach to enhance coach learning and introduce coaches and practitioners to three interconnected areas of opportunity emerging in research: (a) reframing the role and harnessing the work of skill acquisition specialists, (b) the use of a design thinking approach, and (c) the implementation of technology-enhanced learning. Specifically, we demonstrate how using these three strategies can better facilitate cocreated coach learning in situ. Whilst we acknowledge that each of these areas is not necessarily new, we propose that when addressed and applied collectively by practitioners they can provide effective and efficient coach learning opportunities, where the result of the integration of ideas means the impact can be greater than simply the sum of the parts. We highlight how this approach has emerged out of challenging high-performance Paralympic sport contexts, and could have impact on research, practice, and coach development experiences across a wider range of contexts along the performance pathway in both Paralympic and nondisabled sports.
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.
Connor J.M. Holdback, Rony Ibrahim, David S. Haydon, Ross A. Pinder, Paul N. Grimshaw, and Richard M. Kelso
This research provides a review of seated shot put alongside new data from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with the aim to understand the latest trends in equipment within a recently established rule set and how key equipment variables may impact performance for athletes in different classifications. First, a review of the literature found that the throwing pole is a key equipment aid that is not well understood, in part due to limitations in testing design. New data from the 2020 Paralympic Games showed inconsistent trends for the use of the throwing pole among athletes, particularly in transitionary classes (F33–34 and F54–55). A two-way analysis of variance found a main effect of classification on performance (p < .001), as well as an interaction effect between pole use and classification on performance (p < .05). Notably, pole users are seen to perform better than non–pole users in Class F32 (p < .05).