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Cornelia Frank, Taeho Kim and Thomas Schack

To date, it is commonly agreed that physical practice, as well as mental types of practice, have the potential to bring about improvements in motor performance and to induce motor learning. The perceptual-cognitive representational background of these changes, however, is still being debated. In this experiment, we investigated the influence of observational practice on the performance and the representation of the golf putt. With this we aimed at adding to the ongoing debate on the particular contribution of observational practice to motor learning. Novices were assigned to one of two groups: observational and combined observational and physical practice. Motor performance and mental representation were measured prior to and after practice and after a three-day retention interval. Performance improved in both practice groups from pre- to retention-test. Together with performance improvements, mental representation structures developed functionally and became more elaborate over the course of the experiment. Interestingly, however, the pattern of changes over the course of the experiment and across the two practice types was different. Combined practice led to improvements in motor performance from pre- to post-test with representations developing alongside these improvements. Observational practice alone did not lead to performance improvement until after task execution, as shown by improvements in motor performance from post- to retention-test, even though mental representations changed from pre- to post-test. From this, observational practice seems to promote the development of representational frameworks of complex action, and thus action-related order formation in long-term memory.

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Han-Kyu Park, Dong-Woo Kim and Tae-Ho Kim

Context: Several factors, such as balance and respiration training programs, have been identified as contributing to a shooting performance. However, little is known about the benefits of these programs on the shooting records of adolescent air rifle athletes. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether balance and respiration training can contribute to the shooting performance required for adolescent air rifle shooting athletes. Design: Case-control study. Setting: Shooting range. Participants: A total of 21 adolescent air rifle athletes were recruited from the local school community and assigned to an experimental (n = 11; EG) or control (n = 10; CG) group. Intervention: The EG performed respiration and balance training for 30 minutes 3 times a week for 6 weeks, and the CG performed balance training only. Main Outcome Measures: Data were collected on the respiratory function, muscle activity, and shooting record before and after the 6-week intervention. Results: The forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expired volume in 1 second (FEV1), FEV1 as a percentage of FVC, peak expiratory flow, and maximum voluntary ventilation were significantly increased in the EG, and FEV1 as a percentage of FVC was significantly increased in the CG (P < .05). The FVC and peak expiratory flow postintervention were significantly different between the groups (P < .05). The activity of the right internal oblique (IO) and left IO muscles of the FVC were significantly different in the EG (P < .05). Within-group changes in right external oblique, right IO, and left IO of the maximum voluntary ventilation were significantly increased in the EG (P < .05). The right IO and left IO activity improved more significantly in the EG than CG (P < .05). There was no difference between the groups with respect to the shooting records. Conclusions: The clinical significance of this study is the balance and respiration training affected the respiration function capacity and muscle activity, but did not affect the shooting record. Nevertheless, these training are a potential approach method to improve athletes’ shooting record.