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Zhang Li-Wei, Ma Qi-Wei, Terry Orlick, and Louise Zitzelsberger

Field studies investigating the potential benefit of mental-imagery training with young children have been lacking in the literature. The purpose of this investigation was to shed light on the appropriateness of mental training for children. Three groups of 7–10-year-old table tennis players participated in this study to assess the value of mental-imagery training, specifically with respect to children’s performance enhancement. The results indicated that children who used mental imagery experienced significantly greater improvement in the accuracy and technical quality of their shots than children in comparison groups. This study suggests that mental-imagery training, combined with videotaped images and relaxation, may be particularly promising for children.

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Wei-Ting Hsu and Min Pan

Purpose: To develop a measure of student-perceived teacher relation-inferred self-efficacy (RISE) support in physical education in terms of the Teacher RISE Support Scale, through a series of three studies. Methods: In Studies 1 and 2, interviews, exploratory factor analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis were conducted to develop a conceptually sound and psychometrically robust measure for teachers’ RISE-supporting behaviors. In Study 3, the authors examined the concurrent validity of teachers’ RISE support construct in relation to students’ RISE and relevant student outcomes. Results: The three-factor, second-order structure of the Teacher RISE Support Scale was confirmed, with results supporting construct validity and providing evidence of factorial, convergent, and discriminant validity. Furthermore, structural equation modeling supported concurrent validity, showing that students’ perceptions of teacher RISE support correlated positively with RISE and responsibility. Conclusions: Overall, the results provide preliminary evidence for the reliability and validity of the Teacher RISE Support Scale as a measurement for teacher RISE-supporting behaviors in physical education.

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Kunlin Wei, Gary Wertman, and Dagmar Sternad

An asymmetric bimanual task was investigated in which participants performed a rhythmic movement with their dominant arm and initiated a second movement with their nondominant arm at a random phase of the continued oscillations. The objective was to examine whether different constraints existed between rhythmic and discrete movements and, more generally, whether rhythmic and discrete movements can be regarded as two different movement primitives. Participants performed rhythmic forearm rotations at 1 of 4 prescribed metronome periods. After a random interval, a trigger signaled to initiate either a discrete or rhythmic movement with the left forearm as fast as possible while continuing the oscillations. Analyses extracted the mutual influences that the two movements exerted on each other and contrasted discrete-rhythmic and rhythmic-rhythmic coupling. (a) The initiation of the rhythmic movement was constrained to occur in-phase with the ongoing rhythmic movement, while the discrete movement could be initiated at any arbitrary phase. (b) Reaction time of the initiated rhythmic movement scaled with the oscillation period, while the discrete movement's reaction time was invariant across periods. (c) Peak velocity of the initiated movement scaled with the oscillatory period in both tasks but more strongly in the discrete movement. (d) Synchronization of EMG bursts of both arm flexors was evident in both tasks but more strongly in the rhythmic-rhythmic combination. The results are interpreted as support for the hypothesis that discrete and rhythmic actions are two different control regimes, and coupling occurs at a higher level in the central nervous system.

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Alex J.Y. Lee and Wei-Hsiu Lin

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of gender and somatotypes on single-leg upright standing postural stability in children. A total of 709 healthy children from different schools were recruited to measure the anthropometric somatotypes and the mean radius of center of pressure (COP) on a force platform with their eyes open and eyes closed. The results were that (a) girls revealed significantly smaller mean radius of COP distribution than boys, both in the eyes open and eyes closed conditions, and (b) the mesomorphic, muscular children had significantly smaller mean radius of COP distribution than the endomorphic, fatty children and the ectomorphic, linear children during the eyes closed condition. The explanation for gender differences might be due to the larger body weight in boys. The explanation for somatotype differences might be due to the significantly lower body height and higher portion of muscular profile in the mesomorphic children.