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Toward Prospective Application of the UCM Method

Wei Zhang

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The Effect of Mental-Imagery Training on Performance Enhancement with 7-10-Year-Old Children

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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Dynamic Stability of Older Adults Under Dual Task Paradigm During Stair Descent

Cui Zhang, Qipeng Song, Wei Sun, and Yu Liu

Daily stair activities have become increasingly challenging for older adults with deterioration in physical and cognitive capabilities. However, the dynamic stability of older adults during stair descent under a concurrent dual-task condition remains undetermined. The gait and dynamic stability variables of 40 healthy older adults were measured under single- and dual-task conditions during stair descent. The step length, step width, and single support time did not significantly increase (p > .05) under the dual-task condition during stair descent. The medial–lateral center of mass velocity significantly increased (p < .003), whereas the medial–lateral margin of dynamic stability value significantly decreased (p < .006) at the landing and initial single support under the dual-task condition during stair descent. The self-regulatory ability of healthy older adults under the dual-task condition during stair descent was underestimated. Dual tasking displayed a positive impact on the anterior–posterior dynamic stability of healthy older adults.

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College Students’ Development of Badminton Skills and Tactical Competencies Following Play Practice

Hairui Liu, Wei Wang, Chunhe Zhang, and Peter A. Hastie

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of Play Practice (PP) instruction on badminton performance in college students. Method: A total of 66 students from the United States and China participated in units following either the principles of PP or skill-focused instruction. A nonequivalent control/comparison group experimental design with premeasure and postmeasure was used in this study. Separate analyses of variance with repeated measures (Time × Group) were conducted to examine the effects of PP and skill-focused instruction for each of the four dependent variables: (a) forehand clear, (b) wall volley, (c) game performance, and (d) tactical understanding. Results: Both PP and skill-focused instruction conditions were effective in improving participants’ skills from pretest to posttest. However, PP was also effective in improving participants’ game performance. Conclusion: PP effectively developed both fundamental skills and tactical aspects of badminton without diminishing the transfer effect from practice to games.

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Effects of Eight Methods and Five Steps of Tai Chi Practice on Balance Control Among Older Adults

Xiu Hu, Shaojun Lyu, Min Mao, Jianwei Zhang, Wei Sun, Cui Zhang, and Qipeng Song

The team developed the newly compiled eight methods and five steps of Tai Chi (EMFSTC), which includes introductory routines to Tai Chi characterized by simple structures. This study examined the effectiveness of EMFSTC practice on balance control. A total of 31 participants were randomly assigned to EMFSTC (n = 15, age = 66.4 ± 1.7 years, received 16-week EMFSTC practice) or control (n = 16, age = 66.7 ± 1.8 years, received no practice) groups. Significant group by training interactions were observed. After EMFSTC practice, balance control improved, as indicated by decreased root mean square and mean velocity of center of pressure, proprioception threshold during knee extension, and plantar tactile sensitivity threshold at the arch. EMFSCT can be an effective rehabilitation modality to improve balance control among older adults.

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Effects of Tai Chi Chuan and Brisk Walking Exercise on Balance Ability in Elderly Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Wei Sun, Xiujie Ma, Lin Wang, Cui Zhang, Qipeng Song, Houxin Gu, and Dewei Mao

This study aims to investigate the effects of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) and brisk walking (BW) on balance and training duration for the two exercises to significantly improve balance. A total of 48 elderly women were randomly divided into three groups. The TCC and BW groups completed a 60-min intervention training program with five sessions weekly for 16 weeks. Single-leg standing balance was tested every 4 weeks. Results showed that all the variables with eyes open improved on the eighth week (p < .05) in the TCC group and on the 12th week (p < .01) in the BW group. All variables with eyes closed improved on the 12th week (p < .01) in the TCC group and on the 16th week (p < .05) in the BW group. The results showed that 12 and 16 weeks of TCC and BW, respectively were essential to improve balance with eyes closed among the women aged 60–70 years.

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Mechanical Analysis and Hierarchies of Multidigit Synergies during Accurate Object Rotation

Wei Zhang, Halla B. Olafsdottir, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky, and Mark L. Latash

We studied the mechanical variables (the grip force and the total moment of force) and multidigit synergies at two levels (the virtual finger-thumb level, VF-TH, and the individual finger level, IMRL) of a hypothetical control hierarchy during accurate rotation of a hand-held instrumented handle. Synergies were defined as covaried changes in elemental variables (forces and moments of force) that stabilize the output at a particular level. Indices of multidigit synergies showed higher values at the hierarchically higher level (VF-TH) for both normal and tangential forces. The moment of force was stabilized at both hierarchical levels during the steady-state phases but not during the movement. The results support the principles of superposition and of mechanical advantage. They also support an earlier hypothesis on an inherent tradeoff between synergies at the two hierarchical levels, although the controller showed more subtle and versatile synergic control than the one hypothesized earlier.